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The Lone Bellow's Socially-Distant Cow Field Show (photos)

The Lone Bellow's live performance was a pleasurable distraction in the middle of a pandemic. But I had forgotten how to attend a ticketed concert.

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Music

PM Picks Playlist 2: Bamboo Smoke, LIA ICES, SOUNDQ

PopMatters Picks Playlist features the electropop of Bamboo Smoke, LIA ICES' stunning dream folk, Polish producer SOUNDQ, the indie pop of Pylon Heights, a timely message from Exit Kid, and Natalie McCool's latest alt-pop banger.

Music

Bright Eyes' 'Down in the Weeds' Is a Return to Form and a Statement of Hope

Bright Eyes may not technically be emo, but they are transcendently expressive, beatifically melancholic. Down in the Weeds is just the statement of grounding that we need as a respite from the churning chaos around us.

Music

Alright Alright's "Don't Worry" Is an Ode for Unity in Troubling Times (premiere)

Alright Alright's "Don't Worry" is a gentle, prayerful tune that depicts the heart of their upcoming album, Crucible.

Music

Angel Olsen Creates a 'Whole New Mess'

No one would call Angel Olsen's Whole New Mess a pretty album. It's much too stark. But there's something riveting about the way Olsen coos to herself that's soft and comforting.

Music

Dream Folk's Wolf & Moon Awaken the Senses with "Eyes Closed" (premiere)

Berlin's Wolf & Moon are an indie folk duo with a dream pop streak. "Eyes Closed" highlights this aspect as the act create a deep sense of atmosphere and mood with the most minimal of tools.

Music

The Grahams Tell Their Daughter "Don't Give Your Heart Away" (premiere)

The Grahams' sweet-sounding "Don't Give Your Heart Away" is rooted in struggle, inspired by the couples' complicated journey leading up to their daughter's birth.

Music

The Avett Brothers Go Back-to-Basics with 'The Third Gleam'

For their latest EP, The Third Gleam, the Avett Brothers leave everything behind but their songs and a couple of acoustic guitars, a bass, and a banjo.

Music

Fransancisco's "This Woman's Work" Cover Is Inspired By Heartache (premiere)

Indie-folk brothers Fransancisco dedicate their take on Kate Bush's "This Woman's Work" to all mothers who have lost a child.

Music

Blitzen Trapper on the Afterlife, Schizophrenia, Civil Unrest and Our Place in the Cosmos

Influenced by the Tibetan Book of the Dead, Blitzen Trapper's new album Holy Smokes, Future Jokes plumbs the comedic horror of the human condition.

Music

Sufjan Stevens' 'The Ascension' Is Mostly Captivating

Even though Sufjan Stevens' The Ascension is sometimes too formulaic or trivial to linger, it's still a very good, enjoyable effort.

Jordan Blum
Music

Sally Anne Morgan Invites Us Into a Metaphorical Safe Space on 'Thread'

With Thread, Sally Anne Morgan shows that traditional folk music is not to be smothered in revivalist praise. It's simply there as a seed with which to plant new gardens.

Music

The Cradle's 'Laughing in My Sleep' Is an Off-kilter Reflection of Musical Curiosity

The Cradle's Paco Cathcart has curated a thoughtfully multifarious album. Laughing in My Sleep is an impressive collection of 21 tracks, each unapologetic in their rejection of expectations.

Music

Alexander Wren's "The Earth Is Flat" Wryly Looks at Lost Love (premiere + interview)

Singer-songwriter Alexander Wren's "The Earth Is Flat" is a less a flat-earther's anthem and more a wry examination of heartache.

Music

Big Little Lions' "Distant Air" Is a Powerful Folk-Anthem (premiere)

Folk-pop's Big Little Lions create a powerful anthem with "Distant Air", a song full of sophisticated pop hooks, smart dynamics, and killer choruses.

Music

Ian Wayne's 'Risking Illness' Delivers a Raw, Melodic Gut-punch

Inspired by the death of a loved one, Brooklyn singer-songwriter Ian Wayne's Risking Illness combines somber reflection with beautifully crafted tunes.

Music

Ade Mai Sings "I Love You More" as He Celebrates New Adventure

Ade Mai is a rising folk-pop singer originally from Finland but now based in Bournemouth, and his new single "I Love You More" is an instantaneous earworm.

Music

Lomelda's 'Hannah' Is an Internal Dialogue Leaking Out

Small town Texas indie-folk group Lomelda took over a year and three tries to record Hannah. They needed to get it right. They did.

Music

Yves Jarvis' "Semula" Features Afropop-Influenced Electro-Folk

Montreal's Yves Jarvis blends folk with minimalist electronics and Afropop textures on his new single, "Semula".

Music

BYLAND Creates Cinematic Indie Folk on "Passed Me By" (premiere)

Albuquerque indie-folk artist, BYLAND shares "Passed Me By", a song as sweeping and expansive as the New Mexico landscape she calls home.

Music

Daniel Rodriguez's "Sojourn of a Burning Sun" Finds Hope in Letting Go (premiere)

Elephant Revival's Daniel Rodriguez's solo debut marks a hopeful renewal for the folk artist following a time of great personal loss.

Music

Mt. Wolf's "Anna Maria" Is Gorgeous Post-Rock Influenced Dream Pop

Mt. Wolf specialize in a mesmerizing form of atmospheric indie-folk that blends delicate electronic elements with gossamer vocals. Hear their latest single "Anna Maria".

Music

Folkie Jakob Leventhal​ and Sarah Jarosz Visit "Greenwich Village Ghosts"

Folk singer-songwriter Jakob Leventhal and Sarah Jarosz collaborate on the delicate folk-pop single "Greenwich Village Ghosts".

Music

Molly Tuttle Discusses Honoring Music She Loves with a Fabulous New Covers LP

Singer-songwriter and award-winning flatpicking guitarist Molly Tuttle found a creative way to shake the pandemic by recording …but i'd rather be with you, covering a wide range of artists she loves.

Music

Molly Tuttle Wishes She Was with You on Her New Stunning Cover LP

Americana's Molly Tuttle taught herself how to use Pro Tools to record and engineer ten much loved songs while stuck at home alone for …but I'd rather be with you.

Music

Nashville's Brontë Fall Have Finished with School

Folk-pop's Brontë Fall opt for a black leather jacket instead of a wedding dress in their version of Finishing School.

Music

Annie Dressner's "Midnight Bus" Is a Twilit Reflection of Life's Quieter Moments (premiere)

Indie folk's Annie Dressner joins forces with Matthew Caws of Nada Surf to deliver the nostalgically-layered "Midnight Bus".

Music

H.C. McEntire Delivers Her Masterpiece with 'Eno Axis'

Born in isolation not so much by outside mandate as by natural inspiration, H.C. McEntire's Eno Axis is a masterwork of deep, spiritual escapism.

Music

Phil Elverum Sings His Memoir on 'Microphones in 2020'

On his first studio album under the Microphones moniker since 2003, Phil Elverum shows he has been recording the same song since he was a teenager in the mid-1990s. Microphones in 2020 might be his apex as a songwriter.

Music

'Eight Gates' Is Jason Molina's Stark, Haunting, Posthumous Artistic Statement

The ten songs on Eight Gates from the late Jason Molina are fascinating, despite – or perhaps because of – their raw, unfinished feel.

Music

Natalie Schlabs Starts Living the Lifetime Dream With "That Early Love" (premiere + interview)

Unleashing the power of love with a new single and music video premiere, Natalie Schlabs is hoping to spread the word while letting her striking voice be heard ahead of Don't Look Too Close, the full-length album she will release in October.

Music

Whitney Take a Master Class on 'Candid'

Although covers albums are usually signs of trouble, Whitney's Candid is a surprisingly inspired release, with a song selection that's eclectic and often obscure.

Music

Jess Cornelius Creates Tautly Constructed Snapshots of Life

Former Teeth & Tongue singer-songwriter Jess Cornelius' Distance is an enrapturing collection of punchy garage-rock, delicate folk, and arty synthpop anthems which examine liminal spaces between us.

Music

Kathleen Edwards Finds 'Total Freedom'

Kathleen Edwards is back making music after a five-year break, and it was worth the wait. The songs on Total Freedom are lyrically delightful and melodically charming.

Music

Taylor Swift Abandons Stadium-Pop for a New Tonal Approach on 'Folklore'

On Taylor Swift's Folklore, the omnipresent, world-conquering princess of self-mythology embraces a brooding post-pop texture that strikes a balance between lusty exuberance and indie-folky introspection.

Music

Samantha Crain Overcomes Through 'A Small Death'

On A Small Death, Samantha Crain comes through years of struggle, but doesn't just survive. Crain finds a new direction by looking in and doing hard work internally, and then she offers us her path.

Music

Wye Oak Look Out at 'No Horizon'

Wye Oak's songs are haunted by the familiar as bits of old melodies, percussive beats, stray conversations, street sounds, and the natural world seem to float in and out of their compositions.


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