folk posts

Laura Jansen

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010 by Michelle

indie pop // singer-songwriter

Singer-songwriter Laura Jansen has popped up a few times on Aurgasm before: once last year on the Jason Kanakis track “Anything,” and most recently when we covered her set at SXSW last month. It’s about time for a proper introduction. Laura’s unique indie piano-pop is exceptionally lovely, and manages to showcase her incredible songwriting and ethereal vocals at the same time. She skillfully combines rich instrumentation and sweet melody, with gorgeous results. The songs on her latest EP, Single Girls, run the gamut from playful to reflective and wistful, but they all manage an expressive eloquence that is mesmerizing. Take a listen to “The End” and “Single Girls” from Single Girls and see for yourself.

Eloquent and sweet piano-driven indie pop.
Laura Jansen – The End
Laura Jansen – Single Girls
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The Living Sisters

Tuesday, February 9th, 2010 by Michelle

vocal harmony // close harmony // country-folk

The Living Sisters might be releasing their debut album Love To Live, next month, but they certainly aren’t new to the scene. LA-based singer-songwriters Inara George (The Bird And The Bee), Becky Stark (Lavender Diamond) and Eleni Mandell have been performing for years with their own respective projects. Mandell first proposed the idea of a harmony group to Stark in 2005, and George jumped on board the following year. Since then, the trio has been working on The Living Sisters in rare stolen moments when all three were available, and the result is well worth the wait. Love To Live is a gorgeous collection of songs with nods to classic country harmony groups and a healthy splash of gospel, soul and folk for good measure. Throughout the album their crystalline voices take the spotlight; the trio’s heartfelt and pure harmonies give an intimacy to each song, and the end result is lovely and effortless. Take a listen to “Double Knots,” a sweet doo wop-inspired track, to tide yourself over until Love To Live becomes available in March.

Pure, unfiltered loveliness.
The Living Sisters – Double Knots
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Sydney Wayser

Saturday, January 30th, 2010 by Michelle

singer-songwriter // folk pop

Sydney Wayser possesses an ear for melody and talent for songwriting that results in a collection of intimate and playful tunes. The half-French, half-American songwriter grew up in Los Angeles with frequent trips to Paris (and is now based in New York). This worldly charm is heard throughout her music, whether it’s the Southern-inspired “Banjo Bayou” or the dreamy allure of “Bells”. Though the majority of her sophomore album, The Colorful, was recorded on children’s toys and piano, there is nothing childish about it. Wayser’s alluring vocals and her unique instrumentals combine to rapturous effect. The Colorful wanders between light-hearted fun and poignant melody with ease.

Charming instrumentals and smoky vocals.
Sydney Wayser – Bells
Sydney Wayser – Banjo Bayou
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Rosi Golan

Monday, January 25th, 2010 by Julija

folk-pop // acoustic

Israeli-born New York-based Rosi Golan‘s debut album The Drifter & The Gypsy (2008) is 11 vibrant and neatly-crafted folk songs. Mostly accompanied by acoustic guitars as well as drums, bass, piano, banjo and mandolin, the album sways between folky tunes and mellow ballads. “Follow The Arrow” (not featured on the album) is probably the most uplifting, up-tempo and contagiously melodic track from Rosi’s repertoire. Another highlight (taken from the album this time) is the clever folk-driven “I Don’t Wanna Wait”, delivering catchy chorus with such a charming simplicity. The Drifter & The Gypsy will appeal to these who enjoy the tiny bit whimsical sounds of such artists as Ingrid Michaelson as well as the lovely songwriting of Lucy Schwartz.

Bright and light-hearted melodies.
Rosi Golan – Follow The Arrow
Rosi Golan – I Don’t Wanna Wait
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Brown Bird

Saturday, January 23rd, 2010 by Kyle

Appalachian // Shanty

Time leads me to belonging’s grace. The drifting mountains, sifting hills, forests enclave, gravel pounds. Walking til’ my feat falls flat; I rest under trees why leaves camouflage me. Already west when my quest is back home… in a faint, beckoning assuage; reminiscent of Ma who always cared too much – with her undying love now a comforting memory – as footsteps in my soul on a path to soar. Black-eyed Susans and their friends break earth around me.. do they sing when they see the sun? A shout, a gasp, or a sigh for eternity? What do they believe? The strum of petals forgiving sin; steady growth like beard or wind; bark that bites, angels who romp, and heartbeat knock, tick-tock, of a flock. Do they or the birds above see me? Window’s fog is revealing fingerprinted faces, and a Portland, Maine man, David Lamb, has Rhode Islands across lakes of succumbing fate to find The Devil Dancing.

Soft shoes and skull shakers.
Brown Bird – Bottom of the Bottle
Brown Bird – Severed Soul
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Meaghan Smith

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009 by Michelle

singer-songwriter // indie folk // holiday

After hearing Canadian songwriter Meaghan Smith’s sweet and carefree songs it shouldn’t come as a surprise that she grew up in a house of music, with her piano-teacher mother, bassist father and three talented sisters. Her affinity for the sounds of the “˜20s, “˜30s and “˜40s features heavily in her music as well. While the jazz-influenced indie folk of Meaghan Smith embraces instrumentation from older eras, the Canadian songwriter gives it her own contemporary twist (Meaghan herself dubs it “modern vintage”). Regardless of what you’d like to call it, her unique take on the holiday classic, “Silver Bells” and her original winter song, “It Snowed” is just what you need to get you in the holiday mood!

Traditional holiday songs go “modern vintage”.
Meaghan Smith – It Snowed
Meaghan Smith – Silver Bells
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Lay Low

Sunday, October 11th, 2009 by Julija

blues // folk

Singer-songwriter Lovísa Elísabet Sigrúnardóttir, a.k.a. Lay Low, has been named as one of the most promising new artists back in her home country Iceland. On her album Farewell Good Night’s Sleep (2009) Lay Low captures the essence of blues, country and folk, concocting them all into music that feels like a perfect soundtrack for a cross country road trip. One of the album’s highlights, “Last Time Around”, unfolds sweetly with her soft crooning, melancholic bluesy sound and a hint of Iceland and Nashville in it.

Country-tinged Icelandic love song.

Lay Low – Last Time Around
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Thursday, October 8th, 2009 by Julija

folktronica // swedish experimental

Fredrik Karlsson, a.k.a. Solander, a part of Aurgasm-featured Fredrik, has his own solo project and it’s the one project you were all waiting to hear about, without even knowing it. Similar to Fredrik’s compositions, Solander’s debut Since We Are Pigeons (2009) carries a distinct Scandinavian, unique yet familiar sound. The album infuses hushed vocals, fragile strings arrangements and warm electronics with just a hint of experimentalia. In “Looking For Gold” Solander slowly builds up the mood by layering off-beat guitar with beautiful orchestration and hypnotic vocal harmonies. Definitely one of the most promising indie projects coming from Sweden this year.

Strong, captivating melody.
Solander – Looking For Gold

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Local Natives

Tuesday, September 1st, 2009 by Michelle

indie folk // harmonic folk pop

Silverlake’s Local Natives have been making their way around the blogs lately, and understandably so. The quintet’s unique brand of indie folk highlights their tight vocal harmonies without sacrificing on rolling guitars, keys and percussion or sharp lyrics. Their laid-back and layered folk is a perfect way to wind down the rest of summer — a warm, blooming cocoon of sound. The boys were kind enough to take some time from their hectic schedule to lay down this exclusive acoustic version of “Camera Talk” for us.

Soothing and gorgeous vocal melodies meets sparse folk.
Local Natives – Camera Talk (Acoustic Aurgasm Exclusive)
Local Natives – Airplanes
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Jason Kanakis and his Coalition of the Unwilling

Friday, July 3rd, 2009 by Michelle

indie folk // singer-songwriter

A talented multi-instrumentalist, Jason Kanakis has been making a name for himself as a sideman for Aurgasm alum Cary Brothers, as well as Joshua Radin, Sara Bareilles, Rachael Yamagata and many others. While he has always been a writer and singer, Jason’s upcoming release is the first that is uniquely his own. “Anything,” which was written by Kanakis and Priscilla Ahn (another Aurgasm favorite), is a stunning preview from his new project, Jason Kanakis and his Coalition of the Unwilling. The track, which features Laura Jansen, is haunting and ethereal, and Laura’s delicate vocals are perfectly paired with Jason’s elegant instrumentals. “Anything” is a delightful showcase of Kanakis’ talents both in front of and behind the boards. Take a deep breath. Exhale. Let it wash over you.

Winsome vocals coupled with polished production.
Jason Kanakis and his Coalition of the Unwilling – Anything (feat. Laura Jansen)
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