Brit songwriter Jake Bugg often taps into the folkloric qualities of rock 'n' roll, and there's no better example of his strengths than when he strips it down (ahem) and flexes those acoustic muscles. In this case, it's "Lightning Bolt" – a frenetic rocker that rambles and shows-off Bugg's chugging guitar and drawling way around a sharp melody.
On "Appalachia," Chelsea Wolfe reignites the ghosts of American mountain music for a haunted folk spell. Her voice, commanding as ever, gets a sturdy backing with reckless guitar strums, subtle drum stomps, a steady bass and slithering string parts that add an aura of menace and cinema to the song. Her new one, Unknown Rooms: A Collection Of Acoustic Songs, will be out October 16 via Sargent House.
Even though it's not part of the recent Just Tell Me That You Want Me: A Tribute To Fleetwood Mac, this Marissa Nadler cover of the legendary group's "Save Me A Place" is a gem unto itself. Filled with a simple, room-sound acoustic guitar and absolutely lovely harmonies, Nadler shows her Mac dedication by toeing the line between sadness and beauty.
After last year's Apokalypsis LP, it would be reasonable to expect something scarier and even more complex from Chelsea Wolfe. She's done a 180, though, opting for unfettered, haunted beauty instead. "The Way We Used To" is the first taste of Unknown Rooms: A Collection Of Acoustic Songs, which comes out October 16 on Sargent House. It falls more in 'tortured torch song' territory, showing off Wolfe's sense of space and impressive vocal power.
Rochester, NY group Polar Bear Club will release a live acoustic album, Live At The Montage, on July 31 via Bridge Nine Records. The LP, recorded and engineered by Jay Maas, was recorded live last July at the Montage Theater and collects songs from throughout the group’s career. “At Your Funeral,” a cover of the classic Saves The Day number, showcases a raucous new interpretation of the track complete with audience accompaniment.
With expansive space and much grace, "No Good" by Starred is a song that's legitimately sparse and haunting. Vocalist Liza Thorn has a honey-laden voice that needs room to operate and echo, and guitarist Matt Koshak provides such a patient arrangement that the entire track just seems to float there. Really, it's a perfect song for napping in a cathedral or driving through New Mexico. Hear more on an upcoming 7-inch to be released by Pendu Sound.
It doesn't take much to make beauty. Glenn Jones knows this and exemplifies it well with a simple acoustic guitar on "Of Its Own Kind" off his upcoming Thrill Jockey debut The Wanting. Surely indebted to fingerpicking icon John Fahey, Jones combines technical ability with a knack for conjuring melodies as natural as soil. It's the ability to put virtuoso playing at the service of emotion that makes him standout. The Wanting comes September 13.
You've heard Mike Bloom before, you've just never realized it. After contributing to recordings and tours with Rilo Kiley and Jenny Lewis, as well as membership in Julian Casablancas' band (... the other one), Bloom has finally taken the solo dive. "Til It's Over" is a warm, meandering number, his playful acoustic skills taking center stage with backing vocals courtesy of Rilo's Blake Sennett. Skilled enough to keep an easily tired genre lively, Bloom throws in some interesting chord progressions along the way. HIs debut album, King Of Circles, will be available on Little Record Co on June 6—pre-order now to receive an exclusive non-album track.
It's nice to get your head stuck inside a piece of music that feels like it's flinging you into the future, but some things just endure, and they do so for a reason. While Crystal Fighters usually make music so stuffed with different styles and genres it's nigh-on impossible to trace them all, here they strip things back for a recording at London's world famous Abbey Road Studios. Abbey Road celebrates its 80th birthday this year, and songs played on acoustic guitars about going to the beach at dawn with a beautiful girl are equally as timeless. This recording took place for Abbey Road Debuts, a new UK TV show starting on Channel 4 in April. Other acts that'll feature in the series include SBTRKT, Mount Kimbie and Trophy Wife.
In the land of bearded balladeers, no man reigns like William Fitzsimmons. The psychotherapist-turned-folk-hero has not yet released his fourth studio album, but lest you commence your next crying jag without a soundtrack, behold. The intimate, tender “The Tide Pulls From The Moon,” flickers to an end after only three minutes: somehow both too soon and just in time. Too short because it’s singularly vulnerable and thereby wonderful on the ears, and exactly right because it’s singularly vulnerable and thereby imposing a herculean strain on the heart, which may not survive a moment more. The strong among you may pre-order Gold In The Shadow here, before it's officially available on Nettwerk come March 22.