Emerging Folk – Ian Janco, Victoria Finehout-Vigil, Norman Lake, Joel William Harrison

As the introductory atmospheric soundscape of serene birds and emotive synths builds and bends, it’s engulfed by a powerful dark presence.  That is how songwriter Ian Janco introduces Rapture, a six song EP of somber folk and revelatory vibes.  It’s not all doom and gloom, there’s something hopeful beneath this melancholy.  It’s heard in the choir harmonies of Something New and the uplifting progression of A Brighter Day.  What most impactful though, is the contrast of sad and beautiful on gems like Long Way Down and Castaway

Long Way Down embraces the indie folk palette that drew audiences to artists like Sufjan Stevens and Bon Iver.  The soft vocal delivery is rooted in the iconic acoustic vibes of Elliot Smith.  Lyrically, Janco explores the conflict of commitment.  Grappling with the fear of regret or disappointment, it connects with an existential generation grappling with love in the post pandemic world.  “Saying we’re on two different pages, time has a way of changing love.” 

  Janco casts a wide stylistic net in the world of indie folk.  Every song embraces a different production palette, as the collected EP explores various dimensions of our acquired perspectives.  Janco admits the songs of Rapture came out of a low period in his life, at the height of the pandemic. What matters to you, isn’t what matters to everyone.  There’s always more under the surface.  Rapture is a conversation as much as it is a creative healing process for the artist.  

Several possible influences break through.  On Castaway Janco conjures the spiritual passion known to Hozier.  With Something New, he displays the community appeal of Monsters and Men.  Altogether, Rapture should please an NPR audience with an insatiable appetite for eclectic artists. 

  Enjoy Long Way Down now on our Emerging Folk Playlist. 

Victoria Finehout-Vigil

Victoria Finehout-Vigil is sneaky provocative on her new single Swallow.  The song can be experienced in two polar ways.  The first, is that you can just baske in the melodic glow and impressive performance by the artist.  Alternatively, this elite erotic acoustic mirage is unfounded sexual poetry.  If there’s an alternative intent, it’s benounced to us.  It’s all in brand.  Also performing as a polist and aerialist, her sex appeal is undeniable.  But Victoria is never cheap, in stark contrast her romance is exclusive. 

Swallow is a rare, captivating performance that should garner some heavy comparisons.  It has elements of unfiltered classic performers by Grace Slick and Stevie Nicks, both pioneers in the movement for Women’s sexual empowerment.  Stylistically, Victoria conjures a little of both.  With indie intellect she also brings vibes known to Feist and Rhye.  

  For reference, Victoria Finehout-Vigil is not just an average dancer.  The combination of songwriting, vocal talent, and dance talent has major star potential.  The full package is special, but where there is smoke, there’s fire. Swallow suggests some internal turmoil that enables her to emit these heavy vibes.  The sentiment is lifted by her banner on Spotify, which shows the artist under a full sweater in sweaty frustrated agony.  We’re drawn into the mystery of this complicated new star.  Who is Victoria Finehout-Vigil?  For us, if you’re inspired us to ask these questions, then you’ve succeeded at something unique.

    Swallow is the only musical release so far, and an impressive debut.  We’re excited to see how her music evolves.  

  Get started with Swallow now on our Emerging Folk Playlist. 

Norman Lake

Norman Lake first caught our attention with the single Meant To Be.  Boosted by a captivating music video with the mummified artist dancing beneath glorious landscapes, it was one of our favorite discoveries of 2021.  The artist is back with Feel.  The new release opens with a vamping acoustic based riff that suggests a subtle influence of punk and its documented influence on bands like Modest Mouse and the Pixies. 

The immediate riff is catchy and charming, but as the song builds, Feel’s truth is revealed in an epic apathetic rock out.  A more indie sensibility develops.  The progressive surprise is there to get you to the song’s infectious chorus, as the singer passionately laments “This is how I’ll always feel.”  The statement bites like scorned love.  You’re drawn in with the sweetness, but for the afflicted, depression never relents.  The songwriter admits that the song is meant to capture the emotions around a depressive episode.  They capture it elegantly, almost too well.  Buyer Beware, you will ironically absorb something from Feel.  

  As a singer Norman is full of character and personality.  He sings with a conviction bred from real world let down.  The scorn of the vocal has a nostalgic affect, somewhere between a variation of dry Bowie, Violent Femmes, and The Replacements.  It’s something familiar to comfort you, as you absorb the artists emotion through this vicarious performance.  

  The textured analog tones and mellow grooves are cool, but it’s the lyrical touch that really sets Norman Lake apart.  A combination of abstract and subconsiously direct.  “Didn’t wanna pull away, but it’s easier than pulling the trigger on what I want to say.  My mind simmers with things I shouldn’t consider.” 

  Heal and reel with Feel, now on our Emerging Folk Playlist 

Joel William Harrison

It’s not an accident.  The new single This Is Us by Joel William Harrison is in fact dedicated to the popular TV show.  If you know a little about the show, you will immediately connect with it’s unfiltered realism.  Almost every episode is a gut wrenching tear jerk, but at times so is life.  Combined with fantastic performances by the shows stars, its no wonder the show has a dedicated following.  

The single features delicate guitar picking from Harrison.  Recorded wonderfully and performed with a natural touch, the pure expression of the guitars tempered wood breathes through the record.  Harrison’s raw rusty vocal delivery croons with the spirit of someone whose weathered some heartache and misfortune.  In tandem with the shows often uncompromising content, it’s real and beautiful, but often pretty sad.  

  Lyrical sentiments share painfully relatable snippets of the shows content.  From unexpected loss to perseverance in grace, the stories of our lives and the moments no one sees.  “It’s not always perfect, it’s not pretty but it’s worth it.”

  Harrison’s somber folk twangs with a southern sensibility.  It recalls the classic songwriting of Townes Van Zandt.  More recently, it connects with artists like Gregory Alan Isakov and Ryan Adams.  With an orchestral arrangement and a solid vocal, it brings mainstream appeal.  Unsurprisingly, it should also please fans of the show.  It’s a proper tribute, boosted by a masterful performance and just a damn good song in its own right. 

Enjoy This Is Us now on our Emerging Folk Playlist. 

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