Emerging Folk – Ayrton Jimenez, The Prickly Pear, Art Block, Le Days

Ayrton Jimenez embraces his Spanish lineage on Before Tomorrow Comes.  The classic nylon string guitar is equally warm and cooling.  Ayrton romances the expressive strings with every poetic pluck and trembling vibration.  Fluttering flamenco leads dance around the main vocal.  With modern sensibility you get hints of Jobim pop and Bossa nova influence, but the full affect is classic flamenco.  The music inspires images of the rose between her lips as she whips her flowing dress like the fighter swings his muleta, with Ayrton serenading this sacred dance.  

  The dark chord choices suggest sincere lyrical intent.  The poetry accentuates natures overlooked magnificence.  Ayrton describes loud forces in nature while it’s inhabitants sleep, and the stark awareness it brings when you awake to its complexities. “Moonlight kisses the pavement, the wind speaks through the breeze, the sky has so much to say dear, while the world is fast asleep.  So dance with me under starlight, the sunrise creeps over the trees, it offers it’s hand to the darkness, and they dance for the whole world to see.”

  This musical tradition has stood the test of time.  When its reimagined appropriately, it fits in well with the popular acoustic music of our time.  It would not be strange to hear this flamenco lullaby on popular radio.  Even with the alternating Spanish lyrics, it’s all about the feel and vibe it conjures.  Ayrton Jimenez captures it all elegantly on the new record, the best proper lyrical flamenco tribute we’ve heard in some time. 

Enjoy Before Tomorrow Comes now on our Emerging Folk Playlist 

The Prickly Pair

The Prickly Pair are charming on their new release The Long Parade.  The single is a proper duet with classic country sensibility.  It doesn’t have a lot in common with Country’s mainstream bland pop dissent.  It connects more with the recent release by Wilco or slices of She & Him.   You can trace it back to the halls of Dolly Parton and Linda Rondstadt. They spice it up with a hint of Americana and indie intellect.  It’s easy listening, a guaranteed jovial night out with contemporary appeal.  

  The execution is exceptional, with enough variation in the songwriting and riffage to keep it unique without dragging it out of its proper genre.  The Long Parade can walk you back to Nashville, but with the personality known to its ancestral guard.  Producers like T Bone Burnett and Jack White who strive to reconnect the cultural fabric that made it iconic. 

  Every city has a musical legacy, but Nashville’s is special. Prickly Pair reminds us there’s still room to roam around this musical structure.  They don’t appear to resist it, donning the western wear complete with flashy tassels known to Cowboys and Wranglers.  The vintage style fits well with their music.  With far reaching potential the project should please fans of Shovels and Rope, The Lumineers, and emerging buzz acts like Cosmic Guilt.  

  Jam out to The Long Parade now on our Emerging Folk Playlist 

Art Block

Art Block is tragic romantic on his Seagulls EP.  As a composer he constantly waivers between the modes of dark and light.  Somber reflective vibes are picked up by glimmers of hope in occasional major chord resolutions.  The affect is on full display with the opening title track.  Always employing orchestral strings to glue the melodic atmosphere, he strums or picks delicately like on the folksy Pilgrim.  

Beneath the elegant musical design are sharp lyrical stories of loss and life, all seemingly existing at the cusp of the oceans break.  It’s as if they’re written from the perspective of the coastal bird, stories passed down through the lineage of migrating ancestors.  It’s all revealed in the poetry of Infinity.  “The thoughts of a land where the ancients used to roam, the stars are lighting the path that leads me home.” 

  Art Block takes us to church on the closing track Stones and Fire.  Recalling spiritual indie folk artists like Hozier and Bon Iver, the echoing vocal is ideal for an in church concert appearance.  

  The EP’s collective vibe fits in somewhere between Darlingside and Mumford and Sons.  There’s also a classic sensibility known to singers like Roy Orbison.  The compositions are serene and comforting, while the vocal is occasionally raw and textured, with tinges of weathered emotion known to travelled troubadours.  It shows evidence of a life and journey worthy of his artistic conviction.  

  Enjoy Seagulls now on our Emerging Folk Playlist

Le Days

Life Is Suffering.  Give yourself to it and be released.  Swedish songwriter Le Days is no stranger to pain.  A catalog of gut wrenching performances channel every historical moment of struggle and heartache.  The artist digs deep with each inspiring take on Stuck In My Head (Alternate Recordings).  There’s no stop and go once the tape starts rolling, it’s not that easy to summon these demons and have them cooperate efficiently.  You have to rile every detail of your subconscious history, the buried realities of forgotten tragedies, to release the feelings known to songs like Blood is Blood and My Mama Said.  It’s a beautiful mix of clear vocal talent, and unfiltered emotion.  The singer brings an intoxicating blend of the tremolo known to Chris Isaak and the exhaustive fully committed performance style of Joe Cocker or Janis Joplin.  

The album as a whole is a dark brooding experience, with dramatic soundscapes and curious prose slotted between or around the vocal cuts.  Its cinematic in both affect and how it is received almost like a soundtrack.  Likewise it would fit well in a high art horror classic.  The compositions are impressive, with insane but calculated performances featuring contributions on piano and violin that approach the instruments in unorthodox ways.  The screeches and tempo fluctuations are all written into the arrangements structure.  It’s complicated organized chaos.  Though a lot of it may move through you as it brings you through this immersive dark auditory trip, the vocal cuts will keep you captivated.  In layman’s terms it could please fans of Radiohead, Portishead, Grizzly Bear, or any combination of acts who make slices of dark but beautiful anti-format recordings.  The comparisons are just a scribbled map to offer an idea of who might like it.  Le Days is truly a singular unique expression.  

  “Stuck In My Head’ is Le Days fourth studio album and has alternate recordings from their second album ‘I Am Your King’ and their third album ‘We Are Nowhere’ as well as some new tracks.   It will be released on Cacospysy Records both as digital and a limited edition of 100 digipak cd, with the exclusive chance to pre-order 35 copies and get handwritten poetry and collage-art of faces by Daniel until the day of the release.

  Enjoy My Mama Said now on our Emerging Folk Playlist 

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