February, Month of Folk

February’s a short month, but thankfully a ton of great music has come out, especially if you like folkie or singer-songwriter stuff. Here are a couple of albums I’ve been digging for the month of February.


Beck – Morning Phase

I’ve never listened to much Beck, but “Morning Phase” is going to make me a fan and send me back scrounging through the latter discography. “Morning Phase” is a lush, emotive album that combines downtempo strumming and folkie dreampop vocals with lyrics that express hopefulness for new beginnings. It’s a compact and solid album, but lush and diverse enough to earn repeated, ever-rewarding listens.


Marissa Nadler – July

Marissa Nadler’s “July” continues her trend of  folk records that combine eeriness with American fingerstyle guitar patterns. The album is somber, as Nadler delivers lines like “You’ve slept through the day, the night and the day/you’re never coming back” and “There’s nothing in my heart”. Under it all is Randall Dunn’s production, usually reserved for extreme metal acts like Wolves in the Throne Room, but here mostly lending ambiance to Nadler’s gothic expressions.


Nicole Atkins – Slow Phaser

The lastest record from songwriter Nicole Atkins is a quick, bohemian statement that, at times, sounds like Sufjan Stevens; at other times, Deep Purple; and sometimes, like a spy movie soundtrack. Atkins’ husky voice and down-to-earth lyrics triumph over all, however, asserting the full command the artist has over her material. More like a quick burst of eclecticism than a “slow phaser”, Atkins’ record is bite-sized and tasteful, but still dangerous.


Sun Kil Moon – Benji

Mark Kozelek’s unabashedly honest lyrics have deterred a few reviewers, but they also drive the confessional, no BS style that makes “Benji” unique.  The album’s droning fingerstyle patterns accompany vivid, often brutal images of loss and anger, but there are plenty of soft and reflective moments too. “I Saw the Film the Song Remains the Same” is a particular highlight which exemplifies Sun Kil Moon’s unique brew.

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