Well, summer is well and truly over, and we’re now sheltering from the rain and donning our winter clothes. It’s been a great month for new folk artists, reaping the benefits of festival season and taking advantage of everyone’s post-summer blues by organising tours and producing great feel-good music. So here are a few new artists in September’s Thank Folk For New Bands to pick you up again.
Jake and the Jellyfish
A few months ago now I was wandering around Camden looking for a way to fill the time until my next train home, and I came upon a bar with a sign outside that said ‘live music, late bar’, so I went in. Inside I found Leeds based, reggae-folk quartet Jake & the Jellyfish, who ‘know it’s a weird name, but at least you won’t forget it’. The two EPs they have, Landfills and Folk You!, both show the same passionate punk spirit, as lead-singer Jake spits frustrated lyrics with real heart and integrity. They have a powerful political dissatisfaction which mixes with their versatile music – which involved switches from electric guitar to violin to tenor banjo – and creates a unique, multicultural plethora of traditional music and innovative songwriting, making Jake & the Jellyfish a greatly relevant symbol for our restless society.
Based – Leeds
Find Them At – jakethejellyfish.limitedrun.com
Latest Release – EP – Landfills
See Them – 9th October, The Cockpit, Leeds
18th, Shakespeares, Sheffield
Emily Levy lists her musical influences as ranging from folk and jazz to medieval and flamenco, and it is obvious that she doesn’t hold back on releasing her creativity over her music. Based in Yorkshire, Levy has recently released her debut solo album Lost And Found, after a considerable amount of work on past collaborative albums, which takes you through a huge mix of styles from lulling, orchestral pieces to clanging, tingling electronic sounds, and all being covered in her own haunting vocals. Each song has a feeling of personal craft to it, as if each track has its own back story and each one is treated to the same full attention and focus. Hearing her for the first time felt like rediscovering an artist like Annie Lennox or Anais Mitchell, a powerful, versatile voice coupled with intricate, inventive instrumentation.
Based – Yorkshire
Find Her At – www.emilylevy.co.uk
Latest Release – Album – Lost And Found
Listen To – Passing Clouds
Holy Moly And The Crackers
A band who lists their genre as ‘circus folk’ is usually enough to grab my attention, and in this case Holy Moly And The Crackers had enough to hold it. Their high energy music, full of personality and flair, won’t fail to bring up your mood with the mix of contemporary folk, Americana, wonderful harmonies of gruff male and sweet female vocals, and dizzying fairground passion. The thing they do so well is take traditional, and quite accomplished and beautiful, music and squeeze out all preconceptions, and all that is seen as dated, and leave in all that is charming and affecting. As well as this, there is a sincerity in their music that, amidst all the personality, constantly reminds you of their obvious respect for the trade and their talent to make such an accomplished album of inventive lyrical magnetism and, above all, fun songs.
Based – Newcastle
Find Them At – www.holymolyandthecrackers.com
Latest Release – Album – First Avenue
See Them – 18th October, Mary Inn, Beamish
25th, Monkey Junk Blues Club, Newcastle
Listen To – Down On Time
Sometimes you are presented with a band that you just long to see live, and Green Diesel are definitely one of those. Their music is bursting with tradition, and their array of time-honoured instruments – including mandolins, accordions and a bouzouki – seem to, at points, drive their music with a passion that could see you take a stranger by the arm and swing them around, and yet they also ripple along with the wonderfully suited harmonies of Greg Ireland and Ellen Care. Lively, original compositions give the old tales and ideas they draw on a new burst of life, and their innovative, seemingly limitless, imagination – from 60s style guitars to whale noises – keeps their debut album Now Is The Time from being just another traditional reinvention album, and makes Green Diesel a fashionable, old-fashioned folk band. All that remains after getting this album is seeking them out, and having a good hoe-down.
Based – Kent
Find Them At – www.greendieselfolk.com
Latest Release – Album – Now Is The Time
See Them – 12th October, Ypres Castle Inn, Rye
Listen To – Rolling Sea
Bradford folk band The Halstead Clan are a band that can really stop you in your tracks and hold your attention, which is no mean feat. Their music may seem simple on the surface, but once you delve into the 6-track EP they have released, you’ll find not only genre-spanning, but also generation-spanning style, as they cross from beautifully natural harmonies and catchy twee numbers to ’60s guitar twangs and old country intonations. It’s apparent from their debut EP that The Halstead Clan are a strong creative force and are capable of playing around with the folk-pop genre to great results, and even with their debut EP there seems a great selection of songs to please folk elders and pop-loving youngsters alike.
Based – Bradford
Find Them At – www.facebook.com/thehalsteadclan
Latest Release – EP – EP
Listen To – You And No One Else
Folk-pop is a genre that seems to have at once come from nowhere and be spreading like wildfire, and Johnno Casson is a great example and result of this. Having previously made electro-pop flavoured music under the established guise of Snippet, he has now, under his own name, taken a more acoustic approach and revealed a more poetic side to himself on his new album Window Shopping. In his songwriting he seems to effortlessly take personal and often melancholic subject matter and turn it into honest, emotional and at times epic music. His acoustic ballads have made him the most played artist in BBC Introducing’s history, and his own brand of longing folk, drawing on many different aspects of modern life, means that he is sure to catch people’s attention whatever genre they favour.
Based – Colchester
Find Him At – www.johnnocasson.co.uk
Latest Release – Album – Window Shopping (released 8th October)
See Him – 11th October, Headgate Theatre, Colchester
Listen To – Out Of Credit