Henry Coleman

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Last Active 09-08-20 6:29 pm
Joined 06-11-14

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10.23.20 Happy 4000 to me!08.17.20 Folk that's better than Folklore
07.13.20 Best music of 2020??01.28.17 Good ass albums that black folk made.

Folk that's better than Folklore

This is basically just folk records that I like, nothing more, nothing less. BlondeGuardian and LeddSledd asked for folk recs in the Folklore thread so this is especially dedicated to them. I hate the idea that Taylor Swift's milquetoast approach to indie folk might color people's opinion on the style as a whole. As you can see in my genre chart, folk is definitely not what I listen to the most. BUT it's just as good as any genre, and there are many artists and albums that I love therein. There are probably users way more qualified (i.e. into folk) to do this than me, but I think I have solid awareness of it. To those that are well-steeped in folk, this list probably wont mean much to you. To those that are new or only moderately aware of it, you might find something cool and new here.
1Joni Mitchell

An utter masterpiece. Joni Mitchell is an aural painter and a poet, and her songwriting is second to none. Story-like lyrics with vivid, naturalistic images and metaphors to share. Intelligent and dramatic chord progressions, while still sticking primarily to the language of folk. A masterclass in the genre by one of my all time favorite musicians of the last 100 years. Probably the only reason she doesn't get mentioned in the same conversations as Bob Dylan or Nick Drake or Neil Young is because she is a woman, and that is a crying shame.
2Joni Mitchell

The culmination of Mitchell's explorations outside of folk, taking on an even blend of jazz influences. Traditional melody is less focused on, allowing musical textures to ebb and flow freely, not unlike a conversation. Joni commands a great roster of musicians for this album, including the legendary jazz bassist Jaco Pastorius.
3Elliott Smith

It took 3 years of hipsters telling me to listen to this man before I did and when I finally did I felt STUPID for putting it off. Plain, catchy, and touching songs. Ripe with a moody atmosphere and mostly delicate, but exciting songs. One of the brightest voices of 90's folk.
4Bob Dylan
Highway 61 Revisited

As much as I resent his overratedness, Bob Dylan is as esteemed as he is for a reason. This classic is named for a Southern highway that links Dylan's home in Minnesota to musically rich and important Southern locales, such as Memphis, New Orleans, and the Mississippi Delta. While paying homage to those sounds, Dylan leans fully into rock-isms, instead of going half acoustic, half-electric as he did on the previous album, Bringing It All Back Home.
5Terry Callier
What Color is Love?

Terry Callier uses his brilliant ear, hands, and voice to blend the sounds of folk, soul, and jazz into a honey-kissed, yet dreary gallery of sensitive aural tapestries. They are decorated in images that meditate on race, class, and romance.
6Giles Corey
Giles Corey

An integral member of the eclectic and lauded, post punk band, Have A Nice Life, Dan Barrett veers off onto his own path. This folk album is deeply dark and deeply personal, diving headfirst into the lowest pits of depression.
7Kengo Iuchi
邪鬼祭 '89ライブ

Japanese performer Kengo Iuchi is a pure anomaly. From the pits of hell he delivers the most shocking and startling death/noise folk that you've never heard before. This demon rarely sings in a traditional manner, opting instead for ghostlike wails and throat shredding screams. He bangs away at brittle and bizarrely tuned instruments, drawing out dissonant and unsteady chords and melodies. The atmosphere is so suffocating that the listener is never allowed to feel at ease. And it is beautiful. This live album, "Evil Festival '89 Live" provides a snapshot of all the left field destruction he can bring about. youtube link:
8Natalia Lafourcade
Hasta la Raiz

Mexican folk pop icon. An interesting look at what a pop star can do with the more sophisticated palette of Latin music and some actual songwriting chops (something Taylor Swift rarely fucking demonstrates). My Spanish is maybe 40% of the way there, so I hardly understand what she's saying most of the time. However, when you read the lyrics, you are met with expressive poetry that denotes vulnerability and love in a way that is moving and so far away from trite. Some people get famous for a reason.
9Daniel Johnston
Songs of Pain

My man Daniel Johnston. Hipsters know him well. With charming lofi recordings, he combines great doses of humor and bipolar disorder wrought sadness into very quaint sounding songs. Simply calling these songs quaint would do a disservice to how flooring they can be, however. They are poignant and touching, often rich with commentary both funny and morbid. His delicate voice and surprising musical proficiency add that much more charm.
10Honey Harper

Space country/folk/americana!! This is an awesome record. Psychedelic textures and sweet, reverb drenched revivalisms abound. Pure ear candy the whole way through.
11Mount Eerie
A Crow Looked At Me

This one is a doozy. For the entire album, Phil Elverum meditates on the real life death of his equally creative wife, Geneviève Castrée, and the intense depression that followed. Quite saddening at times, but in a very human way. Many have been brought to tears by it. It doesn't quite make me cry but it shows me a clearer of picture of some earthly pain that I feel ever conscious of. "Ravens" is a true standout.
Chelsea Girl

The historically troubled Nico of Velvet Underground, equally excelling in her own singular vision. Obviously, this work is criminally underrated and not spoken of nearly enough. While she would go on to produce more elevated and avant-garde records, this is an excellent example of late 60's folk pop.
13Sufjan Stevens

Sufjans Stevens' beautiful, weird love letter to the state of Illinois. Large multi-tracked arrangements wash over the listener, referencing a bevy of different styles from baroque pop to jazz.
14Joanne Robertson

God. When I recommend this album to my friends, I describe it as sounding like what I think a heroin overdose would feel like. So dark, so atmospheric. So cold and somehow so warm. An aural isolation chamber. It makes me feel so close to dying and still like I am home. I'm probably just pretty depressed lmao. Amazing chords and production and vocals on this, though.
15Abner Jay
Terrible Comedy Blues

"Folk songs tell true stories, but terrible stories because folk are terrible." The raw prophet, Abner Jay. Poignant and plain, blues-flavored folk songs. Comedy, asides, and stories are weaved between to create something wholly unique and character driven. This is pure poverty. This is pure addiction. This is pure sadness. This is pure life, the only way he can find to express it.
16Bad Books

Fun as fuck and generally well written indie folk from the creative minds of Manchester Orchestra. While it lacks some of the bombast you may find with Manchester, the dynamism and the songwriting chops are still all there. The songs are full of energy and life, as well introspection. "Friendly Advice" is definitely a personal standout.
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