Nothing like the warm ombré leaves of fall to rekindle my affinity for good folk music. And who does folk better than ladies? (Particularly the British ones).
A few months ago, I was walking around Sonic Boom, killing time on a gloomy Sunday afternoon. My scarf was wrapped all the way up to my lips and my hands were swathed in woolen mittens long after I had come in from the cold. While flipping through triple-plastic-wrapped records, I happened to remember a friend with overlapping music tastes who had once recommended Laura Marling.
I paused on the M’s. One glance at the slender, mysterious, shadowy side-profile on I Speak Because I Can, and I immediately went to the check-out before listening to a single song. That’s how much faith I had in Laura Marling. (This vinyl has become my most-played record since my autographed and hand-mailed copy of Angel Olsen‘s Strange Cactii).
One of the many appealing things about Laura Marling’s songwriting is her ability to blend her Hampshire accent into each lyric, while simultaneously dipping into deliciously low Alto notes right before soaring into glassily lucid topnotes. Her music is timeless, which is hard to achieve in an era where the Internet Buzz Machine is churning out the Next Big Thing every five seconds.
Quiet, calm, and contemplative is young wayward sprite Elena Tonra of Daughter. Her newest track Smother could easily pass for a B-side collaboration with Bon Iver circa For Emma, Forever Ago, if they had both shared the same snow-dusted cabin. There is so much unspoken promise in this 7″. For now, I’ll keep listening to her 2011 EP, His Young Heart (listen here). And I might just go see her play at The Drake on October 22nd (tickets at RT/SS, $13.50 advance).
Beth Orton has gained a lot of hype for her newly-released sixth album, Sugaring Season (ANTI-), released October 1st after a six-year album hiatus. Girl’s been doing folk since early nineties college students first began wearing grunge unironically and attending quiet hash parties in backyard yurts. Although she may occasionally veer into the realm of Adult Contemporary, I feel she is doing this intentionally, with a sly wink to the audience. At any rate, it’s heartening to see an established female musician making a comeback where so many others have left us saying, “Whatever happened to her?”