Indie folk is a loosely defined genre evolving from the indie rock scene of the nineties where folk elements (like acoustic instruments, natural vocals, as well as traditional tunes and rhythms) are integrated into songs in different ways. Here is the low-down of my indie folk playlist picks –
The traditional folk inspired: The Arcadian Wild, The Crane Wives, Mumford and Sons
All multipiece groups, these bands lean on more traditional influences, including that of bluegrass or Americana, to create their unique sound worlds. They often use folk instruments like the mandolin, fiddle, or banjo, and their melodies can be reminiscent of traditional folk tunes but just with a modern twist.
The soft solo singers: Luke Sital-Singh, Passenger, Ben Howard
All hailing from the UK, these singers accompany themselves with primarily acoustic instruments and create expressive, calming tracks.
The profound performers: Hozier, Vian Izak, Matthew and the Atlas
These artists might not identify themselves with the genre, but there are certainly elements of their music which contain indie folk influences; above all, their sounds are true to themselves.
The close harmonies and cutting lyrics: The Staves, Seafret
These groups rely on vocal togetherness and profound lyrics to convey deep emotion, especially for a longing for love and simpler times.
The free spirit: Fish in a Birdcage
Deserving their own category, Fish in a Birdcage create music which is distinctly theirs through characteristic vocals and the use of bowed string instruments, as well as the quirky narrative they spin.