Frankly, I'm more one for electric guitars, and folk tends to make me a little impatient if only because I want a man to sing like a man, goddammit, but there were some nice offerings in the acoustic world this year.
I've had a bad hankering for some Greg Ashley (the Mirrors, the Gris Gris, quiet solo career) as of late, seeing as he's been strangely absent since 2007. So whilst lurking around his My Space page and finding that he's now trying to produce records more often (you can hire him for a mere $1200 per record!), I discovered that he's recorded some stuff for this fellow in Marin County, Jeff Smiler. Life must be awfully slow up in Marin, so Smiler's taught himself to play old-timey folk and hired Ashley to lay it down using his trademark lo-fi/analog recording method. Someone sign this man – I'm looking at you, Birdman Records.
Know where I didn't go last night? To see Roses Kings Castles. Where am I not at the moment? Watching Roses Kings Castles. Shame, too. The rather emo-ly named solo project of Babyshambles drummer Adam Ficek is not purely folk, actually a bit soft pop, but there is something charming about a man of Polish descent with an acoustic guitar in hand, so I thought I'd mention it here. This is the solo project he started between recording sessions with Babyshambles, and though it's back to England for him next week, you can find a few song streams, his tour blog and records for sale on his website. “Sparkling Bootz” is painfully cute, mostly because of the way he adds the teeny-tiniest vibrato to his short “o”s, all Luke Kook-like and whatnot.
Fleet Foxes. You already have this record. It's real pretty.
This past May, Series Two Records in Nebraska released a record by Bakers at Dawn (from Sweden!). Bakers at Dawn is a mostly-solo effort from Marcus Sjoland, and seeing as I don't quite have that knack for adjectives or imagery, I'll leave you with an appropriate description of Sjoland's music that's been snatched from Series Two: Bakers at Dawn wants his music to sound either like a cold rock wrapped up in a warm blanket, or a warm blanket wrapped around a cold rock.
Bakers at Dawn - Endless
Erm...hey! Check it out, another free album is available for download:
Bakers at Dawn – As Is (.zip)
(Track listing or individual track downloads available here.)
Pete Molinari, the UK's answer to Bob Dylan. Five bucks says he never tours the US. Sigh.
Daniel Clay – writer of a record that, to this day, the second to last of the year, remains one of my favorites from 2008. Buy The Protestant (and get a full preview) now.
And, hell, while we're at it:
Nick Drake - Three Hours