Various Artists - Sidewalk Songs & City Stories: New Urban Folk
Trikont is a German Indie label that has been around a long time, and part of what they do best is compile inspired comps that give a broad and smart taste to the selected genre. On the heels of their masterful "Creative Outlaws: US Underground 1962-1970" comes this gem, which attempts to put Weird Folk in historical context, and in the process elevates its nobility in ways some of heroes have not.
By tracing a line from Jad Fair, Daniel Johnston, The Frogs and Chadbourne down to Kimya Dawson, Devendra Banhardt and Animal Collective, this set makes a case for the singer/songwriter gradually fraying around the edges, starting to see the connection between folk, punk and psych, and splitting off into little hermetic groups to warble and shake it.
I’m not sure if this disc would be as listenable for me without the context of the older stuff, and it sure wouldn’t be as powerful. But there is a lot of life here, and Neo-folkers do themselves proud for both listening to the past and making hay with new ideas.
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