Try Ross Beach. He's from the other coast.
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You probably already know Damien Rice if you know Banhart. If not you'll probably like him too. Also, perhaps Ray La Montagne. A bit more extreme (I guess emphasis on the "freak"), and a female vocalist, Joanna Newsome (I really like "Milk-Eyed Mender", but not the recent release, "Y's"). Perhaps Iron & Wine. Never heard the term "Freak-Folk" ...not sure what to make of that.
Oh, how could I have forgoten to suggest - another yet more dark and brooding direction, and one of my personal favorites: 16 Horsepower - their album, "Folklore" is a great one for starters (and specifically to fit in this thread). Folklore is a superb collection of songs (I think most on that album are traditionals or regional folk songs, as I recall) with Edwards unique and expressive take on each. The band is difficult to clasify, as are others mentioned here, in this thread, but they've been loosely described as "goth-folk". I'd add that there is a hint of Applachian spirit, as well as country, and some of that musical-meat-grinder creativity of Tom Waits to stir the pot. The band dissolved in 2005, but the lead singer, David Eugene Edwards went on to form the band "Woven Hand". I'd describe Woven Hand's music an even darker shade of black - on their album "Blush Music" Edwards does a drawn-out (10+ minutes) version of Bill Wither's "Ain't no Sunshine When She's Gone" that is enough to drive one to slit their wrists in a warm bath. Edwards is also involved in another band called "Lillium" - though I haven't heard much of what that band sounds like, I have liked what I've heard, and I believe Edwards is a gifted and unique talent. Start with 16 Horsepower's, "Folklore" and see if you like it...then move on to darker realms if you care to pursue it further.
Banhart is very refreshing. Freakfolk, cool title. May i make a suggestion. Space Oddity. Listen how the freak of all freaks does it. Get past the song Space Oddity,(which is one great song) turn off the lights, sit back, let the mans music transport you to places like no other is capable. When you get back home, break out the old Websters, you will appreciate what you just heard that much more. Cerebral music from thirtyeight years ago that people are still trying to catch up to. Now that's freaky!!
Thanks for the heads up - I thought 16 Horsepower was dead and buried by the turn of the millenium. Their first couple of records were definitely freak (not so sure about folk) and I really liked them a lot. I'll be sure to look for "Folklore" ASAP.
BTW, Jean Yves Tola, their drummer, is one of the more original players out there (IMHO).
The Sufjan album to get first should be Illinoise. It is by far my fave and I have all of his albums except for the excerpts from Illinoise album. I will also recommend one of my very favorites of all-time. This is a way I gauge if I can get along with a person or not. They MUST have this in their collection or I get a strong feeling that I'm not going to end up liking this so-called music fan. Without further ado...Neutral Milk Hotel-In The Aeroplane Over The Sea.
This is a way I gauge if I can get along with a person or not. They MUST have this in their collection or I get a strong feeling that I'm not going to end up liking this so-called music fan. Without further ado...Neutral Milk Hotel-In The Aeroplane Over The Sea.
I know where you can get a nice pair of blinders custom made to your size so you don't even have to be distracted by the site of those people ;-)
That particular CD has been recommended to me so many times that now I'm gonna' have to get a copy just to see if I can be your pal.
Another one that comes to mind, given that recommendation, is Bright Eyes (Conner Oberst). I suspect, like Neutral Milk Hotel, this may be an acquired taste, and is certainly not for everyone. I'd suggest checking out the album, "Lifted or The Story Is in the Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground", to see if you might be a fan. There is one tune of his that you can download for free on iTunes - "When the President Talks to God". It's not particularly typical of Oberst, but might give you taste of what he's about in one sense. This is a pretty conventional composition, whereas his albums tend to be more layered, complex and musically creative.