Folk Off

Various Artists

Released: 17 July 2006

album: SBESTCD12

Description & tracklisting

Sunday Best brings you their take on the current wave of nu-folk sweeping the globe, and in keeping with all things associated with Mr da Bank, it’s not your run of the mill look at the current revival.

Released on July 17thFolk Off brings together the slightly left of centre ‘folk’ artists from both sides of the Atlantic. It displays a wealth of talent and amazing new music from both the UK and the US – there’s certainly no shortage of it, that’s for sure.


Check out for more info & to listen to some of the tracks…

By way of further explanation…

Notes From A Revived Revival by Pete Paphides:

‘Last year, more bicycles were sold in this country than at any other time in the last fifty years. In the jetpack era that never quite arrived, that’s worth dwelling on. Once reduced to mere recreation – like a sheepdog demoted to the job of chasing balls – the bike is still the least likely vehicle to leave you looking like a chump. It’s no wonder that just like his predecessors, the modern revolutionary prefers to pedal.

In 2006, transportation, portability and design count for everything. And so, it’s no accident that the humble acoustic guitar is at the epicentre of some of the most exciting, most contemporary music being made right now. And me? I was there, kids. I saw it happen. Micah P Hinson arriving at London’s legendary In The Pines afternoon session, donning his acoustic and shedding his anonymity like a skin to slay us with a searing Southern blues. At the Luminaire, watching intricate picked notes dancing around the burr of James Yorkston – dispenser and describer of minor epiphanies. In a half-empty Cardiff bar scribbling the name of a dervish-eyed New York folk siren on a beermat – Marissa Nadler; Tunng at The Green Man, reinventing the spirit of Jansch and Renbourn for a generation of urban worriers; Vashti Bunyan’s first live performance in three decades at an enraptured Royal Festival Hall. When she sang, “If my heart freezes/I won’t feel it break,” it was like having a long-lost piece of our unconscious wrapped up and handed back to us.

Some people are calling it a folk revival. No harm there, but of course, we had one of those in the 60s – when tiny London bars like Bunjies and Les Cousins paid host to upcoming troubadours like Bert Jansch, John Martyn and visiting Americans like Paul Simon and Jackson C. Frank. The zig-zagging of influences and ideas between either side of the Atlantic was crucial to the scene. Without the British influence, the US folk revival would have amounted to a well-meaning but pious hootenanny of well-scrubbed campfire singers singing We Shall Overcome. Without the American influence, blues wouldn’t had a chance to run Jansch, Renbourn and Donovan’s games. Over three decades on, it’s happening again. Only more so. In a blind taste test, eight out of ten cats had no way of telling that the eerie psych-folk rendering of Rosemary Lane came from Philadelphia’s Espers. Or that the corner of Appalachia which spawned Deep Elem is actually Herefordshire. Or that Eighteenth Day Of May’s jingle-jangle mourning emerged from a kitchen in London.

All of which leads us to Folk Off.  A bad pun, but a great idea.  A folk-off between Britain and America. A demonstration that the oldest instrument in the tableau of popular song is capable of making of the most cutting-edge music.  The people you hear in Folk Off are not luddites. On songs by Animal Collective (US) and Magnetophone (UK) you’ll hear acoustic guitars cast as the eye of a lysergic electrical storm. Try and pin down the sleepy backwoods funk of Oregon’s Blitzen Trapper and the past will be of no help to you. Where exactly do you locate the “folk” centre to all these songs? Whither the point of intersection between the sepia dream-haze of Laura Cantrell’s Bees and Tunng’s stunning acoustic reconfiguration of Bloc Party’s Pioneers? Or Jack Lewis’s The Day Neil Young Died and the unadorned twilit wonder of This Is The Kit’s 2 Wooden Spoons? Partially as a result of James Yorkston’s typically playful decision to go fully electronic on his contribution, even the guitar takes its leave from a couple of songs.

Maybe then, we should take our lead from Austrian philosopher and sometime folk aficionado Ludwig Wittgenstein, who opined that sometimes the only common characteristic that binds a class of objects is “family resemblance.” Spend a day or two in the company of these artefacts, and you’ll realize that theory has everything going for it. Families always gather together on special occasions. And this extended family of artists – disparate yet unmistakably connected – is absolutely no exception. Come in and join us. We’ve been expecting you.’

The album will be quickly followed by a very limited 7″ single by new Sunday Best signing This Is The Kit‘Two Wooden Spoons / Come A Cropper’ is out on 31st July as the first of our highly collectable ‘A Sunday Best Seven’ series.

CD1 – The British Isles:

1. Tunng: The Pioneers

2. North Sea Radio Orchestra: Guitar Minature

3. Acid Casuals: Bowl Me Over

4. This Is The Kit: Two Wooden Spoons

5. Vashti Bunyan: Here Before

6. James Yorkston & Reporter: Woozy With Cider

7. Songs Of Green Pheasant: Nightfall

8. Clayhill: Beard

9. Eighteenth Day Of May: Strings

10. Deep Elem: In The Woods

11. Jakokoyak: Eira

12. Same Actor: Nothing Yet

13. The Hat: 3AM Drunken Lullaby

14. Magnetaphone: ...And May Your Last Word Be A Chance To Make Things Better

15. Listen With Sarah: Blue Parsley

CD2 – North America:

1. Michah P. Hinson: Yard Of Blonde Girls

2. Marissa Nadler: Famous Blue Raincoat

3. Vetiver: Amour Fou

4. Richard Swift: Sadsong Street

5. Dr Dog: The World Will Never Know

6. Espers: Rosemary Lane

7. Au Revoir Simone: Through The Backyards

8. Laura Cantrell: Bees

9. Sufjan Stevens: Decatur, or, A Round Of Applause For Your Step Mother

10. Readymade FC: Snow Lion (feat. Feist)

11. Jack Lewis: The Day Neil Young Died

12. Animal Collective: Kids On Holiday

13. Baby Dee: Morning Holds A Star

14. Mi and L'au: Bums

15. Blitzen Trapper: 40 Stripes

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