Charles’ Indie/Folk Playlist


19 songs, 1 hr 11 min, 7 min reading time.

Contributor Charles provides his thoughts on this fantastic playlist below:

Spotify link

Deezer link

1) “Monday” – Matt Corby

I like the gospel quality to this song. Good for when you are in the mood to fuel, rather than overcome, your Monday blues.

Album: “Telluric” (2016)
Label: Atlantic Records

2) “40 Day Dream” – Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros

A classic case of a band that will never be as famous as their top hit “Home”. Humanity’s loss as this is an absolute banger!

Album: “Up From Below” (2009)
Label: Community Records

3) “I Will Remain” – Matthew And the Atlas

My flatmates instigated a moratorium on banjos after I listened to this for the four-hundred-and-fiftieth time in a single week.

EP: “To the North” (2010)
Label: MATA

4) “Modern Tale” – Broken Back

I hesitated to include this as it definitely does not qualify as folk rock. Nonetheless, it seemed to fit.

Album: “Broken Back” (2016)
Label: Broken Back

5) “Society” – Eddie Vedder

My favourite song from the brilliant soundtrack to Into the Wild. Great for when you feel like breaking down the social norms around you, but driving into the Alaskan woods doesn’t seem like the answer.

Album: “Music For The Motion Picture Into The Wild” (2007)
Label: Monkey Wrench

6) “A Rose For Emily” – The Zombies

Some of you may know this from the podcast S-Town, a spin-off of Serial and This American Life. I thought it was a perfect pick by the producers for encapsulating the hardship of rural life in Alabama.

Album: “Odessey and Oracle”(1968)
Label: Marquis Enterprises

7) “No No No” – Beirut

I like this because the melodic repetitions are actually quite engaging.

Album: “No No No” (2015)
Label: 4AD

8) “Portland, Maine” – Donovan Woods

The joke for me here lies in the confusion between the US’s two Portlands. My brother suggested that the airport code for the eponymous city of this song, “PWM”, must have been chosen to resolve it once and for all. Part of me still believes it stands for “Portland Where? Maine”.

Single: “Portland, Maine” (2016)
Label: Meant Well

9) “The Wrote & The Writ” – Johnny Flynn

I am a big fan of this South African-born Brit, who some of you might have seen in Lovesick. The buildup to the resonator solo is unrivalled.

Album: “A Larum” (2008)
Label: Mercury Records

10) “Holocene” – Bon Iver

I had to include something of Bon Iver, who is arguably the current indie folk singer with the greatest influence on the genre. This is a beautiful ode to a time when humans weren’t the primary environmental drivers on Earth.

Album: “Bon Iver” (2011)
Label: 4AD

11) “Open Road” – Roo Panes

For me, this song encapsulates the wonderful sense of endless possibility I feel at the start of a journey.

EP: “Weight of Your World EP” (2012)
Label: CRC Music Group

12) “Stubborn Love” – The Lumineers

The American answer to Mumford & Sons, I think they do a good job of writing love songs that avoid the ideas of roles and property which overwhelm the genre.

Album: “The Lumineers” (2012)
Label: Dualtone Music Group

13) “Helplessly Hoping” – Crosby, Stills & Nash

This playlist wouldn’t be complete without a recognition of some of the artists who made folk rock what it is today. This is one of the purest examples of rock out there.

Album: “Crosby, Stills & Nash [with Bonus Tracks]” (1969)
Label: Atlantic Recording

14) “Mexico” – James Taylor

“Way down here, you need a reason to move” was too good a line to leave out. One of my dearest wishes is to sit in on the grass with a picnic at one of his concerts in the Berkshires.

Album: “Gorilla” (1975)
Label: Warner Records

15) “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” – The Rolling Stones

By contrast, this is a classic example of unfinished-sounding genius: much more rough and ready!

Album: “The Rolling Stones Singles Collection: The London Years (Remastered)” (1989)
Label: ABKCO Music & Records

16) “Atlantic City” – Bruce Springsteen

An underplayed gem in the Boss’ monolithic repertoire, perhaps because this song came out in Nebraska, the album that was half forgotten in the wake of The River.

Album: “Nebraska” (1982)
Label: Bruce Springsteen

17) “Cringe” – Matt Maeson

I don’t know anything about him, but I can’t get enough of this one! As with Broken Back, discovery rights go to Louise Belmans. We disagreed about whether he was just tired or just high…

Single: “Cringe” (2016)
Label: Atlantic Recordings

18) “The Obvious Child” – Paul Simon

I was heartbroken when a drummer friend of mine told me the solo isn’t actually that difficult. It remains my undisputed favourite.

Album: “The Essential Paul Simon” (2007)
Label: Sony Music Entertainment

19) “Georgia” – Vance Joy

I recently saw the Aussie live at what felt like a very impersonal gig. This song, from his first album, is just the opposite.

Album: “Dream Your Life Away” (2014)
Label: Atlantic Recording