Tim Wheatley – Crooked Saint

Ironbark, 2014

An Australian multi-instrumentalist, Wheatley’s solo music career might be minimal at this point, but he’s making a huge impact with his folksy songs and rustic alt-country moods. Warm vocals, twang and blues-influenced sounds and soothing harmonicas earn the former bassist of The Sparrows recognition alongside artists like Rocky Votolato and Ryan Adams on these brief but compelling four songs. An LP please?

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Craig Kinsey – American Roots And Machines

Splice, 2014

The frontman of Sideshow Tramps, Kinsey solo assembles influences as vast as hard rock and gospel into a gypsy-fueled album that takes on political, historical and social commentary with passion and eloquence. Even though many of the songs take on familiar genres, the musical-esque and unique approach Kinsey applies to blues, rockabilly and folk songs make this an instantly enjoyable listen.

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Hovey Otis – Standing Alone

Self-released, 2014

A quick EP of heartfelt indie-folk and more radio friendly soft-rock with smooth vocals, the New England outfit’s songwriter Tim Davis pens careful words matched with warm, acoustic sounds. Though the lyrical themes can be on the darker side of the spectrum, the music is adventurous and flourishing, and results in a precursor to what I imagine will be an incredible LP.

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Streets Of Laredo – Volume I & II

Dine Alone, 2014

Though they’re a new name, the members of Streets of Laredo have paid their dues in New Zealand outfits. Now based in New York, this double EP combines rugged, folk-rock and alt-country with dual gender vocals and a whole lot of guitar-driven melodies that hint at their power-pop roots. All seven members contribute their respective skills, including tambourine and horns, making each song here equally impressive.

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Michael Schulte – The Arising

Very Us, 2014

Though he built his name on covers, the German youngster can write timeless, warm originals, too. Mixing folk, pop and occasional bouts of rock, Schulte’s voice is like a seasoned vet as he works in themes of hope and love. Skilled at both soulful balladry and fuller songs of emotive pop-rock, there’s a lot of talent here that anyone could embrace.

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Angela Moyra – Fickle Island

Zip, 2014

I have to imagine that in the Netherlands Moyra is a household name. If not, she should be, because the songstress can navigate a jazzy pop song and ukulele tune that you won’t soon forget. Often paralleling indie-folk from the west side of the States, there’s a cultural slant that gives the album a unique flavor, complemented by Moyra’s smooth, charming voice. In a word, irresistible.

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