Folk I’ve found: Sons of an Illustrious Father, Little May

Graphic by Noemi Gonzalez.

Graphic by Noemi Gonzalez.

“Sweet enough to make Tom Waits cry, mean enough to beat up CSNY (Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young).”

I couldn’t have said it better myself. This is what Sons of an Illustrious Father decided to put as its band description on Facebook.

I first heard this band only the other week, but it was one of those “oh-god-what-is-this-and-why-haven’t-I-been-listening-to-it-my-whole-life” moments. Sons of an Illustrious Father are a folk band from New York that’s no-nonsense when it comes to the lyrical and acoustic intensity that often skips the genre. If some folk music is for sitting around outside with your friends on a cheery summer day while sipping Blue Moon, this is for belting alone on your bed when you’re really going through some shit. I love it.

 

 

Although all three band members sing, Lilah Larson’s voice is one of the most profoundly thought-provoking, simultaneously tough and beautiful sounds I have ever heard. One of my favorite songs is called “I Will Kill You in Your Sleep” off of the band’s first, self-titled album.

I feel a little silly writing about Little May, because it’s only released two songs. Based in Sydney, this female trio gives folk a more contemporary feel with heavy percussion and harmonies that exude a mystical complexity. The two songs—“Boardwalks” and “Hide”—complement each other perfectly through thematic and instrumental contrast. “Boardwalks” feels as light and airy as spring with a little string melody that sticks in your head all day. “We are not afraid of who we are but what we have become / and we are not afraid of what’s to be when this road has just begun.”

“Hide” is a game-changer. I first heard both artists on a fantastic site called “8tracks” that plays you song compilations others have treated. You personalize them and filter through using tags. “Hide” hit my heart with an eerie, melancholy yet catchy sound that starts sweet and develops into something more aggressive and vengeful. The outspoken lyrics sealed the deal for me. “I feel so wise in your bed / is it me or is it her that’s in your head / and you found it / but you drowned it / and you washed it clean / feed me words while you hid her between your sheets / bet she likes that.”

I will be patiently waiting for the debut album…

 

Reach the blogger at isabelle.novak@asu.edu or on Twitter @IsabelleNovak