Tag Archives: Experimental Folk

Lifetime Achievement: Tashi Dorji’s Expansive World of Experimental Guitar

Tashi Dorji

Growing up in Bhutan in the ’90s, guitarist Tashi Dorji discovered lots of different music. But playing it wasn’t so easy. “We didn’t own amps; we didn’t even know how to acquire one,” he says of his various short-lived high school bands. “A friend of mine had to build one. We had a cover band that played everything from classic rock to Nirvana to hair metal. Anything we heard, we wanted to play.”

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Steel Strings and Wood: A Guide to American Primitive Music

Gwenifer Raymond

Photo from Gwenifer Raymond’s You Never Were Much Of A Dancer

“It’s uncluttered music,” says concert promoter and WFMU DJ Jeff Conklin of the musical movement dubbed “American primitive.” And that’s probably as good a description as any.

Based on fingerstyle acoustic guitar playing, “American Primitive” got its name from the movement’s forefather, the underground guitar hero John Fahey. It’s the tag he invented for the sounds he started making with 1959’s flag on the moon, Blind Joe Death. As the ’60s wore on, the style came to include artists like Leo Kottke, Robbie Basho, Peter Walker, and Sandy Bull, some of whose careers Fahey kickstarted via his Takoma label.

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Bandcamp Hidden Gems: Mia Loucks, “Sister Honey Demos”

Mia Loucks

In our new series Hidden Gems, writers share their favorite Bandcamp discoveries.

Phoenix-based Related Records bills itself as a home for all things “weirdo” and “odd-ball.” Neither of those appellations seem like a good fit for Mia Loucks, the label’s most enigmatic act. A singer-songwriter with a hushed voice and an easy grace with her guitar, she’s released a handful of tapes and a music video. Biographical details about her are scant; online sleuthing turns up one IMDb composer credit and her academic background as a student of the Master of Arts in Biotechs at Loyola Marymount University. Not much else is known about Loucks; she lets her wispy, compelling songs do all the talking.

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Aaron Hodges Channels Family History in New Doom-Folk Project Kin Hana

Kin Hana

Photo by Janie Hodges

Musician-composer Aaron Hodges was already preoccupied with writing songs about ancestry when he started releasing dark, droning experimental folk under the name Longshoreman in 2015. Strangely, though, he hadn’t yet looked too deeply into an outlandish chapter from his own family history, an incident that had occurred over 80 years prior. Hodges’s great-grandfather Kin Hana had landed in San Francisco on a boat from his native Japan and decided to stay. Eventually, he made his way across the country and settled in the Adirondack region of New York state, where he opened a roadside restaurant on Route 9 in Au Sable, a town where alcohol trafficking was popular during Prohibition.

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