You Folk - Winnowing
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YOU FOLK deliver a beautiful mixture of alt indie and emo shoegaze in their new track “Winnowing”

4 mins read

Drawing influences from tonal qualities of shoegaze and dream-pop, but makig the energy more upbeat and aggressive than their first LP The Foil (2018), the new single from Chicago based YOU FOLK advertises a noteworthy record of many shades. Tackling the subject of social circles shrinking with age, the track marks the first forerunner of the band’s second LP, which the band will be working on in the next several months. 

You Folk is a five-piece Chicago-based band that takes cues from artists like Broken Social Scene, Pedro the Lion, and Pygmy Lush. What started as a solo project for vocalist/guitarist Daniel Lee (also ofscreamo band RESTE), quickly became a full band effort flanked by guitarist Bryan Kingsley (Dead Sun, Reste), bassist Rebecca Young (Reste, ex-Indisposed), keyboardist Evan Lyman, and drummer Harry Rivera.

For fans of: Slowdive, The Appleseed Cast, and American Football.

Winnowing” was written and recorded back in late 2019. “The mixing process kind of fell into limbo as the band did, but our guitarist Bryan was able to get it back up and running and finish it over these last few months.” – says the band.

“The lyrics are about how social circles tend to shrink as we age. Most of my close friends are in their late twenties and early thirties, so it’s a bit of a reflection on how social dynamics at this age contrast with your early and mid twenties, when people tend to have more free time and less responsibilities and commitments. The verses form a narrative about being invited to the wedding of a friend you’ve more or less fallen out of touch with, and wondering if you were invited because they still think of you as a close friend, or if the invitation was more of a formality (i.e. they were invited to your wedding a few years back, so they wanted to reciprocate). The chorus contemplates what made you and your old friend close in a previous phase of life, and considers that maybe without those former circumstances, you just don’t have enough in common to be as close as you once were.”

“As a side-note, there was some unexpected irony with the lyrics in that they were written pre-covid, but a lot of friends who’ve recently heard the song say they thought it was written about the pandemic, and the struggles of quarantine life. A lot of the lines in the song (like “we’ll rally again once next blue moon comes through”, and “we set up shelter in frigid adjacent boxes, perfecting the art of minding our own damn business”) are about the tendency to grow more isolated as you age, but it makes sense that they can be interpreted as being covid-related, as we’ve all been pretty isolated these last several months of the pandemic.”

You Folk - Winnowing
YOU FOLK by Jim Vondruska

2020 was a strange year for most of the band and YOU FOLK are no exception. “Primarily because of the pandemic, the band itself was put on hold, and for a while we weren’t sure if we’d ever do anything again as the five of us.” – comments the babd. “Most notably, our drummer Harry had to move back to Puerto Rico, as the pandemic kept complicating his job situation here in the states. For a while, I thought I’d maybe just keep the name “You Folk” and start fresh as a more minimal solo project, as the idea of long-distance collaboration just felt too daunting. However, as more time passed, I really missed the writing dynamic the five of us had, and wanted to make more music together, despite the obvious logistical obstacles in place. We’ll be working, albeit slowly but surely, on a second LP these next several months, and feel like “Winnowing” is a good indicator of the direction we want to take it in.

Stylistically speaking, for Winnowing, YOU FOLK wanted to take tonal qualities of more shoegaze/dream-pop type influences, but make the energy more upbeat and aggressive. “Our first LP is a little more laid back in terms of energy, and after a couple years of playing the songs at shows, we wanted to add songs to our live roster that would be more upbeat and fun to play.”

Here’s a little playlist of influences for Winnowing, and the upcoming second LP:

For even more inspirations, we asked YOU FOLK to take us through bands they have played with and bands they have known for a while that they wanted to recommend people check out:

Typist – Lowkey and minimal, but intricately-layered and contemplative. FFO: The Microphones, The Album Leaf, (older) Modest Mouse

Llyn – Champaign-area fellows (half of You Folk used to live there). We played these guys’ album release show back in February, and it was a blast. FFO: Turnover, Balance and Composure, The Sea & Cake

Nature’s Neighbor – Mike is an incredibly talented songwriter, and made a guest appearance on our first album. FFO: Anathallo, Neil Young, Broken Social Scene

Kagami Smile – Epic soundscapes, dark and cerebral

Highdiver – Ambient and spacey guitar-work with a punchy and aggressive backbone.

Whuzy – Feel-good, dreamy tunes. We played with them in Elgin early last year, they’re a lot of fun live.

Close Kept – Chicago-area buddies of our’s, honest and sincere songwriting.

Marshall Bonnes – A mix of folk, ambient, and experimental elements. FFO: Kevin Drew, Silver Mt Zion, Ugly Casanova

Origami Button – Technical, energetic, and catchy. Easily one of the most fun local bands we saw last year.

Rotting in Dirt – Their vocalist Travis used to play guitar in You Folk– aggressive and mathy hardcore tunes.

Brady – Chicago shoegaze folks with a hint of 90’s emo, unafraid to flex its heavy side

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