Swimming Bell

Swimming Bell takes wonderfully cosmic soundscapes on U.S. tour

Swimming Bell is an artist that seems to be in sync with the universe, and on "Desert Song (a lullaby)," she stitches an intricate tapestry of folksy, ambient soundscapes. Every sprawling atmospheric drone feels perfectly aligned with the subdued, yet colorful guitar production. Heavenly vocals feel less like falsetto for the sake of falsetto and more like the meditative channeling of ideas bigger than all of us. A song this packed with ideas could feel pretentious, but it ends with a staticy broadcast of an entirely different song, as if the listener just happened to tune in at the right time to take a serendiptous walk through the cosmos. Swimming Bell just started her U.S. tour in California but will be performing at New York's Trans-Pecos on Nov. 3. -Tucker Pennington

   

Great New Emerging NYC Folk: Swimming Bell, Thelma, Pueblo, Hayes Peebles and Swoon Lake

Once again, 2017 was a year of experiments in modern folk music. Two NYC acts that pushed the boundaries of the genre and further defined the slightly fuzzy definition of neo-folk were Swimming Bell and Thelma. “The Golden Heart,” the former’s debut EP, carved fresh arrangements and harmonic material out of familiar instrumental textures. Thelma’s self-titled record meandered into darker lyrical and melodic territory, though with a consistent crystalline vocal perched atop often dissonant chords and rockier textures. That being said, Pueblo and Hayes Peebles, on the rootsier end of the spectrum, shone with stellar songwriting and nuanced arrangements, offering up an enlightening modern take on a more traditional sound. Pueblo released their flavorful record “Boring the Camera,” stirred memories of an electric Simon & Garfunkel. Hayes Peebles’ “Ghosts EP” offered breathtaking melodies with lush, sentient lyrics, while peppering in a twangy guitar or two. We also really enjoyed Swoon Lake's lush ballads from her sophomore self-titled EP, although the artist doesn't seem to be very active live. - Geena Kloeppel

Here's a playlist with a song each from these five artists. 

   

Swimming Bell releases "The Golden Heart" EP, plays Pete's Candy Store tomorrow (10.07)

Katie Schottland played in several bands before embarking on her own solo project under the moniker Swimming Bell. Her debut EP The Golden Heart is a reflection, a reverberous voice in the dark, framed by picked guitar and wistful percussive textures. For a moment, listening to "Route 72" with closed eyes, I was transported from my desk to a forest clearing on a dewy morning, birds circling above. "In these times of stolen dreams / how could I know you well?" sings Schottland, alone, later joined by harmonies that sound like the echoes of those perished dreams. The simpler "September on Dekalb" is a lo-fi midnight confession, a love letter forgotten in a coat pocket. Swimming Bell takes you somewhere quieter, in a gorgeous, unperturbed manner. Catch her live at Pete's Candy Store on October 7th. - Geena Kloeppel