The Boot’s Weekly Picks: Aybil, Hurray for the Riff Raff and More
Every week, The Boot highlights recent favorites from country, Americana, folk and everything in between. In every list, you'll find picks from our contributing team that we think you'll love. Keep reading to check out the latest installment of The Boot's Weekly Picks.
Aybil unpacks centuries of racial persecution against Black Americans on this haunting track, a bare-bones arrangement of vocal harmonies and acoustic guitar backing. "When the bullets have flown, will this still feel like home?" she asks balefully as the rhythm slides backwards -- rewinding the clock to consider history itself through sound. -- Annie Parnell
Hurray for the Riff Raff"WOLVES"
This expansive opener to the New Orleans-based Americana band's newest album Life On Earth sets the tone for a genre-interrogating study of immigration, escapism, and identity. Calling in influences from synth-pop to the cultural palette of the American South, frontperson Alynda Segarra coils their voice around the track's cyclical lyrics, urgently repeating the refrain "run, babe, you know how to run." -- Annie Parnell
Dan Reeder"Everything Changed"
Dan Reeder continues his experiments in layering and AutoTune in this self-contained consideration of relationships and intimacy. Returning to the narrative arc of a nighttime car conversation that he explored in 2021's "The Best Conversations," he focuses on the frightening vulnerability of opening up, a "cold gust of wind" that hits suddenly and changes everything. -- Annie Parnell
Brontë Fall"Beyond the Rain"
"Beyond the Rain" was written about the experience singer-songwriter Teri Bracken, known under the moniker Brontë Fall, had in the aftermath of the 2020 Nashville tornado. The video, which was co-directed by Kelsey Kopecky, complements the experience with a Wizard of Oz-inspired tale. -- Blake Ells
Big Thief"Dried Roses"
This cozy acoustic track from Big Thief's sprawling new double album relishes the sweetness of domesticity. Dwelling in heartwarming imagery from an unmade bed to the way her partner takes her tea, frontwoman Adrianne Lenker considers the joy of building a relationship and a home in poetically-simple phrases, ultimately concluding "goodness her, goodness me / goodness eternity." -- Annie Parnell
Payton Howie"Break My Own Heart"
“I put the ‘jay’ in jaded,” Payton Howie declares in the opening line of “Break My Own Heart,” a snarling pop-rock number that sounds like what might be created if Paramore took a stab at a country song. The track appears on Youngblood, Howie's newly released 5-track EP that offers commercial country with an edge. -- Will Groff
Lilly Hart"Drive Slow"
Lilly Hart is a freshman guard on the Birmingham-Southern Women's Basketball team who grew up in Lilburn, Ga. On each of her songs, including "Drive Slow," she supplies vocals reminiscent of what pop star Olivia Rodrigo might sound like if she came from a small Georgia town. -- Blake Ells
“Here comes the sad part,” Hailey Whitters announces in the chorus of “The Neon,” the second single off her upcoming album Raised. Like the gloomier cuts off The Dream — Whitters’ 2020 breakthrough — “The Neon” finds the singer oscillating between despondency and detachment. “All of our dreams out the window, I guess,” she sighs in the first verse, sounding apathetic even in the fact of heartbreak. -- Will Groff
Ren Lawton"Today Today Tomorrow"
“Today Today Tomorrow,” the title track from UK-based folk artist Ren Lawton’s debut album, is a gently arranged reverie that finds the singer sifting through an abstract array of thoughts and memories. “Today, today today / Today and tomorrow/ Is yesterday’s news,” Lawton sings in the opening lines, a clever construction that, like the song itself, collapses somewhere between the past, present and future. -- Will Groff
Sylvia Rose Novak"Man I Used to Be"
Sylvia Rose Novak is laying down her fiddle down and branching out of her outlaw country-leaning sound to make a rock record. Her influences have always leaned deeply into emo sounds of the early 00s, and that shines through on "Man I Used to Be," the first track from her forthcoming record. -- Blake Ells