The Playlist: Aldous Harding

It's rare for a musician to have the ability to transport you instantly; to be able to silence a room with the very first note they play. Aldous Harding is one of those musicians.

I discovered the New Zealand folk singer when my housemates, folk noir duo Jep and Dep, supported her set at The Vanguard recently. Her voice is instantly beguiling – comparable to Julia Stone, or Joanna Newsom perhaps, but much earthier.

Her debut eponymous album is melancholic and gothic, opening with the heartbreaking 'Stop Your Tears', which references small domestic details as naturally as it does dark gothic imagery. The album continues in an austere, fairytale-like manner; all strange beasts and brave hunters, and trying to find peace in a world of dusky metaphors.

By all accounts Harding was determined not to follow in her musician parents' footsteps, but came round to songwriting at the age of 15 anyway. A few years later, the story goes, she was busking on a pavement in Geraldine NZ to earn enough money to attend an Anika Moa gig when Moa herself walked past and ended up inviting her to open the show. It's not an implausible story at all when you hear Harding's voice and the way she writes songs. Anyone would want her supporting their set (and then ruling the stage in a headline tour).

Now she is getting a name for herself, having recently toured Europe and returned to the Southern Hemisphere for gigs in Australia. You have to try and see her. Or listen to the album via the link below. Happy (solemn) listening!


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• The Playlist: FKA Twigs

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