New Weird America was basically a sub-genre of the catch-all indie folk, that actually caught on globally (see also New Weird Finland). It built on the psych and free folk movements of the 60s and 70s that were particularly strong in the UK.
There are some pretty straight down the line singer-songwriters who make the cut of this genre (Devendra Banhart who was central to it, was comparatively sedate and harmonious in his early output). But there are also artists who bring the aesthetics of psych, noise rock and white noise into their sound, creating a new and more challenging experience under the ‘folk’ aegis. I’m particularly thinking of bands like Six Organs of Admittance, Charalambides, Sun City Girls, Sunburned Hand of the Man and Bardo Pond.
It’s quite tempting to see the genre as a kind of companion to the huge Alt-Country scene that was big at around the same time (around the noughties era), but with a few notable exceptions, there was a lot more experimentation and originality in the freak folk scene. Perhaps it’s more like The Folk Implosion’s relationship to the John Spencer Blues Explosion…
This playlist refreshes every day for a new selection of artists performing freak folk and related genres.