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    Soft Cat - "When It Breaks"

    Hometown: Baltimore, Maryland Album: Lost No Labor

    The pastoral stillness that Baltimore's Soft Cat channel into winding, unconventional tracks is an element not often found in modern releases. The ability to turn a landscape into sound—to represent the countryside with a song—is a skill and a concept that has passed out of fashion. As society becomes progressively urban, there's less space for reflection, and less beauty to reflect upon. A single to listen to Lost No Labor by Soft Cat erases those cares. The extensive use of instruments and softly sung phonic syllables reflects an interest in the lullabye-like facet of folk, a nearly nonsensical study of sonics meant to soothe and relax. This band is relatively unknown, but with a lithe, comforting sound like the one they've developed, they won't be unknown for long. Their obscurity certainly hasn't stopped them from making some of the best folk music that's come out so far this year.