Angelo De Augustine – “How Past Begins” (Stereogum Premiere)

The first thing you think about when you encounter Angelo De Augustine’s music will probably be Elliott Smith, and understandably so: It’s whispery, gorgeously fragile lo-fi acoustic music from the West Coast. If you’re a fan of the gentler side of the loosely defined “freak folk” movement of 10 years ago — think Sufjan Stevens’ soft prayer Seven Swans, Devendra Banhart at his most trembling, or even José González circa Veneer — “How Past Begins” will probably transport you to some tingling bygone moment. And really, this sort of thing always leads back to Nick Drake, doesn’t it?

Despite his obvious influences, De Augustine, a 22-year-old singer-songwriter from LA, is way too talented to be dismissed as a musical sycophant. He writes and performs with an assurance that belies his quivering delivery, so much so that he seems capable of leveling a city block with nothing but a weary sigh. In bedroom-recorded debut Spirals Of Silence, De Augustine’s got a whole arsenal of sublimely beautiful lo-fi folk lullabies at his disposal. Every generation needs songwriters of this ilk, and very few of them are operating at such a high level right now. Get familiar below.

Spirals Of Silence is out 11/18.