Alt Folk Artist the last optimist offers emotionally subtle album, ‘seed, water, sun’ brimming with ethereal power
Alternative Folk Artist the last optimist uses his music as a tool for awakening on new release “seed water sun”, an album both emotionally subtle and brimming with ethereal power. In the past, his artistic output has been often referred to as ‘sad folk’, but really, it’s better described as radically self-aware, vulnerable to the beautiful and unforgiving aspects of the human experience.
Raised on the DIY folk punk activism influences of Ani Difranco and Fugazi, it’s easy to see how the last optimist forged his own strong-willed and wholly original path, pairing indie rock with emo folk, social activism with transcendentalism, trauma with solace, dissonance with poetry. Big Takeover Magazine once praised the multi-instrumentalist and activist, saying “Markus “has carved out a niche with a unique delivery and down-to-earth lyricism that is entirely his own” and “is sure to help find comfort and solace for many listeners.”
Following on the heels of 2 stripped down albums (‘make it alright with grace,‘ and ‘this moment is gone’) the last optimist’s new LP ‘seed water sun’ is full and rich with the intricate instrumental tapestry of producer Doug Kwartler and the transcendent vocals of Danielle Pinals.
Markus comments on the inspiration behind this profound new collection of songs: “This has been a year of alchemy. Turning challenging times into poetry, poetry into song verse, guitar plucking into orchestration, and hard experience into resilience. ‘Seed Water Sun’ is the soundtrack for that rough ride of human experience in 2023 with moments of rage and sadness resolved by the salve, the antidote, and the solace that we are all searching for. The album spans the age old influences of Leonard Cohen, Tom Waits, and the transcendentalists while embracing the future sounds heralded in by Phoebe Bridgers, Julian Baker, and Finnegan Tui. When the end of the World seems upon us – the last of the optimists water the flowers. I hope you find some of yourself in the new songs.”
Listeners can expect a complex and harmonious union of syncopated instrumentation, all in the service of deeply meaningful concepts and lyricism. After all, the last optimist is on a personal music to ‘raise up those who want to make this world a better place despite the ever daunting days before us ~ seed, water, soil, sun, hope, and the daily work.’
Musician Names/Instruments: Markus Belanger (Guitar, Vocals, Drums, Bass). Danielle Pinals (featured vocals for ‘bloom now sweet flower’ and ‘not a sound’) Doug Kwartler (Multi-instrumentalist including: upright bass, piano, electric guitar, drums, accordion, synths, glockenspiel, lap steel, banjo, percussion, and backup vocals).
Producer Name(s): Doug Kwartler, Hollow Body Studios, Chelmsford MA
Track list: seed water sun (LP)
not a sound (feat. Danielle Pinals)
only two ways out
bloom now sweet flower (feat. Danielle Pinals)
shame you left me
hermit in the maples
one night in Belfast
love is like a simile
a thousand clover leaves
on Monkton ridge
Official Website: www.lastoptimist.com
Youtube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/@thelastoptimist
Apple Music: https://music.apple.com/us/artist/the-last-optimist/1562920829
Amazon Music: https://music.amazon.com/artists/B092LBK373/the-last-optimist
Raised on the DIY folk punk activism influences of Ani Difranco and Fugazi, Markus got his musical start in the emocore band ‘Stricken for Catherine,’ releasing 2 albums in the mid 90s. As the grunge era wound down, Markus turned to folk music forming ‘In Search of a Redheaded Fiddler’ which broke out at the Northern Rocky Mountain Folk Festival opening for Sam Bush. Markus’ newest project, ‘The last optimist [?]’ is an anomaly, pairing indie rock with emo folk, social activism with transcendentalism, trauma with solace, dissonance with poetry. Following on the heels of 2 stripped down albums (‘make it alright with grace,’ and ‘this moment is gone’) the last optimist’s new LP ‘seed water sun’ is full and rich with the intricate instrumental tapestry of producer Doug Kwartler and the transcendent vocals of Danielle Pinals.
The Big Takeover: Markus “has carved out a niche with a unique delivery and down-to-earth lyricism that is entirely his own” and “is sure to help find comfort and solace for many listeners.” by Cody Conard (July 1, 2022)
OnStage Magazine: “Championing a heart-on-the-sleeve subgenre known as Sad Folk.” by Kath Galasso (June 13, 2022)
Obscure Sound: “Empathy is hard to access when we can’t possibly imagine what something really feels like – but music can do that for us.” Interview with Mike Mineo (July 5, 2022)
Living Life Fearless: “How can you work under the moniker The Last Optimist and at the same time champion a sub-genre that some critics call ‘sad folk?” by Ljubinko Zivkovic (May 2022)
For Folk’s Sake: “Sad folk’ songwriter, poet, and activist Markus Belanger is the Last Optimist – a moniker that he had conjured during dark times for the globe.” by Jonathan Frahm (June 17, 2022)
Tattoo.com: “Opening on a tender, glittering acoustic guitar topped by Markus’ evocative voice – the harmonic flow shifts with the entry of a dark rhythmic component, taking on the desperate colors of a panic attack.” by Randall Radic (June 2022)
The Farsighted: “The Last Optimist crafts indie folk flavored singer-songwriter fare that’s unique, extremely well written, and quirky.” By the painted man in Music (July 13, 2022)
Raised By Cassettes: “In the world today, it’s tough to be an optimist – but not only is The Last Optimist offering up some hope here, there is a sense of being able to listen to this EP as a distraction, to forget about that outside world for a bit. While it won’t make your problems go away, it can help to ease your mind and perhaps see them a little bit differently.” By Joshua Macala, (July 14, 2022)