Indie music has grown to include so much. It’s not just music that is released on independent labels, but speaks to an aesthetic that deviates from the norm and follows its own weirdo heart. It can come in the form of rock music, pop, or folk. In a sense, it says as much about the people that are drawn to it as it does about the people that make it.
Every week, Uproxx is rounding up the very best of the indie releases from the past seven days. This week we got a surprise from Bon Iver, mysterious new tracks from Big Thief, and another great taste of the new Jay Som record.
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Bon Iver — i,i
We didn’t expect a new Bon Iver album until the end of the month, but Justin Vernon and co. went ahead and surprised us with a digital release of i,i three weeks early. Hey, I’m not complaining. Clocking in at just under 40 minutes (a perfect run time if there was one), i,i encompasses all of the things that made Bon Iver great, while pushing forward down the path of glitchy, experimental rock music that was likely created specifically for Bon Iver’s upcoming arena tour — their largest headlining shows to date.
By the end of the record, there comes an understanding that “the world might be a scary place, but there are still sounds and feelings that can put us all in the same headspace, if only for the duration of a rock show,” writes Steven Hyden for Uproxx. “Justin Vernon wants i,i to put you in that frame of mind. He decided to come to us this time.”
Why? — AOKOHIO
What started as the solo project of Yoni Wolf, Why? has evolved into something of an enigma in the indie scene, combining elements of underground hip-hop, avant garde pop, and garage rock. In the nearly two decades since his first release, the Cincinnati artist has released a steady flow of music under the name Why? that is equal parts enticing and intriguing. With nineteen tracks to its name, AOKOHIO is presented as six “movements,” with some entries that last no longer than a few seconds. It’s really fun and feels different from most anything that is being released these days.
Infinity Crush — Virtual Heaven
Throughout Virtual Heaven, Caroline White’s sophomore effort under the name Infinity Crush, she blurs the lines between fantasy and reality, while confronting instances of moral conflict that seem to arise on a near-constant basis in today’s world. Don’t worry, the music is actually more pleasant than its concept. “White’s vocals are divine and devastating, floating about a bed of instrumentation that somehow uses sound to build worlds,” I wrote in Infinity Crush’s Indie Mixtape 20 Q&A. All told, Virtual Heaven is a beautiful gift.