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 best new indie music from the past seven days. This week we got the another new Bright Eyes track from their forthcoming comeback album, an epic live track from Japandroids, and the long-awaited new solo album from Christian Lee Hutson.
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Christian Lee Hutson — Beginners
While you might not know his name, you probably know Christian Lee Hutson’s music. As a longtime Phoebe Bridgers collaborator and touring member of Better Oblivion Community Center, his work has regularly appeared on this best new music list. Hutson’s latest solo album Beginners is a mostly sparse affair, with intimate storytelling that offers a glimpse into Hutson’s life atop gorgeous instrumentals and vocal melodies.
2nd Grade — Hit To Hit
The debut album from this Philadelphia supergroup delivers on the promise of its lineup, with a collection of impressive lo-fi power pop tracks. With many of the tracks lasting less than two minutes, it makes the 22-song effort (!!) feel continually fresh and full of inspiration. Once touring resumes, 2nd Grade is a band not to miss.
Varsity — Fine Forever
On their new album, this Chicago quintet wanted to experiment with a sound that was a little more danceable. Fine Forever finds the band striking a perfect balance between the guitar-driven indie rock of their previous efforts with a bold new step forward toward a beautiful power pop dance party.
Died — Less Life
The debut full-length from Brooklyn’s Died balances nostalgia for the grunge scene with a fresh new approach. Only eight tracks, Less Life features some tracks that sound like the best of Sonic Youth, while others have a heavier edge that toes the line between metal and hardcore. All told, Less Life makes Died one of the most exciting new bands we’ve heard this year.
Bright Eyes — “One And Done”
With their first album since 2011 on the horizon (though it still lacks an official release date), Bright Eyes have been steadily sharing new music that reminds us exactly what we loved about them in the first place. “The contemplative and apocalyptic song (which was written before the current global situation) tells the story of a singer in the midst of what appears to be the final days of life as humanity knows it,” writes Derrick Rossignol for Uproxx. Conor Oberst has always been adept at writing to the current moment, and “One And Done” is no different.
Japandroids — “Heart Sweats” (Live)
The aptly-titled Massey F*cking Hall marks Japandroids’ first-ever live album, featuring twelve tracks that span the band’s entire 15-year career. They chose “Heart Sweats” as the album’s lead single because it is one of their most energetic songs to perform, to preview “the project’s lively sound,” according to Carolyn Droke for Uproxx.
Ben Gibbard — “Proxima B”
During his weekly livestreams, Ben Gibbard debuted a new track called “Proxima B.” Now, he has released an official recording of the song, telling a hopeful story of interstellar travel. It boasts “a driving rhythm guitar accompanied with gently crashing snares,” writes Carolyn Droke for Uproxx. “Gibbard’s soothing vocals narrate his longing to leave this world behind in hopes of finding life on a more promising planet.”
Cigarettes After Sex — “You’re All I Want”
Last year, Cigarettes After Sex dropped their beautiful dream-pop opus Cry. The band has been quiet for the first half of 2020, but now they have shared “You’re All I Want.” A nice entry to the group’s catalogue, the track doesn’t stray too far from their typical sound or themes, featuring lyrics “about the passion in a new love,” writes Derrick Rossignol for Uproxx.
Skullcrusher — “Day Of Show”
One of the latest signings to Secretly Canadian, Skullcrusher’s new self-titled EP has been on our radar since she shared the impressive “Places/Plans.” With sparse instrumentation and vocals doused in reverb, “Day Of Show” is another impressive preview of the EP that shows that Skullcrusher is ready to make her mark on the indie scene.
Lionel Boy — “Summer Fun”
A new single from the Hawaiian native’s forthcoming Who is Dovey? EP shows what Lionel Boy does best. What starts out as a solo electric guitar builds to add percussion and synth lines that drive the track forward and showcase Lionel Boy’s impressive vocal abilities as he harmonizes with Tigers In The Sky.
Club Intl — “Crush”
Fronted by Public Access TV’s John Eatherly, Club Intl boasts cinematic synth lines that make a track like “Crush” feel perfectly suited to a film soundtrack. Perhaps that’s also the influence of producer Johnny Jewel, who served as a composer on soundtracks for films like Drive and the latest iteration of Twin Peaks. “Crush” is a perfect song to throw on as you’re driving down an empty country road, maybe with someone sticking their head out of the sunroof (don’t try this at home).
Some artists covered here are Warner Music artists. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.