All The Best New Indie Music From This Week

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 new music from Brittany Howard, Björk, Guided By Voices, My Morning Jacket, and more.

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Tozcos – Infernal

From Adolescents to T.S.O.L., Orange County was a punk rock haven in the late seventies and early eighties. Tozcos, a hardcore four-piece formed in 2013, are in conversation not only with hardcore’s lineage in Orange County, but they’re also forging their own path within its current punk landscape. Tozcos’ sophomore album, Infernal, is an urgent missive on what the band describes on their Bandcamp page as the “perception of ourselves and the world around us.” That may be ambiguous, but Infernal feels tactile and immediate. Highlights like the incendiary centerpiece “Regeneracion,” the headbang-worthy breakdown in the middle of “Ojos Muertos,” and K Lo’s nimble basslines on lead single “Presos” foreground a largely underground band. Diving into Tozcos’ smoldering inferno is like stumbling upon a hidden punk heaven.

Dylan Baldi – On The Way To Vesuvius

Cloud Nothings are perhaps best known for their brand of inflammatory, punk-inflected indie rock. When frontman Dylan Baldi screams “I thought I would be more than this” in the classic Attack On Memory cut “Wasted Days,” the combination of punishing drums and excoriating guitars underline the ferocity. Baldi, on his surprise-released new EP, On The Way To Vesuvius, eschews aggression in lieu of meandering noise experiments. Meeting the middle point between drone, noise rock, and ambient, Baldi’s solo EP is an engaging exercise in textural sonics. The fuzzy haze of “Morning Rounder” and the sputtering distortion all over “Hazy Summer Alley With Flowers” pinpoint Baldi as a talented instrumentalist, someone with an ability to elicit a wide gamut of sounds out of just a few instruments.

Brittany Howard – “Red Flags”

Brittany Howard toes a fine line between indie rock, funk, and gospel. On her 2019 solo debut album, Jaime, she worked with virtuosic musicians like jazz-fusion drummer Nate Smith and Alabama Shakes bassist Zac Cockrell, creating memorable tunes like “Goat Head” and “13th Century Metal.” She has been painstakingly quiet ever since, but Howard will return with her formidable sophomore record, What Now, early next year. On the hypnotic grooves of “What Now” and the syncopated rhythms dotting “Red Flags,” the Shakes’ frontwoman makes another compelling case for her inarguable prowess.

Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy – “Keeping Secrets Will Destroy You”

Earlier this year, Will Oldham, the indie-folk singer-songwriter also known as Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, released the tender and enchanting Keeping Secrets Will Destroy You, his first solo album since 2019. Now, he’s sharing the title track, which didn’t appear on the album proper. It’s exactly six minutes long, yet there are only a handful of words. Each one hits like a hammer, but they’re sung as gently as a lullaby: “See, keeping secrets will destroy you / And how can I grow old / If I don’t know?”

Björk and Rosalía – “Oral”

Björk’s latest single, a team-up with Spanish pop behemoth Rosalía and producer Sega Bodega, was excavated from the depths of her catalog. Between the releases for Homogenic and Vespertine, the Icelandic auteur wrote “Oral,” but she could never find a suitable home for it. Now, however, it’s finally seeing the light of day. Nothing is arbitrary for Björk, though; the single’s release fights against factory fish farming, which has polluted Iceland’s idyllic fjords. The track’s sweeping sense of yearning feels prescient, as the dueling vocalists remain optimistic about the environmental future without yielding to status quo complacency.

Guided By Voices – Nowhere To Go But Up

These dudes simply do not stop. Looking at a list of Guided By Voices’ discography will almost certainly induce an acute case of sensory overload. Robert Pollard and his crew have already dropped two full-length albums this year: La La Land and Welshpool Frillies. That’s on top of hosting a weekend-long celebration for the 40th anniversary of the group in Dayton, Ohio, inviting friends like Built To Spill, Dinosaur Jr, and Wednesday along for the fun. With Nowhere To Go But Up, Guided By Voices pull off their 2023 LP hat trick. The album title succinctly sums up the band’s trajectory. Here’s to another fruitful decade of GBV.

The Japanese House – ITEIAD Sessions

As The Japanese House, Amber Bain crafts sleek, elastic synth-pop that marries syncopated grooves, introspective contemplation, and snappy hooks. That was largely the case with this summer’s In The End It Always Does, The Japanese House’s second album. ITEIAD Sessions mostly discards the shiny production for something more humanistic. Featuring an ABBA cover and live versions of several cuts from her latest LP, Bain’s new EP adds another layer of depth to her nuanced songs of heartbreak.

Body/Negative – “Sleepy”

Bruce Springsteen initially recorded Nebraska with the intent of taking his mournful, sparse demos to the E Street Band. As the legend goes, he instead opted for the demos themselves for their dark yet alluring intimacy. Body/Negative, the project of multi-instrumentalist Andy Schiaffino, mainly recorded their third album, Everett, on a tape recorder, and its small scale makes its sprawling textures feel vast by contrast. “Sleepy,” a collaboration with Midwife and the album’s final single, is a microcosm of Schiaffino’s delicate compositions. Piano notes ring out across empty space like stars dotting a galaxy, the spaces in between carrying just as much weight as the melody itself.

Health – “Demigods”

Rat Wars, the forthcoming fifth album from industrial rockers Health, anoints the Los Angeles trio as leaders of the subgenre’s latest wave. With an ear for immersive sonics, mechanistic grit, and heavy-hitting breakdowns, Health know exactly what they’re doing. The nearly six-minute epic “Demigods” encompasses all three of those modes, as the band shifts from a reverb-drenched intro to a crunchy guitar progression with pummeling drums, only to revert back to an atmospheric section with Jake Duzsik’s airy vocals. As an album opener, “Demigods” perfectly encapsulates Health’s multitudes.

My Morning Jacket — Happy Holiday!

The holiday season is just around the corner, and indie fans will likely be bumping Christmas music from artists like Sufjan Stevens and Low. Add My Morning Jacket to that list, as the Louisville band released a physical version of Happy Holiday!. It includes the five original tracks from the 2013 digital version and three new songs; there’s even a “snow version” of Circuital cut “Wonderful (The Way I Feel).” On these nine jolly tunes, Jim James and co. transform into My Merry Jacket.

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