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.
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Liquid Mike – Paul Bunyan’s Slingshot
In Gladstone, Michigan, there’s a bizarre landmark known as Paul Bunyan’s Slingshot. It’s something that Michigander Mike Maple, the ringleader behind power-poppers Liquid Mike, wanted to name his band’s fifth album after. An hour away in the isolated Marquette, which sits at the northern edge of the mitten, Maple pays homage to the state’s topography and his own quotidian experiences in rippers like “Town Ease,” “USPS,” and “K2.” With 13 songs speeding by in a brisk 25 minutes, Paul Bunyan’s Slingshot is the kind of album that demands to be replayed over and over again.
Hovvdy – “Forever”
A 19-song double album would sound like an overwhelming undertaking for most artists. But then again, most artists aren’t Hovvdy. The duo comprising longtime friends and songwriters Will Taylor and Charlie Martin has built its name on lived-in tunes that exude the warmth of a backyard fireplace with s’mores to spare. That’s what makes the prospect of their self-titled album such an inviting one. As singles like “Bubba” and “Jean” show, each Hovvdy song is its own contained world, vignettes that offer glimpses into the close companionship Martin and Taylor share. “Forever,” their new single that comes with the album announcement, plays like a microcosm of Hovvdy’s appeal: skittering drum machines, Texas drawl, endearing lyrics, acoustic guitars, and, of course, those sweet, sweet vocal harmonies.
Pond – “Neon River”
Australian psych-rock group Pond have been making music for well over a decade now, and they’ve made a lot of it, too. They have nine studio albums to their name, with the most recent entry being the simply titled 9. Although they haven’t announced a full-length follow-up to hit those double-digit discography numbers, they’ve just released a new single, “Neon River.” Like the best Pond songs, it’s brimming with fuzzed-out guitar tones, bombastic drumming, and alluring sonic trickery.
Paramore – “Burning Down The House”
Let the Talking Heads celebration continue. Last year saw the re-release of the best concert film of all time, 1984’s Jonathan Demme-directed Stop Making Sense, this time on IMAX courtesy of entertainment company A24. Starting it off with Paramore’s cover of Speaking In Tongues opener “Burning Down The House,” A24 is putting out the covers compilation Everyone’s Getting Involved: A Tribute To Talking Heads’ Stop Making Sense. There isn’t a release date yet, but they’re not kidding; everyone is getting involved, including The National, Toro Y Moi, The Linda Lindas, and many, many more. Paramore’s cover of the classic tune is an impressively faithful recreation, as front-woman Hayley Williams summons David Byrne’s ebullient delivery and multi-instrumentalist Taylor York and drummer Zac Farro deliver a locked-in, tight performance that’d make Talking Heads’ iconic rhythm section, Tina Weymouth and Chris Frantz, proud.
Sega Bodega – “Deer Teeth”
Salvador Navarrete has a lot of cool friends, to say the least. Under the alias Sega Bodega, he has worked with everyone from indie-pop songwriter Caroline Polachek to art-rocker Björk. The electronic artist has a new album on the way, but details about it have been few and far between. In the meantime, though, he has recently shared “Deer Teeth,” a clubby tune that’s perfect for a dance floor or a late-night car ride. If the upcoming record is anything like “Deer Teeth,” then there is plenty to be excited about.
Dehd – “Mood Ring”
Within the first few moments of “Mood Ring,” it’s hard to believe it’s Dehd, the Chicago trio that garnered acclaim through surf rock-adjacent riffs and dueling vocals courtesy of bassist Emily Kempf and guitarist Jason Balla. On “Mood Ring,” the bass blasts out in a fury of distortion, interspersed with frenetic drum fills from Eric McGrady. It’s simple yet noisy, and it marks an exciting new direction for Dehd. They’ve expanded their inner circle, with Balla handing over some production duties to Whitney’s Ziyad Asrar, but their new song, “Mood Ring” remains unmistakably Dehd. Drawing inspiration from Charles Bukowski’s poem “The Laughing Heart,” the band lives by its ethos: “Your life is your life. Know it while you have it.” On their new single, Dehd sound wonderfully alive.
Ibibio Sound Machine – “Got To Be Who U Are”
“Got To Be Who U Are,” the new single from the English electronic band Ibibio Sound Machine, begins with an mbira passage. It’s quiet and entrancing, but mere moments later, the track opens up with funky FM synth bass and an insistent disco beat. As the lead single for their upcoming album, Pull The Rope, “Got To Be Who U Are” is an enticing first glimpse. Vocalist Eno Williams pays tribute to various areas in her hometown of Lagos, such as Surulere, Isale Eko, Ikoyi, and Yaba. She issues them like a manifesto in the chorus, before declaring the phrase that gives the song its name: “got to be who you are.”
Orbital – “Tonight In Belfast”
Optical Delusion, the tenth album from the English electronic duo Orbital, came out just last year, but brothers Phil and Paul Hartnoll are already back with new music. Their bewitching new single, “Tonight In Belfast,” mashes up David Holmes’ remix of Orbital’s classic song “Belfast” with street poet Mike Garry’s “Tonight.” Just a couple of months away from the reissue of their debut album, “Tonight In Belfast” is a celebration of the two brothers’ storied musical journey.
Camera Obscura – “Big Love”
One of the predominant sounds within indie rock for the past couple of years has been alt-country, as exemplified by zeitgeisty artists like Wednesday, Waxahatchee, and Big Thief. The Glaswegian band Camera Obscura is the latest to adopt the trend and maybe the first of their stature to do so outside of the States. “Big Love,” the lead single of their first LP in over a decade, proves that they are more than adept at interpreting the trend through their own style. Following keyboardist Carey Lander’s death from bone cancer in 2015, Camera Obscura took some time to grieve. Now, they’re ready to return with Look To The East, Look To The West, and it’s a joy to have them back.
Teethe – “Thanks”
Later this month, the Texas slowcore outfit Teethe will reissue their 2020 eponymous debut. Still, there’s some new music coming from them, too. Alongside that reissue, they’re sharing a 7” of three new songs, and one of them is the brief yet beautiful “Thanks,” a track that highlights the importance of gratitude. Its relaxed acoustic guitar strums imply a sense of patience despite its minute-long runtime. When it’s over, you’ll want to rewind it and catch all the details you may have missed, reinforcing the song’s message of slowing down to appreciate your surroundings.
Paramore is a Warner Music artist. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.