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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Foo Fighters — “Show Me How”
The third single from the forthcoming Foo Fighters album But Here We Are is an obvious change in their sound. “Show Me How” is a shoegaze earworm, seemingly confronting the tragic passing of drummer Taylor Hawkins: “Where are you now? / Who will show me how?” Dave Grohl intones with the help of his daughter Violet, whose vocals add to the hazy texture of the song.
Arlo Parks — My Soft Machine
My Soft Machine by Arlo Parks unfurls with a touching flash of intimate slam poetry against a sprawling sonic backdrop: “I wish I was bruiseless / Almost everyone I love has been abused, and I am included,” she confesses. It’s the perfect opening to a vulnerable, dreamy record. While the reckonings may be heavy, the sound is weightless and hopeful. “Devotion” is a breathtaking highlight, not hesitating to illustrate complete love in idiosyncratic, specific ways: “Shaggin’ to Deftones, glitter in my bones / Love you like I don’t know better,” she sings.
Runnner — “Bluejay”
Runnner recently released his new album Like Dying Stars, We’re Reaching Out. His pensive, disarming brand of folk is a delight. “Bluejay” captures his frequent self-consciousness in images, like looking at his phone even though he’s outside. “I know I should try and let it out,” he opens the song singing, reminding the listener that though his ballads are often overly honest, he probably is not in times where it’s most necessary.
Home Is Where — Floral Organs
Another preview of Home Is Where’s new album The Whaler is here with the new single “Floral Organ.” Unpredictable as always, the band opens the track with Christmas-like bells that lead straight into the folky emo carol. They’re frequently compared to Neutral Milk Hotel for the eccentric instrumentation, but the visceral images bring to mind Jeff Mangum as well: “Climbing trees older than anyone alive / We braid our intestines together / Spitting teeth into each other’s mouths / Back and forth until we make a smile.”
Miya Folick — Roach
Roach by Miya Folick was first teased with the upbeat anthem “Get Out Of My House,” a radical call to self-confidence that seemed like a long time coming. It appropriately set the tone of the album; it’s jittery from the kickoff with “Oh God,” a feverish grappling with belief: “Oh God / Do I need God?” she says, appearing to be in a wide-eyed moment of realization. The confusion is aplenty on Roach, but so is the reassurance that it’s okay to be frazzled.
Jeff Rosenstock — “Liked U Better”
Jeff Rosenstock is back with “Liked U Better.” In a chant, he sings in the chorus: “I liked you better / When you weren’t on my mind,” an incantation so catchy it sounds like a declaration of joy. However, Rosenstock has an entertaining knack for turning anger into something exciting, even when he spits: “Can you just get the fuck out of here / And let me get back to my day?”
Squid — “The Blades”
At nearly seven minutes long, “The Blades” by Squid is an odyssey. “They’re just blades of grass, old enough to be trimmed / Thousand people down below / They’re bending in the wind / With their arms stretched open wide,” Ollie Judge sings theatrically, painting a weird image merging humans with the earth. The chaotic instrumentation culminates along with his frenzied voice.
Buck Meek — “Haunted Mountain”
Buck Meek, guitarist and backing vocalist of Big Thief, is stepping out on his own for Haunted Mountain, his first album for 4AD arriving this summer. The title track is out now, country-laden and certainly a recommended listen for those who enjoy the twangy, endearing music of MJ Lenderman.
Helena Deland — “Spring Bug”
“Spring sun and spring rain make past selves sprout out of the ground,” Helena Deland says of her introspective, moving new song “Spring Bug.” Against warm chords, her voice is like a breeze on a spring day. She croons with an admirable wisdom: “For all its pauses / Time will buckle down and pass me.”
Jenny Lewis — “Cherry Baby”
“Life’s a mystery,” Jenny Lewis opens her new single “Cherry Baby” singing. She continues, “We’ll just wait and see / If I don’t lose my mind / I’ll get it right this time.” The exuberant song encapsulates her playful, go-with-the-flow attitude that makes her music so attention-grabbing. If anything goes wrong, at least she can make a cool song about it.