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 a surprise EP from Laura Jane Grace, an excellent new single from Bartees Strange, and the first full-length Angels & Airwaves album in six years. Check out the rest of the best new indie music below.
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Andy Shauf – Wilds
Andy Shauf released one of last year’s best albums with The Neon Skyline. Shauf wrote 50 songs for that record, cutting a lot of great material from the final product. His new album, Wilds, finally showcases some of this material, building upon the world that he generated through song with The Neon Skyline
Angels & Airwaves – Lifeforms
Tom DeLonge has been busy with almost everything but music over the last several years. You’ve probably read about it. But amidst the effort to, you know, shift the very concept of life on earth as we know it, DeLonge was piecing together a new album with his band Angels & Airwaves. The resulting effort Lifeforms is finally here, existing as a document of and homage to DeLonge’s entire musical life, echoing his biggest inspirations and even his own discography, as he explained to me in a recent interview. DeLonge knows how to write a hook, and Lifeforms is an impressive return for Angels & Airwaves that is certainly not lacking in moments that will get your head bobbing.
Laura Jane Grace – At War With The Silverfish EP
Just about a year after dropping her debut solo album Stay Alive out of the sky, Laura Jane Grace has once again surprise-released a new project. At War With The Silverfish is a new EP of songs born of “late night madness and loneliness, orphan songs that came wandering in looking to feed like insects.” The seven-track effort is a demonstration of Grace’s pure songwriting talent, with very few — if any — studio flourishes outside of light drum programming.
Shortly – Dancer
At long last, Detroit’s Shortly has finally “officially” arrived with a full-length album. Dancer was produced by Shortly and Joe Reinhart (Hop Along, Beach Bunny, Smidley, Diet Cig), and was developed from sketches on codependence, gender dysphoria, and the tenderness of belonging. The resulting album is emotional and raw, illustrative of Alexandria Maniak’s talents as one of Michigan’s strongest songwriters.
Frames – Every Room
Richmond emo outfit Frames make twinkly, driving rock songs full of catchy guitar riffs and Sarah Phun’s soaring vocals anchoring impressive arrangements. Their new album Every Room is their strongest to date, with lyrics detailing unresolved resentment and guilt that will draw you in and spit you out.
Japanese Breakfast – Sable (Original Video Game Soundtrack)
Japanese Breakfast has been attached to the just-released video game Sable for some time, and now we can immerse ourselves in the full soundtrack. The 32-track project is full of glitchy, ambient soundscapes that create a world unto themselves. “It was important to me that each biome in this world felt unique,” Michelle Zauner explained in a statement. “I used woodwinds and vocal layering to make monumental ruins feel ancient and unknown, industrial samples and soft synths to make atomic ships feel cold and metallic, classical guitar and bright piano to make encampments feel cozy and familiar.”
Sufjan Stevens & Angelo De Augustine – A Beginner’s Mind
After leaning into electronics on his latest album The Ascension, Sufjan Stevens has returned to the world of folk for his new collaboration with Angelo De Augustine. The 14-track album A Beginner’s Mind began to come together when “the pair headed to a friend’s cabin in upstate New York for a ‘monthlong songwriting sabbatical,’ writes Derrick Rossignol for Uproxx. “At the ends of their days, Stevens and De Augustine would unwind by watching movies, and the duo’s songs soon began to reflect on the films. The album was inspired by ‘shoshin,’ a word from Zen Buddhism that means ‘Beginner’s Mind’ (hence the album title) and refers to a sense of openness and eagerness.”
Bartees Strange – “Weights”
Celebrating a massive year of growth, Bartees Strange is gearing up to release a deluxe version of his debut album Live Forever, which features a new track called “Weights.” Produced by Will Yip, “the song immediately kicks off with a wall of sound,” writes Carolyn Droke for Uproxx. “Washed out guitars and a driving beat accompany Strange as he sings of feeling distant from a past flame and regretting how their timing didn’t work out as he had hoped.”
Let’s Eat Grandma – “Hall Of Mirrors”
On their first new song in three years, UK indie-pop duo Let’s Eat Grandma — aka Rosa Walton and Jenny Hollingworth — deliver what Rachel Brodsky calls for Uproxx a “shimmery dream-pop jam.” Although there’s no official word of a forthcoming new record from Let’s Eat Grandma, “Hall Of Mirrors” sets the bar quite high for what’s to come.
Faye Webster – “Overslept”
It’s only been a few short months since Faye Webster dropped her excellent sophomore album I Know I’m Funny Haha, but she’s showing no signs of slowing down. The newly-released track “Overslept” is what Carolyn Droke describes for Uproxx as “a wistful tune features vocals by Japanese artist Mei Ehara, who Webster said was a big source of inspiration for her on the album.”
Ovlov – “Land Of Steve-O”
Connecticut cult legends Ovlov have been putting out music on and off over the last few years, but now they are finally officially back with a new record. Buds is previewed by “Land Of Steve-O,” which is “an upbeat, antsy track that moves along with persistent percussion and sharp guitar solos,” according to Rachel Brodsky for Uproxx.
Blackstarkids – “All Cops Are Bastards”
Blackstarkids’ debut project Whatever, Man was one of 2020’s most exciting releases, and the trio’s proper debut album Puppies Forever is shaping up to do the same in 2021. The latest single “All Cops Are Bastards” is a raucous track that “kicks off with fuzzy guitars and a catchy hook,” writes Carolyn Droke for Uproxx. “As a crashing beat arrives, the trio fire off verses making it clear that they’re no friend of the police.”
Heart Attack Man – “Pitch Black”
Heart Attack Man are back with a vitriolic, bombastic new EP called Thoughtz & Prayerz. The excellent lead single “Pitch Black” is a driving, melodic meditation on not letting your past dictate your present, which the band described in a statement as “truly being in X-Games mode with your emotions and shit.”
The Copyrights – “Stuck In The Winter”
I first discovered The Copyrights on the excellent punk compilation The Thing That Ate Larry Livermore. Nearly ten years later, the band is about to drop a new record called Alone In A Dome on Fat Wreck Chords. The new single “Stuck In The Winter” is an excellent melodic punk track with a massive hook that is hard not to fall in love with.
The Regrettes – “Monday”
The Regrettes’ 2019 album How Do You Love? was a first look at the ways that 2000’s-era rock and punk music was about to make a comeback in a big way. Now, the band is back with “Monday,” a uniquely modern track that Lydia Night explains is about “really learning and trying my best to keep on dancing the pain away so I hope people can relate to that and dance with me.”
RIVER – “Dance In The Darkness”
German duo made waves with their debut single “Inappropriate,” and now they’ve returned with “Dance In The Darkness,” a highly danceable track that is built upon a groovy baseline and harmonized vocals. It’s a promising look at what’s to come as the duo continues to roll out new music.
Some artists covered here are Warner Music artists. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.