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 Pearl Jam, Cassandra Jenkins, Cloud Nothings, and more.

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Pearl Jam – Dark Matter

It’s not really a late-career Pearl Jam album cycle unless one of the band members comments on said album’s unexpected heaviness. In most instances, the statement is misleading. With Dark Matter, though, it’s at least (partly) true. Eddie Vedder and co. indulge their quieter tendencies, as on “Wreckage,” but they also cater to the fans who just want some good ‘ol rowdy rock songs, like “Running.” Dark Matter is the product of a legacy band not overthinking it, just plugging in and playing. It’s the most relaxed they’ve sounded in a while.

Ekko Astral – Pink Balloons

D.C. punks Ekko Astral want you to don some mascara in the mosh pit, as you should. Their debut album, Pink Balloons, creates the ideal setting to do so. Songs like the winking, thrashing “On Brand” and the drone-turned-fiery punk anthem “Devorah” showcase why this band is among the best doing it right now in indie music. Who else could resuscitate a decade-plus-old joke about the proper pronunciation of Bon Iver and pull it off? Pink Balloons is meant to be as fun as it is furious; as Ekko Astral demonstrates, the two don’t have to be mutually exclusive.

Cloud Nothings – Final Summer

There is no such thing as a bad Cloud Nothings record. With Final Summer, the trio comprising vocalist-guitarist Dylan Baldi, drummer Jason Gerycz, and bassist Chris Brown successfully defend their title as one of indie’s most consistently excellent bands. From the punchy, rousing “I’d Get Along” to the explosive, immediate “The Golden Halo,” the Cleveland band deliver another batch of incredible rock songs.

Debby Friday – “To The Dancefloor”

Good Luck was a watershed moment for the Toronto electronic pop artist Debby Friday. For her 2023 record of clattering beats, sticky hooks, and industrial sonics, she won the coveted Polaris Music Prize. “To The Dancefloor,” her first single of the year, follows in the footsteps of Good Luck but with an even more pointed homage to nightclubs. “I need all the girls on to the dancefloor,” Debby commands throughout the track. You’d be remiss not to comply.

Menomena – The Insulation EP

Portland, Oregon, art-rock trio Menomena are back with their first batch of new music in over 10 years. As a surprise release, The Insulation EP is a welcome return. Composed of three songs with each member taking over lead vocal duties per track, Menomena’s new EP is a reminder of what we’ve been missing in their time away. Even if the title track and “Copious” are technically old B-sides for 2010’s Mines, Menomena sound renewed with an undeniable vigor.

Alice Glass – “Drown”

From 1991’s Gish through 1995’s Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness, Smashing Pumpkins were pretty untouchable. That extends to their non-album cuts, too, including 1992’s “Drown,” which was featured in Cameron Crowe’s rom-com film, Singles. Alice Glass, who originally covered “Drown” for an unspecified compilation that never came to exist, has decided to share her rendition anyway. Thankfully, it won’t succumb to an eternal life on a hard drive. Glass’ cover, alongside her regular collaborator and producer Jupiter Keyes, infuses the Pumpkins’ track with a frostbitten edge, trading in the original’s guitar-bass-drums configuration for dark, echoey synthesizers. The end result is altogether different from its source material; it’s an exciting take on an already great song.

Cassandra Jenkins – “Only One”

My Light, My Destroyer wasn’t originally what Cassandra Jenkins had written for her next album. Following the widespread critical acclaim of her 2021 masterpiece, An Overview On Phenomenal Nature, Jenkins toured relentlessly to the point of exhaustion, physically and artistically. She had a new album ready to go, but her fatigue had affected the new music, so she completely restarted the songwriting process. This is the album that emerged from that new beginning. “You’re the only one I ever loved,” she sings in the chorus of the lead single, “Only One,” her delivery quietly radiant. Awash in synth pads, distant horns, and Jenkins’ gossamer vocals, it sounds like a rebirth.

One Step Closer – “Orange Leaf”

The Wilkes-Barre hardcore group One Step Closer are officially less than a month away from sharing their sophomore album, All You Embrace. They’ve put out another single from it, the heart-on-your-sleeve emo-meets-hardcore ripper “Orange Leaf.” With every new teaser the straight-edge crew supplies us with, it seems like a more certain prediction that All You Embrace will be one of the best heavy albums of 2024.

King Hannah – “Davey Says”

The Liverpool indie-rock duo King Hannah, made up of songwriters Hannah Merrick and Craig Whittle, are slated to release Big Swimmer, their second album, at the end of next month. Its title track, which came with the announcement, is a stunner, and King Hannah’s latest preview of it, “Davey Says,” takes things in a slightly louder direction. For a band predicated on moody, blues-inflected minimalism, “Davey Says” draws from the fuzzy, distorted stylings that dominate the zeitgeist. In another band’s hands, it may sound like pastiche. In King Hannah’s hands, though, it sounds triumphant.

Jamie xx – “Baddy On The Floor”

While we keep waiting for that second Jamie xx album (he promises it’ll be here this year), the London producer has been drip-feeding us with occasional singles since 2020’s “Idontknow.” His latest, “Baddy On The Floor,” which he premiered at Coachella, is one of the best singles he has shared since his as-of-now sole record, 2015’s In Colour. Alongside fellow DJ and producer Honey Dijon, Jamie stitches together vocal samples and deep-bass house beats like an adroit quilt-maker.