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 very best of the indie releases from the past seven days. This week we got a sprawling double-album from Coldplay, a Tom Waits cover from Phoebe Bridgers, and an excellent new solo single from Hop Along’s Frances Quinlan.
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Coldplay — Everyday Life
On their eighth studio album, Coldplay hunkered down to create some of their best work in this decade, with many of the songs on Everyday Life sound like spiritual siblings of tracks on Viva La Vida. Formatted as a double album, Everyday Life utilizes its last-minute adrenaline-fueled strength to give us a reminder of why we loved Coldplay in the first place.
Beck — Hyperspace
Beck has been at it for a while, but that doesn’t matter. A constant beacon of sonic reinvention, Beck enlisted superstar producer Pharrell Williams on his fourteenth LP to help him move in the direction of synth-pop, making for a collection of hooky tracks that feel unique and familiar.
Sasami — lil drmr bb
In celebration of the incoming holiday, Sasami put her spin on some iconic holiday numbers, as well as an original song called “It’s You.” As the EP’s title would suggest, the highlight here is her interpolation of “Little Drummer Boy,” which morphs into a synth-heavy dystopian industrial track that is more disturbing than welcoming.
Mark Twang — Rearview EP
On their debut EP, Mark Twang make the best of their excellent band name. Written and recorded over the better part of a year, the Rearview EP is four tracks of vivid personal storytelling that isn’t afraid to get serious through its evocative songwriting. There’s also slide guitar, which gives it a few extra points in my book.
A Will Away — Soup
Last time I spoke to A Will Away for this website, in support of a 2017 EP, our conversation quickly moved toward nihilism. “Whether you’re considering fate or divine power, if you think enough about the ‘meaning of life,’ you’ll often come to the conclusion that, in the end, nothing really matters,” I wrote at the time. But on the band’s latest project Soup, A Will Away’s outlook is a bit more positive, making for a series of tracks about getting better, combining rock, indie, and pop influences into a unique blend of modern rock music.
The Bluechips — Illegal Machine
On their debut full-length, The Bluechips turn up the amps and the drums for a genuinely great rock and roll album. Released independently, Illegal Machine is a great first taste from the New York trio. The Bluechips feel like contemporaries of bands like White Reaper — both are just trying to write really great rock music, and both know how to write a mean guitar solo. Let’s start a petition to get these two bands on tour together.
Phoebe Bridgers — “Georgia Lee” (Tom Waits cover)
After a massive 2019 supporting a wide variety of music she had a role in writing, including stints in the supergroups Boygenius and Better Oblivion Community Center (and a guest spot in the Between Two Ferns movie), Phoebe Bridgers has shared yet another devastating track, this time in the form of a Tom Waits cover. Taken from the tribute album Come On Up To The House: Women Sing Tom Waits, Bridgers explained via Twitter that “the song was important because it’s about Georgia Lee Moses, a 12-year-old black girl who was murdered without any press, and that the song speaks to her legacy,” writes Carolyn Droke for Uproxx.
Frances Quinlan — “Now That I’m Back”
What many people might not know is that Hop Along — “one of the most esteemed groups in indie-rock over the past few years,” according to Derrick Rossignol for Uproxx — actually started as the solo project of the band’s singer Frances Quinlan. Now, with Hop Along on hiatus, Quinlan is returning to the solo spotlight. “Now That I’m Back” is the second offering from her new solo album, and it’s another example of why she is one of the best songwriters in indie rock.
Post Animal — “Schedule”
Just a year after their debut album, Chicago’s Post Animal have announced its follow up. Forward Motion Godyssey is out in early 2020, and the band is previewing the effort with the new single “Schedule,” a synth-heavy number that puts the group’s versatility on full display. If this track is any indication, 2020 is sure to be the year of Post Animal.
Some artists covered here are Warner Music artists. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.