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 another new solo track from Hayley Williams, the sparkling debut album from Squirrel Flower, and the first taste of a new project from Gorillaz.
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Frances Quinlan — Likewise
We learned very quickly in the early 2010s that Frances Quinlan has one of the most unique and powerful voices in indie rock across three releases with her band Hop Along. Almost eight years after Hop Along’s debut, Quinlan has unleashed her first-ever solo album. It’s a refreshing and modern take on folk music that (understandably) puts Quinlan’s heart-stopping wail on full display across its nine tracks.
Destroyer — Have We Met
Nearly twenty-five years into his career, Dan Bejar’s latest release under the name Destroyer is just as beautiful and simultaneously sonically confusing as we’ve come to know and love. Bejar’s lengthy career has allowed him the opportunity to experiment with a wide variety of sounds and styles, and Have We Met is a welcome new addition which shows that his imagination is far from finished with its musical exploration.
Torres — Silver Tongue
Back in 2017, Mackenzie Scott made headlines when she took to Twitter to admonish her then-label 4AD for dropping her after “not being commercially successful enough.” While Scott has spent the last three years rebounding and fine-tuning her craft, the moment still lingers heavily over Silver Tongue — lyrically at least. Musically, Silver Tongue is vast in scope and showcases Scott as an incredibly talented songwriter finally able to flourish.
Drive-By Truckers — The Unraveling
On their twelfth LP, Drive-By Truckers don’t hold back when expressing their distaste with the current state of affairs in America. They spent much of the Trump presidency on the road throughout their home country, witnessing first-hand the evils that are starting to reveal themselves in the United States. There is a song on here called “Babies In Cages” — Drive-By Truckers are done messing around, and they are sending a message with The Unraveling.
Squirrel Flower — I Was Born Swimming
With her debut album I Was Born Swimming, Squirrel Flower emerges from the Boston DIY scene with a full-fledged songwriting palette and vision. Highlighted by Ella O’Connor Williams’ gorgeous vocals and poetic lyricism, the album’s twelve tracks on the record are a blast from the past, feeling like they came straight out of the legendary folk scene of the early ’60s. It’s a sight (sound?) to behold, and certainly not something you should sleep on.
Hayley Williams — “Leave It Alone”
The second preview of Hayley Williams’ debut solo effort takes a more experimental approach than “Simmer,” which still sounded a bit like After Laughter-era Paramore, mixed with a little bit of recent Radiohead. “Leave It Alone” speeds ahead down the Radiohead lane, leaving the indie-pop of Paramore in the dust. “On the downtempo, groove-driven track, Williams sings about losing loved ones,” writes Derrick Rossignol for Uproxx. Williams’ solo effort Petals For Armor is slated for release in May, and I personally cannot wait.
Gorillaz — “Momentary Bliss”
For the first sampling of their new “Song Machine” project, Gorillaz teamed up with Slowthai and Slaves for a track that Derrick Rossignol describes for Uproxx as “all over the place, oscillating between hazy psychedelia and frenetic alt-rock.” It’s a promising taste of what we can expect from the project, though we don’t know when we can expect the next installment. Press materials note that “the band again breaks convention in their own round the back door fashion with the spontaneous delivery of episodes throughout the year.” Keep your eyes and ears peeled.
Diet Cig — “Night Terrors”
Diet Cig had a quiet 2019, but they are not starting off the new decade the same way. “Night Terrors” is a return to form as well as an exciting leap forward for the pop-rock duo. “With their signature powerful guitar chords and crashing cymbals, ‘Night Terrors’ gives fans a look into the band’s new era,” writes Carolyn Droke for Uproxx. Here’s to hoping that a new album from Diet Cig isn’t too far away.
Half Waif — “Ordinary Talk”
On the first single from The Caretaker, Half Waif’s fourth LP in six years, Nandi Rose dials into the electronic elements of her musical repertoire. “Ordinary Talk” is, according to Derrick Rossignol for Uproxx, “a slow-burning tune about finding comfort in being completely average and typical.” It’s a powerful sentiment to get across in song, but Rose manages almost effortlessly. The Caretaker drops in full in just over two months, and is something of a concept album telling the story of a character created by Rose that isn’t doing a very good job of taking care of herself. Sounds like something worth exploring for all of us.
Some artists covered here are Warner Music artists. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.