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 the highly-anticipated new studio album from Grimes, another stunning single from Waxahatchee, and a rocking new track from Pearl Jam’s forthcoming album.
While we’re at it, if you want more music recommendations curated by Steven Hyden delivered directly to your inbox every week, sign up for the Indie Mixtape newsletter.
Grimes — Miss Anthropocene
For her fifth full-length album, Grimes is a full-blown star and she knows it. A lot has changed for Grimes since 2015’s excellent Art Angels. She started dating Elon Musk, and now the couple appears to have a baby on the way. Many of these new life moments are rolled into her work, and after delays resulting from conflict from her label 4AD, we finally have a pristine new collection of Grimes music. As Caitlin White writes for Uproxx, “of the ten songs that made Miss Anthropocene’s standard edition, lots of them are beautiful — ‘Delete Forever’ is near perfect — and a few are even fascinating.”
Moses Sumney — Græ Part 1
Over the last several months, we’ve heard a selection of tracks from Moses Sumney’s Græ project, but lucky for us, we now we have the album’s first twelve tracks available in their entirety. It’s a special look inside Sumney’s unique creative space, which will be revealed more thoroughly when the remainder of Græ is released in May, playing into Sumney’s overall artistic vision for the lengthy project. “By breaking the record into two, Sumney is purposefully crafting a space for listeners to fully absorb the message behind his art,” Carolyn Droke writes for Uproxx.
Thunder Gloss — Halos
Formerly known as Monster Bad, this art-pop group has been hustling in the underground for several years. Halos is their first release under the name Thunder Gloss, and explores trans-ness, love, and communism, as well as more philosophically heavy topics like the inherent violence of knowing and being known and the absolute necessity of empathy and care in a modern world designed to exploit everyone in every way all the time. Despite these weighty lyrical topics, Halos is surprisingly light on its feet, bouncing between different genre tropes for something wholly unique.
Pearl Jam — “Superblood Wolfmoon”
The second single from Pearl Jam’s forthcoming album Gigaton is more of a rocker than its predecessor “Dance Of The Clairvoyants.” The new track is, according to Derrick Rossignol for Uproxx, “an aggressive, guitar-driven rocker that is bound to please longtime fans of the band.” At the very least, it’s certainly a promising taste of what’s to come from the grunge titans’ first album in seven years.
The Strokes — “Bad Decisions”
Another legacy band preparing to release new music in 2020, The Strokes have followed up the on-stage announcement of their new album The New Abnormal at a Bernie Sanders rally with a second single. Where “At The Door” was a more synth-driven version of The Strokes, Derrick Rossignol writes for Uproxx that “Bad Decisions” features “a more traditional Strokes sound.” Which is to say there’s a lot of fuzzy guitars and general coolness emanating from the speakers.
Sufjan Stevens & Lowell Brams – “The Runaround”
Sufjan Stevens’ new record was created with his stepfather Lowell Brams. The project’s first single boasted a New Age sound, and “The Runaround” continues with that trend. The track, as Carolyn Droke writes for Uproxx, is “a mostly instrumental number peppered with lo-fi vocals.” It’s certainly a different sound than what we’ve come to know from Sufjan Stevens from 2015’s Carrie And Lowell and his contributions to the Call Me By Your Name soundtrack, but uniquely pleasing nonetheless.
Waxahatchee — “Lilacs”
Waxahatchee’s new album Saint Cloud is one of the strongest indie releases of early 2020. “Lilacs” is a unique song that manages to transcend time, simultaneously sounding modern while evoking the sentiments of a folk track from the late ’60s or early ’70s. As for the track’s lyrics, it’s “mostly just about obsessive/negative thought patterns,” Katie Crutchfield explained in a statement. “It’s about backsliding into old behaviors that don’t serve you and sort of letting your worst self get the best of you.” Get on the Saint Cloud bandwagon while there’s still space.
Nap Eyes — “So Tired”
Nap Eyes are coming in hot with their third full-length Snapshot Of A Beginner. Lead single “Mark Zuckerberg” set the tone nicely, but “So Tired” cements Nap Eyes a band to watch in 2020 with what Carolyn Droke calls for Uproxx “a more stripped-down sound.” With slide guitars throughout, the track eventually bursts into a frenetic guitar solo with harmonic swipes and more. It’s all good.
Ellis — “Embarrassing”
Ellis stormed onto the scene in 2018 with her EP The Fuzz. Now gearing up for her full-length debut, “Embarrassing” is a reverb-soaked contemplation on one’s reality, finding Linnea Siggelkow wishing she was anybody else. “I’ve come to realize that shame can be both good and bad, and the importance of recognizing the difference,” Siggelkow said in a statement.
Talker — “Suck Up”
With a new EP dropping next month, Talker (real name Celeste Tauchar) has shared the barnstorming track “Suck Up.” It’s a track that manages to build the anticipation so perfectly during the verses that when Tauchar ultimately unleashes the chorus, featuring a pop-punk hook as strong as Paramore’s early work, you’re instantly sold.
Jay Som — “A Thousand Words”
The latest in a slew of artists continuing to release music even when they’re on tour supporting their most recent release, Jay Som has shared a pair b-sides that were cut during the sessions for Anak Ko. “A Thousand Words” airs a bit closer to the sounds we heard on Anak Ko, what Derrick Rossignol calls for Uproxx “a bright and upbeat tune,” while he writes that “Can’t Sleep” “comes from a place of greater chaos.”
Snarls — “What’s It Take”
Dreamy guitars and stellar vocal melodies are what makes Snarls’ “What’s It Take” one of the most immediately compelling tracks we’ve heard so far this year. The track then takes you on a journey of unexpected twists and turns, toward a bridge that builds to explosion to close the number. The Columbus, Ohio four-piece’s debut album Burst is out next month, and it’s a stunner.
Jessy Lanza — “Lick In Heaven”
Jessy Lanza wins best track title of 2020 so far. “Lick In Heaven” is an extremely fun electro-pop number with a rousing chorus that will stay stuck in your head for days to come. It sounds like a lost remnant from the ’80s, with pitch-correcting synths and Lanza’s pristine vocal floating over the top.
Hot Mulligan — “Equip Sunglasses”
Hot Mulligan’s new album You’ll Be Fine is right around the corner, and their latest single showcases the band’s knack for pop-punk choruses with harsher vocals than we’ve become used to hearing from the genre. The mood here is overall very funky, making “Equip Sunglasses” a refreshing take on a storied genre.
Some artists covered here are Warner Music artists. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.