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 politically-charged holiday cover from Phoebe Bridgers and Matt Berninger, a Taylor Swift cover from Wild Pink, and a preview of Moses Sumney’s upcoming double album Grae.
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.
Duster — Duster
Duster’s new self-titled album is the band’s first new full-length in nearly two decades, with Contemporary Movement released in 2000. But like riding a bike, Duster hasn’t forgotten much. Their new album illustrates that their prowess is still as strong as ever and that they haven’t missed a beat.
The Voidz — “Did My Best”
In the time we’ve been waiting for a new Strokes album, Julian Casablancas has been steadily releasing music with The Voidz. “Did My Best” is an excellent way to tide us over, showcasing the range of Casablancas’ current inspiration, from the garage rock we’ve come to know and love from him, to more electronic-based tunes that he could have gleaned from his time working with Daft Punk.
Nada Surf — “Looking For You”
Nada Surf are an indie powerhouse, and it’s always a treat when they’re active. Never Not Together is the band’s ninth studio album, due out in February. “Looking For You” is a nearly five-minute slow number that builds to a climactic guitar-driven finale. Throughout, the track finds the group diving into the effects of fate, reckoning that “what you’re looking for is looking for you, too.” Powerful stuff.
Phoebe Bridgers (featuring Fiona Apple and Matt Berninger) — “7 O’Clock News / Silent Night”
For the third year running, Phoebe Bridgers has shared a holiday tune. This time, she hit the studio with both The National’s Matt Berninger and Fiona Apple for a cover of “Silent Night.” “This new rendition is similar in nature” to the 1966 Simon And Garfunkel version, writes Derrick Rossignol for Uproxx, where the duo performed the number with a newscaster reading off political events of the era. On this one, however, “Bridgers and Apple harmonizing on vocals while Berninger plays the role of the newscaster, with his script updated to reflect current 2019 events.”
Moses Sumney — “Polly”
The second installment of new music from Moses Sumney’s upcoming double album Grae is “an emotional ballad speaking to the wretched feeling left from a lovelorn heart,” writes Carolyn Droke for Uproxx. Arriving in two parts, “Polly” is included on the section of Grae that will be released in February, with the second half dropping in May 2020.
Hot Mulligan — “Feal Like Crab”
Nothing like a good pop-punk number, am I right? Hot Mulligan have been gaining steam in the last few years, and “Feal Like Crab” is a step away from the traditional pop-punk sonics and into more alternative rock territory, opening up the door for the band’s continued growth. It’s a track made for singalong and crowd surfing. Honestly, what more do you need?
The Wonder Years — “We Look Like Lightning” (Acoustic)
Three years removed from their original Burst & Decay EP, which featured stripped-back, reimagined versions of a handful of their songs, The Wonder Years are cooling it down again with Volume II. “We Look Like Lightning” is taken from the band’s most recent LP Sister Cities, our favorite punk album of 2018, and while the original track features one of the heaviest sections the band has ever recorded, the Burst And Decay version shows off the band’s dynamic range.
Okay Kaya — “Asexual Wellbeing”
With her sophomore album Watch This Liquid Pour Itself due in just a few weeks, on January 24, Okay Kaya (a.k.a. Kaya Wilkins) has shared another new track. “Asexual Wellbeing” is an intoxicating preview of the new LP, “boasting bouncy synths and Kaya’s deep, immersive vocals,” writes Carolyn Droke for Uproxx.
Wild Pink — “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together”
As part of the Re Red compilation celebrating Taylor Swift’s thirtieth birthday and benefitting Equal Justice Initiative (working to end mass incarceration, excessive punishment, and racial inequality) Wild Pink put together an extremely impressive cover of “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.” Dialing back the pop structures we’ve become accustomed to from the track, Wild Pink’s version is sparse, featuring excellent vocoder arrangements and some electronic percussion. It really gives space to dive into Swift’s lyrics, which were biting as ever on Red.
Worriers — “PWR CPLE”
Nearly three years removed from 2017’s excellent Survival Pop, Worriers have shared the new track “PWR CPLE” to gear up for the release of their new album You Or Someone You Know, which will drop just ahead of a run of tour dates with The Gaslight Anthem’s Brian Fallon. “PWR CPLE,” as well as much of the new album, is a reconsideration of modern relationships spurred from a major life shift in frontperson Lauren Denitzio’s life, when a breakup with their partner resulted in a move across the country.
Grandaddy — “RIP Coyote Condo #5”
Stark, cinematic, and touching, Jason Lytle’s “RIP Coyote Condo #5” is a nearly seven-minute thing of indie rock beauty that grabs you almost immediately. The track is just the latest entry into frontperson Jason Lytle’s blurring of Grandaddy and his own solo career, but one that certainly shouldn’t be overlooked.
Some artists covered here are Warner Music artists. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.