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 Soccer Mommy record, Phoebe Bridgers’ first solo music in three years, and the return of Perfume Genius.
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Soccer Mommy — Color Theory
After the critical acclaim of her debut album Clean, many in Sophie Allison’s might have succumbed to the pressure of following it up. But “instead, Allison seems to thrive in the spotlight, more confident than ever now that the world has caught up with her,” writes Caitlin White for Uproxx. But all of that was put to rest when Allison began rolling out singles from Color Theory, showcasing a more polished version of Soccer Mommy’s sound but a consistent emphasis emotional and resonant songwriting.
Ratboys — Printer’s Devil
Ratboys step up to the plate on their new album Printer’s Devil. It feels like a culminating moment for the Chicago band, one they have been grinding toward for the better part of the last five years or so. Tracks like “Alien With A Sleep Mask On” and “Anj” provide what Steven Hyden calls for Uproxx a “louder, thicker, and riff-ier” version of Ratboys that is instantly captivating. With an album that is undeniable from start to finish, keep an eye on this quartet in 2020.
Real Estate — The Main Thing
Martin Courtney wasn’t even sure if he wanted to make another Real Estate album. Lucky for us, he did. Although being in a veteran indie rock band in 2020 is a struggle, one where an LP like The Main Thing might get overshadowed a younger artist in the major label ecosystem, Steven Hyden writes for Uproxx that the album “retains the core elements of Real Estate’s sound: chiming guitars, Courtney’s wistful vocals, and a mood of sweet, heart-rending melancholy.”
Gladie — Safe Sins
On the debut full-length album from Gladie, the duo presents themselves at their most fleshed-out and polished, sounding better than they ever have on recording. However, there are still some tracks on Safe Sins that utilize more lo-fi technology but definitely don’t lack in strong melodic work. “With these two seemingly disparate sounds of Gladie existing in perfect harmony, Safe Sins is one of early-2020’s best indie records,” I wrote in an interview with the band for Uproxx.
Phoebe Bridgers — “Garden Song”
Can you believe it’s been three years since Phoebe Bridgers’ debut album Stranger In The Alps was released? Bridgers has been consistently releasing music since, including excellent stints in supergroups like Boygenius and Better Oblivion Community Center, but “Garden Song” marks her first solo music since the release of her debut. “The song has an insistently strummed guitar melody and surrealist lyrics about California,” writes Caitlin White for Uproxx. Surely this means that we can expect a full-length Phoebe Bridgers solo album in 2020, right?
Half Waif — “Halogen 2”
With her new album The Caretaker out later this month, Nandi Rose has shared another new track. While the album’s lead single “Ordinary Talk” displays an updated version of Half Waif, “Halogen 2” showcases a whole other side. It’s stranger, more glitchy than the previous single, built upon synths with warped vocal tracks and a sense of unease. It’s certainly an exciting taste of what to expect from the remainder of the almost-concept-album.
Perfume Genius — “Describe”
Perfume Genius finally went full Loveless. “Describe” is the lead single from Mike Hadreas’ new album Set My Heart On Fire Immediately (nice), and immediately utilized the wall of sound techniques that made My Bloody Valentine so exciting for shoegaze-heads. Caitlin White calls the track a “barn burner” for Uproxx, and she isn’t wrong. Across its nearly five minutes, “Describe” builds to an incredible apex of overwhelming sonics.
Car Seat Headrest — “Can’t Cool Me Down”
It’s been four years since we got a true new album from Car Seat Headrest (2018’s Twin Fantasy (Face To Face) was a full-band remake of the project’s 2011 effort Twin Fantasy). That’s all about to change, as the band announced a new record last week called Making A Door Less Open, which is out in May. The album’s lead single signals a shift in sound for the band, too — “instead of a guitar-driven indie-rock sound, the new song is based more on synthy electronic music,” Derrick Rossignol writes for Uproxx.
Gordi — “Sandwiches”
Sophie Payten pays tribute to her grandmother on her latest single. Although Payten hasn’t announced a full new project under the name Gordi, the single “Sandwiches” is what Carolyn Droke calls for Uproxx “a memory-laced number… When [her grandmother] fell ill, Gordi and her mother passed out sandwiches to the visitors gathered around the hospital bed”
Kelly Lee Owens — “Melt!”
With her sophomore album Inner Song on the way, electronic producer Kelly Lee Owens is starting to roll out new tracks. “Melt” is structured around “textured rhythms pace alongside trickling synths,” according to Carolyn Droke for Uproxx, and is a good first taste of what to expect with the remainder of the LP. There is even a Radiohead cover. Mark me interested.
Some artists covered here are Warner Music artists. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.