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 best new indie music from the past seven days. This week we got new singles from St. Vincent and Japanese Breakfast, the long-delayed new effort from Tigers Jaw, and more. Check out the rest of the best new indie music below.
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Ian Sweet – Show Me How You Disappear
Each song on Ian Sweet’s third album marks a different stage in Jilian Medford’s journey toward embracing and understanding her anxiety. It’s an intense, but ultimately rewarding listen as the album’s ten tracks depict “the path to healing through music, delicately unpacking anxiety, depression, and trauma, while showing how Medford was able to rise above it all,” writes Carolyn Droke for Uproxx.
Tigers Jaw – I Won’t Care How You Remember Me
It’s hard to believe that Tigers Jaw have been around for the better part of 15 years at this point. I Won’t Care How You Remember Me is their sixth studio album to date, and also their most expansive. Throughout the album, the Scranton quartet finds inspiration from their early days playing in basements, as well as by looking toward the future of the band. “The result is a dense and impressive work from one of the most consistent (and underrated) bands in the indie punk scene,” I wrote in a recent interview for Uproxx.
Biitchseat – I’ll Become Kind EP
Talor Smith’s vocals sound almost theatrical on the latest effort from Cleveland’s Biitchseat. I’ll Become Kind is full of catchy indie-pop gems that would fit in as well in a Broadway venue as they would a sweaty club. It’s a demonstration of the group’s versatility and knack for anthemic songwriting that is not easily forgotten.
St. Vincent – “Pay Your Way In Pain”
In a statement announcing her anticipated new album, St. Vincent said that Daddy’s Home was inspired by “music made in New York from 1971 to ’76, typically post-flower child, kick the hippie idealism out of it, America’s in a recession but pre-disco, the sort of gritty, raw, wiggly nihilistic part of that.” Lead single “Pay Your Way In Pain” has that aesthetic on full display, a quirky and spastic number that reflects Annie Clark’s 2012 effort with David Byrne.
Japanese Breakfast – “Be Sweet”
With her new excellent and devastating memoir Crying In H Mart set for release next month, Michelle Zauner has returned to Japanese Breakfast for something a bit more joyful. The first single from her upcoming album Jubilee is what Derrick Rossignol calls for Uproxx “an upbeat and optimistic new tune,” which was written alongisde Jack Tatum of Wild Nothing.
Rostam – “4Runner”
After a string of production projects and standalone singles over the last year, Rostam has officially announced his sophomore solo album Changephobia. “4Runner” showcases Rostam’s cutting-edge indie pop production, with breezy acoustic guitar and subdued percussion accented by a dreamy lead guitar.
Mitski – “The Baddy Man”
Although not an official release from Mitski, the songwriter is back with new music, in the form of a graphic novel soundtrack. “The Baddy Man” is what Caitlin White calls for Uproxx “a pretty straightforward, rollicking country track,” and is the first of many to come as part of the project.
Big Red Machine – “A Crime” (Sharon Van Etten cover)
Sharon Van Etten is commemorating a decade of her sophomore album Epic with a version of the album comprised of covers. The first taste of the effort is Big Red Machine’s rendition of “A Crime.” Where Van Etten’s original track was mostly just accompanied by an acoustic guitar, Justin Vernon and Aaron Dessner’s version gives the number more of a full-band makeover, embracing thrashing percussion and distorted lead guitars.
Islands – “(We Like To) Do It With The Lights On”
Five years after announcing his retirement from new music, Nick Thorburn is back with… new music! “(We Like To) Do It With The Lights On” is the first taste of Islands’ “reunion” album Insomnia, a dance track drenched in shimmer guitars and Thorburn’s infectious vocal.
Proper – “Aficionado.”
We just named Proper one of the indie rockers to watch in 2021, and now they’re back with a new track. “Aficionado” isn’t linked to a larger release, but it wouldn’t be surprising if it ultimately ended up on the forthcoming Proper LP. The track makes the best of its lo-fi production, utilizing lyrical storytelling to keep the listener engaged, before diverting into an electronic spoken word section.
Jhariah – “Debt Collector”
Jhariah’s new single “Debt Collector” sounds like it was made specifically to be included in a video game (a good thing). After a quick opening with fast-paced chiptune flourishes that would be perfect for a Nintendo game, the full band kicks in to transform the song into a soundtrack for a skateboard game. It’s an incredibly exciting song, a signal of a bright future for the 20-year-old Bronx native.
Pollard – “Overhead”
Kyle Luck took a break from music after the demise of his legendary (in my eyes, at least) emo outfit Oliver Houston. He moved from Michigan to New York and took a few years to get settled. Now, he is ready to begin focusing on music once again with his solo project Pollard. His first solo single “Overhead” incorporates the intricate math-rock guitars that made Oliver Houston so exciting, but dials back the intensity to allow Luck’s introspective lyrics to step forward.
Sophie Coran – “S P A C E”
On her first track of 2021, Philadelphia songwriter Sophie Coran flexes her classical music training, seamlessly melding jazz and R&B into something truly fun and unique. Throughout “S P A C E,” there are flourishes of strings and unexpectedly pleasing chord progressions that are just added layers onto the impressive production and scope of the music.