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 preview of Notes On A Conditional Form from The 1975, the highly anticipated sophomore LP from Cigarettes After Sex, and the debut solo single from Hop Along’s Frances Quinlan.
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Great Grandpa — Four Of Arrows
Since its announcement, we have included every single from Great Grandpa’s staggering sophomore LP on this list, and now it’s time to talk about the full record. Four Of Arrows is a project that is immensely impressive from its outset, winding its way through a variety of storied influences and combining them into an amalgamative model specimen of modern rock music. It ebbs and flows with a mastery of craft usually reserved for storied bands trying to spice things up in the studio. In this way, Great Grandpa have proven themselves to be wise beyond their years, delivering an eye-opening late entry into the best-of-the-year race.
Anna Meredith — Fibs
Her first new work since scoring Bo Burnham’s award-winning 2018 film Eighth Grade, Fibs hones in on the frantic synth patterns that make Anna Meredith’s music so intriguing and impressive. It’s a perfect soundtrack to a manic schedule, which doesn’t sound fun, but it somehow is. Throughout the LP, Meredith is playing by her own rules, more evidence in the case that makes her of the most interesting composers out there right now.
Cigarettes After Sex — Cry
More than two years after the release of their self-titled debut, Cigarettes After Sex are back with Cry, an LP written almost entirely in the effervescent Spanish city of Mallorca. Somehow, and I genuinely don’t know how, the band manages to capture the beauty of the city in the music. According to songwriter Greg Gonzalez, Cry supposed to be viewed “as a film. It was shot in this stunning, exotic location, and it stitches all these different characters and scenes together, but in the end is really about romance, beauty & sexuality.”
Rex Orange County — Pony
Only a few weeks after announcing the album, Rex Orange County’s Pony — his debut effort after signing a major-label deal with Sony Music — is here. Pony features a more polished version of the sound that has gotten attention from the likes of Tyler The Creator, and will surely see Rex Orange County’s audience continue to grow as he fine-tunes his songwriting prowess at a bionic pace.
Mikal Cronin — Seeker
There’s a beautiful warmth that comes with albums that are recorded fully live, and Mikal Cronin’s Seeker is a glowing example of this phenomenon. It’s the songwriter’s fourth LP to date, and sees Cronin pushing his signature power-pop sound into darker territory, with stunning results. The album was recorded in Los Angeles in a studio that seemed to be constantly at risk of being devastated by a wildfire. As such, Seeker revolves around the often catastrophic but sometimes rehabilitative nature of fire.
Young Guv — Guv II
Don’t make the same mistakes as me: Young Guv is not an emo rapper! Instead, the Canadian songwriter is more of a prolific power pop auteur. Out now on Run For Cover, the label that brought us the beauty that is Modern Baseball, Guv II is Young Guv’s second release of 2019. It’s an impressive array of lo-fi pop tracks anchored in impressive musical arrangements and clean, reverb-soaked vocal melodies that don’t sound anything like emo rap.
The 1975 — “Frail State Of Mind”
After the raging punk rock rebellion of their last single “People,” many (myself included) were hoping the remaining numbers on the band’s new album Notes On A Conditional Form might share the same bite and intensity. However, the band’s new track “Frail State Of Mind” is “a sort of return to the less in-your-face aesthetic of A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships, and it’s a rhythmic tune that sounds like a spiritual successor to ‘Tootimetootimetootime,'” writes Derrick Rossignol for Uproxx.
Andy Shauf — “Things I Do”
Along with the announcement of his new album The Neon Skyline, this Canadian singer-songwriter shared a brand new track called “Things I Do.” It’s the first look at a story that will be told throughout the LP, which takes place across one single night at one single bar. “Why do I do the things I do, when I know I am losing you?” Shauf wonders over muted drums and finger-picked guitars. It’s certainly an intriguing taste of the story that will unfold across the album’s eleven tracks.
Frances Quinlan — “Rare Thing”
Hop Along was always a good band, but it was France Quinlan’s truly incredible and powerful vocal abilities that took them to another level. A year removed from Hop Along’s last LP Bark Your Head Off, Dog, Quinlan has announced her debut solo effort. Likewise is due January 31, and the first single “Rare Thing” unsurprisingly puts her unique talent on full display. Over light instrumentation, Quinlan moves through vocal runs that will have your head spinning.
Zack Villere — “Sore Throat”
Though Zack Villere hasn’t announced a new project yet, he’s starting to roll out new music sporadically. “Sore Throat” features the lo-fi piano-driven instrumentation that made Villere something of a streaming sensation on his first LP Little World, but with a more polished studio approach. “Sometimes I spend all day inside,” he sings, before taking a self-referential look at his feelings of isolation. “I feel bad again, I wonder why.”
Illuminati Hotties — “Ppl Plzr”
Somehow, among the intense tour schedule in the year since the release of their album Kiss Yr Frenemies, Sarah Tudzin found time to write and record a new Illuminati Hotties song. Unfortunately, “Ppl Plzr” is not a lead single from a new album. But it does continue to do what Illuminati Hotties does best and ruminates on how complicated it can be to fall in love in the modern era.
Macseal — “Lucky For Some”
Hailing from Long Island, Macseal are gearing up to release their debut album called Super Enthusiast, which is set for release November 8 via 6131 Records. After almost four years of non-stop touring and a handful of EPs, Macseal have honed their craft immensely into a truly impressive indie-pop band. “Lucky For Some” is a track about watching all your friends fall in love around you while you’re still trying to figure out how to take care of yourself.
Squirrel Flower — “Red Shoulder”
With her debut album I Was Born Swimming set for release in early 2020, Boston-based Ella O’Connor Williams has shared the album’s first look in the form of the melancholic slow-burn track “Red Shoulder.” It’s a track that sounds a bit like if Mitski or Lucy Dacus was backed by a band comprised of disciples of midwestern emo, which is to say that it sounds excellent.
Briston Maroney — “Chattanooga”
The latest in a string of releases throughout the year, “Chattanooga” is the second piece of Briston Maroney’s double a-side single Miracle. It was recorded in London with producer Jim Abbiss (Arctic Monkeys, Adele) and finds Maroney looking toward home at the end of a never-ending tour, before the track explodes into a heavy outro.
Some artists covered here are Warner Music artists. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.