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 long-awaited major label debut from White Reaper, a deeply experimental and wildly beautiful effort from Vagabon, and the official version of Matt Berninger and Phoebe Bridgers’ Between Two Ferns collaboration.
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.
White Reaper — You Deserve Love
White Reaper is very, very cool. “The Louisville, Kentucky rock outfit takes influence from a variety of ’70s and ’80s guitar rock bands, but still manage to toe the line between authenticity and nostalgia gimmick,” I wrote in the band’s recent Indie Mixtape 20 Q&A that tracks like “Real Long Time” are evocative of Thin Lizzy’s dueling guitars, while “Raw” is a bit closer to Cheap Trick — both inarguably very good, classic bands bands. But White Reaper is able to take the tropes of guitar rock and morph them into something that also feels uniquely modern.
With acts like Greta Van Fleet on the rise and Queen making a giant comeback thanks to the success of Bohemian Rhapsody, it wouldn’t be surprising if this quintet is able to take the world by storm in the coming months.
Vagabon — Vagabon
After a slightly delayed release, Vagabon’s self-titled album is finally here in all of its glorious wonder. We loved the debut album Infinite Worlds, and now Laetitia Tamko has secured herself a major-label deal, leading to a wealth of resources that she certainly utilized. “Vagabon is a strange and billowing album, soaring where Infinite Worlds dipped, and revealing Tamko’s considerable skill as a producer, too,” writes Caitlin White for Uproxx.
Jimmy Eat World — Surviving
On their tenth studio album, Jimmy Eat World do exactly what we need from them, which is to make reliable emo-rock music that satisfies that early-2000’s part of your brain while also presenting something new. This is exemplified best on the album’s lead single “All The Way (Stay),” which boasts a Springsteen-esque saxophone solo during its climax to keep everything fresh and spicy.
Hovvdy — Heavy Lifter
With the release of their last single “So Brite,” I predicted that Hovvdy’s Heavy Lifter would be “a perfect soundtrack for trekking through falling leaves in a sweater (a.k.a. the single best moments of any year).” Just a few weeks later, and we have Heavy Lifter in full, proving correct both my hypothesis: that the album is perfect for the autumn months and also that autumn is the best season. With 13 tracks soaked in reverb and existentialism, Heavy Lifter is one of late 2019’s most impressive indie albums.
They Are Gutting A Body Of Water — Destiny XL
You’ve probably never heard of They Are Gutting A Body Of Water, but that’s ok. It won’t take long for the Philly band’s arresting blend of shoegaze, slowcore, and electronic experimentation will envelop you and prove to you that this is something special and you should continue listening. Further evidence of the band’s outside-the-box approach, Destiny XL was released physically last week in the form of a flash drive loaded with over 2 gigabytes of music, videos, short stories, photos, and a custom startup menu.
Turnover — “Number On The Gate”
With their fourth LP Altogether just around the corner (out November 1), Virginia punks-turned-dream-pop-act Turnover have been rolling out some exemplary singles to preview the new effort. “Number On The Gate” once again shows the trio’s knack for lo-fi dance pop tracks. While their previous efforts Peripheral Vision and Good Nature felt very rooted in the lane of shoegaze in the vein of Slowdive, the singles from Altogether have more a dance edge to them, making for some of Turnover’s strongest and most engaging material to date.
Matt Berninger — “Walking On A String” Feat. Phoebe Bridgers
Although you might think that The National’s Matt Berninger and indie darling Phoebe Bridgers should have collaborated on music together already, they apparently haven’t. All of that changed when we saw the duo in a bar scene in Netflix’s Between Two Ferns: The Movie performing a new song called “Walking On A String.” Now, they have released the official studio version of the song, a beautiful slow burn that builds to a soaring conclusion. According to Derrick Rossignol for Uproxx, Berninger’s appearance in the movie isn’t exactly unexpected, as he and [Ferns director Scott] Aukerman have a pre-existing working relationship: Berninger has guested on multiple episodes of Aukerman’s Comedy Bang! Bang! podcast, as well as on his TV show of the same name.
Porches — “Rangerover”
Aaron Maine wants you to know that his project Porches can take on any form. It seems that in the latter part of the 2010s, Maine has been focused on dance and electronic music. 2018’s The House featured more electronic instrumentation, and “Rangerover” emphasizes the danceability of Porches’ music. While Blood Orange’s Dev Hynes isn’t officially credited as an official featured artist on the track, “his vocals can be heard on it, and he is credited as the song’s co-writer, alongside Maine,” writes Derrick Rossignol for Uproxx.
Rex Orange County — “Pluto Projector”
Fresh off the announcement of his new highly-anticipated album Pony, he has shared “Pluto Projector,” an “emotional new song,” writes Derrick Rossignol for Uproxx. The track kicks off with Alex O’Connor asking himself some big questions, wondering to “The Great Projector” about his direction and purpose, and whether he is going to feel accomplished in the end.
Manchester Orchestra — “Xela”
As of Amazon Music’s awesome “Produced By” series — where four artists each release a new song produced by the same person — Manchester Orchestra have shared a new track with none other than T Bone Burnett behind the boards. “The song sees Manchester Orchestra exploring the intimate-yet-epic territory they’ve expertly inhabited before, and the result is another grand and gorgeous addition to their discography,” writes Derrick Rossignol for Uproxx.
Beach Slang — “Bam Rang Rang” Feat. Tommy Stinson of The Replacements
Beach Slang were on fire there for a while, then they disappeared for a bit. Now, The Replacements disciples have returned in a big way with the barnstorming new single “Bam Rang Rang,” which features… The Replacements’ Tommy Stinson on the bass. It’s the first preview of the band’s new LP The Deadbeat Bang Of Heartbreak City, and Stinson plays bass on the whole thing. If the rest of the record sounds anything like “Bam Rang Rang,” we’re in for a nice taste of hearty punk rock.
Some artists covered here are Warner Music artists. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.