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 music from Hovvdy, Yo La Tengo, Hurray For The Riff Raff, and more.
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Vyva Melinkolya – Unbecoming
Vyva Melinkolya’s songs are gentle yet portentous, similar to a gray sky on the cusp of a violent thunderstorm. But what if the storm never actually arrives, and the monochrome vistas linger like a diaphanous fog? That’s the feeling that Unbecoming, Angel Diaz’s second album as Vyva Melinkolya, evokes. Like the long stretch of pavement on “I65” and the glacial drums on “Stars Don’t Fall,” Diaz’s latest blossoms gradually, revealing the beauty contained within one moment at a time.
Yo La Tengo – The Bunker Sessions
After releasing one of the best albums of their nearly four-decade career back in February, indie rock luminaries Yo La Tengo are here to remind us, once again, what makes them a touchstone for both veteran musicians and relative newcomers. The Bunker Sessions, a five-song live EP recorded at Brooklyn’s Bunker Studio, revivifies the triumphant camaraderie that animated This Stupid World. Composed of four This Stupid World tracks and “Stockholm Syndrome,” a deep cut from their masterpiece I Can Hear The Heart Beating As One, The Bunker Sessions reifies Yo La Tengo’s live performances for the at-home listener. Given how vital the trio’s live shows are to the YLT experience, receiving this so soon after This Stupid World feels like a gift.
Hurray For The Riff Raff – “Alibi”
Alynda Segarra knows that time isn’t linear. The past connects us to the present, but the past is all around us in ways not immediately apparent. Their forthcoming album as Hurray for the Riff Raff, The Past Is Still Alive, says as much in its title alone, which was recorded a month after the passing of their father. In “Alibi,” the album’s opening track, Segarra explores their memories of him growing up in the Lower East Side, grappling with addiction, grief, and family in just under three minutes. “You don’t have to die if you don’t wanna die,” they exclaim. Like the Tralfamadorians explain to Billy Pilgrim in Slaughterhouse-Five, time is a construct. It’s possible to transcend it, and Alynda Segarra does.
Nothing / Full Of Hell – “Like Stars In The Firmament”
Blackgaze, the amalgam of black metal and shoegaze, has become a definitive trend of the 2020s. Albums like Deafheaven’s Infinite Granite and Holy Fawn’s Dimensional Bleed are just two examples of the ways black metal’s grim menace and shoegaze’s gossamer weightlessness collide. But rarely have two artists come together to bring the best elements of their disparate styles. Full of Hell and Nothing pull it off on their forthcoming joint LP, When No Birds Sang. On the slowcore ballad “Like Stars In The Firmament,” ringing guitars blanket Dominic Palermo’s airy vocals; Full of Hell, backing him, sounds uncharacteristically serene. This is a project that unearths new sides of both artists. For two bands that often embrace sheer, heavy volume, gorgeous moments like these are almost more jarring than an onslaught of noise would be.
Fabiana Palladino – “I Care”
Drawing inspiration from classic Motown duets, Fabiana Palladino’s latest collaboration with the elusive producer Jai Paul refurbishes the template with a modern sheen. Its steady pulse grounds the track while lush, ping-ponging synths and electronic auxiliary percussion weave in and around Palladino’s disarming vocals. As the lead single for her upcoming album, it’s a marvelous introduction.
Phony – Heater
Naming your album Heater is a bold move. Fortunately, Neil Berthier, who makes jangly, emo-tinged guitar-pop under the moniker Phony, delivers on the premise. His fourth Phony album is packed with heat; from the searing opener “Caroline” to the blistering pace of “Card In A Spoke,” the Joyce Manor touring guitarist never lets up on the momentum. Heater is full-throttle from start to finish.
John Francis Flynn – Look Over The Wall, See The Sky
John Francis Flynn’s music is steeped in tradition. The Irish artist repurposes classic, traditional folk songs by updating them with a singular vision. Flynn’s new album, Look Over the Wall, See the Sky, might not technically be new, given its retreading of foundational ground. But it’s nonetheless affecting, as evidenced by his renditions of songs like “Kitty,” “Dirty Old Town,” and “Mole in the Ground.” It’s a wondrous tribute to national lineage that underscores Flynn’s penchant for striking arrangements.
Hovvdy – “Jean”
Will Taylor and Charlie Martin make arresting indie-folk that beautifully captures their stalwart friendship. Fittingly, their latest single, “Jean,” is “a song about doing well for those you love,” as Taylor explains in a press statement. “Jean,” like last year’s EP, Billboard For My Feelings, and 2021’s LP, True Love, is a microcosm of everything that’s great about this duo: earnest lyrics, transfixing instrumentation, and candid craftsmanship. Dudes rock.
String Machine – Turn Off Anything On Again
Last year’s Hallelujah Hell Yeah, the third album from Pittsburgh indie septet String Machine, revived the baroque, ornamental sounds of early-aughts bands like The New Pornographers and The Decemberists. Their surprise EP, Turn Off Anything On Again, takes a slightly different approach. They recorded the EP’s three songs in a barn that frontman David Beck’s late grandfather owned, located among the verdant scenery of Allegheny National Forest. Surrounded by cowboy paraphernalia and “dozens of saddles in the rafters,” as their Bandcamp page says, String Machine lace their new tracks with alt-country twang. On “Misfire” and “I See You The Same,” drawling guitars sit side-by-side with glimmering synths. Across Turn Off Anything On Again‘s brief runtime, String Machine create an idyll that you’ll want to stay in long after the music stops.
Sleater-Kinney — “Say It Like You Mean It”
Last month, Olympia’s Corin Tucker and Carrie Brownstein announced Little Rope, their new album coming out this January. Following up on its scorching lead single, “Hell,” the duo have shared “Say It Like You Mean It,” a slightly calmer, bouncier number that details the end of a relationship. “Say it like you mean it / I need to hear it before you go,” Tucker sings, desperation present in every word.
Hurray For The Riff Raff is a Warner Music artist. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.