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 the annual holiday cover from Phoebe Bridgers, a collection of covers from Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong, and a massive double album from The Smashing Pumpkins. Check out the rest of the best new indie music below.
Billie Joe Armstrong – No Fun Mondays
What started as a way for Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong to kill the time in quarantine became a full-fledged cover compilation, serving as a tribute his wide array of influences, from The Bangles and Kim Wilde to John Lennon and The Clash. Hearing Armstrong’s signature vocal drawl take on a John Lennon song with a punk rock makeover sure is fun, even if the album’s title might indicate otherwise.
The Smashing Pumpkins – Cyr
Gone are the big guitars and thrashing riffs of Smashing Pumpkins’ heyday, instead replaced by a synth-pop aesthetic fostered by Billy Corgan’s desire to achieve a contemporary sound. Cyr marks the first time since 1995 that The Smashing Pumpkins have recorded two consecutive albums without a lineup change, featuring contributions from much of the band’s original lineup. All told, Cyr finds the veteran band pushing into uncharted territory, with twenty songs giving them more than enough space to experiment.
Various Artists – No Cover: Carpark’s 21st Anniversary Covers Compilation
To celebrate the 21st anniversary of Carpark Records, the label recruited 21 artists from its present and past roster to cover their label mates. No Cover features contributions from Sad13, Cloud Nothings, The Beths, Emily Reo, Madeline Kenney, Dan Deacon, Johanna Warren, Melkbelly, Ed Schrader’s Music Beat, TEEN, and more. Some covers are faithful, while others reimagine the source material, but the album as a whole is a testament to the label’s lasting impact on the indie scene at large.
Phoebe Bridgers – “If We Make It Through December” (Merle Haggard cover)
Keeping with the tradition she started in 2017, Phoebe Bridgers has shared a special holiday track. This time, it’s a cover of Merle Haggard’s “If We Make It Through December,” a hopeful number that looks ahead to the year to come after a particularly difficult time. It’s a sparsely arranged track featuring little more than piano performed by longtime collaborator Ethan Gruska, showcasing Bridgers’ melancholy vocals and the narrative lyrics.
Growing Stone – “Party City”
Skylar Sarkis has spent the better part of the last five years touring full time as vocalist/guitarist of New York punk band Taking Meds. One of the side effects of Taking Meds (hehe, get it?) was that Sarkis had to table his solo project Growing Stone indefinitely. Now, with touring not on the table, Sarkis finally had the time to revisit the Growing Stone project and complete his debut album I Had Everybody Snowed. “Party City” is an impressive lo-fi number centered around a drum machine with a chorus that evokes one of the more dialed-back, melodic iterations of late Nirvana.
Some artists covered here are Warner Music artists. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.