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 a full-band track from Julien Baker, the two(!) new solo efforts from Big Thief’s Adrianne Lenker, and a reflective new Bruce Springsteen album featuring the return of the E Street Band. Check out the rest of the best new indie music below.
Bruce Springsteen – Letter To You
On his twentieth album, Bruce Springsteen finally comes to term with his own myth. Recorded live in the studio with the legendary E Street Band over the course of just a few days and comprised of songs that look back on a historic life and career, Letter To You is “the most immediate and best-sounding album Springsteen has made since the ’80s,” according to Steven Hyden for Uproxx.
Gorillaz – Song Machine, Season One: Strange Timez
Gorillaz have been rolling out the first installment of their Song Machine series for the better part of 2020, dropping singles here and here featuring the likes of Elton John, Slowthai, and The Cure’s Robert Smith. It all culminates in the hourlong Song Machine, Season One: Strange Timez, which, despite the fragmented release schedule, feels like Gorillaz’ most cohesive release in years.
Adrianne Lenker – Songs and Instrumentals
Within a year of Big Thief’s dual album release in 2019, Adrianne Lenker can’t seem to be stopped, as she has now released two new solo albums that were born out of quarantine. Songs is a more proper folk-rock album, while Instrumentals is comprised of two twenty-minute soundscapes. As the leaves turn and the days grow shorter, I can’t think of a more fitting pair of albums to soundtrack autumnal living.
Jeff Tweedy – Love Is The King
Jeff Tweedy’s two new 2020 projects — a new book and a new album — are both now out in the world. Love is The King is a collection of country songs that find Tweedy counting his blessings, while never shying away from the constant barrage of fear that we experience in everyday life.
The Mountain Goats – Getting Into Knives
Getting Into Knives is the second Mountain Goats album of 2020, and their third overall since 2019. There are few songwriters that able to dig into the human condition as succinctly and cuttingly as John Darnielle, who can “always delivers quality along with quantity,” writes Steven Hyden in the October 19 Indie Mixtape newsletter
Jean Dawson – Pixel Bath
In press materials, Jean Dawson is described as an “experimental pop polymath,” and his new album Pixel Bath certainly lives up to the term. Seamlessly integrating hip-hop beats and rock drums, Pixel Bath toes the line at the intersection of genre, leaving something for everyone.
Pup – This Place Sucks Ass EP
Perpetual pessimist Canadians Pup are back with a new EP, fittingly titled This Place Sucks Ass. Although the songs about getting stung by a bee and other unfortunate circumstances, Pup, as always, are able to funnel the existential dread and anxiety of their lyrics into an onslaught of punk magic that sounds and feels like an uplifting rallying cry.
The Big Easy – A Long Year
The Big Easy caught our attention with the music short film for their recent singles “Alone” and “Fake It Till I Make It,” which found both tracks working in tandem to tell a story about trying to fit in by also being yourself. The tracks and more are all included in A Long Year, an album that is emo, pop-punk, and indie rock all at the same time. It’s hard to pin down The Big Easy, which is what makes them so exciting.
Julien Baker – “Faith Healer”
On her first single since teaming up with Phoebe Bridgers and Lucy Dacus for Boygenius in 2018, “Faith Healer” came with the announcement of Julien Baker’s third solo album Little Oblivions. The track signals a bit of a sonic shift for Baker, employing a more full-band approach wherein almost all of the instruments — including bass, drums, synthesizers, banjo, and mandolin — were played by Baker herself.
The Wonder Years – “Brakeless”
To celebrate ten years of their breakthrough album The Upsides, The Wonder Years’ vocalist Dan Campbell found himself digging through hard drives of old demos and voice notes. “Brakeless” started an idea that Campbell never brought to the band while they were writing the album originally, and was fleshed out in the studio with the new songwriting experience the band brings to the process. The result is one of the band’s biggest and most infectious choruses to date, and evidence that these Philadelphia punks still have what it takes to make magic.
Tigers Jaw – “Cat’s Cradle”
Tigers Jaw’s spin was one of the most underrated indie albums of 2017, and now the band is back with I Won’t Care How You Remember Me, which is due in March. “Cat’s Cradle” is the first preview from the album, a synth-forward track with Brianna Collins taking the lead vocal role for an infectious and gorgeous indie-pop track.
Strange Ranger – “Needing You”
It’s been a little more than a year since we interviewed Strange Ranger about their album Remembering The Rockets. “Needing You” is the band’s first new music since their adventurous lo-fi 2019 LP, and it takes on a bit more production, with clear inspiration in equal parts from ’90s Brit-pop, while also incorporating some more modern vocal elements like autotune.
Glass Beach – “1015”
Released last year, The First Glass Beach Album was one of the most exciting releases of 2019. “1015” doesn’t leave behind the band’s penchant for synth arrangements, but also brings in a more robust production and an epic guitar solo that makes the track feel like a soundtrack for a futuristic steampunk Blade Runner city. (This is a good thing.)
The Sonder Bombs – “Crying Is Cool”
For their sophomore album Clothbound, Cleveland’s The Sonder Bombs teamed up with Hop Along guitarist Joe Reinhart (Modern Baseball, Joyce Manor) as a producer, and the result is a more polished and refined version of Sonder Bombs than we heard on their debut album Modern Female Rockstar. “Crying Is Cool” features doo-wop vocals in the verses and a massive indie-pop hook in the chorus, making it an instantly exciting listen.
Miloe – “Change Your Mind”
With a new EP called Greenhouse right around the corner, 19-year-old Minneapolis songwriter Miloe delivers the goods with “Change Your Mind.” With light percussion and layered vocals, “Change Your Mind” takes on a ’90s R&B influence that gives Miloe an impressive appeal and makes Greenhouse and EP to keep your eyes and ears out for when it drops later this week.
Sydney Sprague – “Steve”
Sydney Sprague’s new album is called Maybe I Will See You At The End Of The World, and if that doesn’t resonate in 2020, I don’t know what will. “Steve” is a taste of pop-punk goodness with heavy instrumentals and Sprague’s alt-rock drawl, telling the story of losing touch with someone she once loved.
Some artists covered here are Warner Music artists. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.