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 an impressive new single from Mitski, the intense new album from The World Is…, and another beautiful Big Thief single. Check out the rest of the best new indie music below.
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James Blake – Friends That Break Your Heart
Two years removed from the release of Assume Form, James Blake is back with his fifth studio album. Friends That Break Your Heart is an impressive new entry to Blake’s catalogue, chock full of contributions from his famous friends, including SZA, Finneas, and his girlfriend Jameela Jamill.
Porches – All Day Gentle Hold !
Porches has been more or less prolific over the last decade or so, with each release building upon the last. Aaron Maine’s latest effort, All Day Gentle Hold !, might just be his finest to date, incorporating all of the sounds that have generated hype around the project while channeling all influences and sonic experimentation into an impressively succinct 25-minute album.
Magdalena Bay – Mercurial World
After gaining a cult following from their 2020 EP, A Little Rhythm And A Wicked Feeling, Magdalena Bay set their sights on a full-length debut. The resulting Mercurial World finds Mica Tenenbaum and Matthew Lewin reveling in the insanity of isolation by creating a musical world that they could fully live within. It’s an impressive debut for the duo, one that sets the bar quite high for what’s to come.
The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die – Illusory Walls
It’s been four years since we last heard from legendary emo outfit The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die. Now, the band is back with Illusory Walls, which Steven Hyden called in a recent Indie Mixtape newsletter “their most intense effort yet.” Featuring two tracks with runtimes longer than 15 minutes, it’s clear that the band has a lot to say, and they’re not going to be shy about it.
Mitski – “Working For The Knife”
After years of silence, Mitski suddenly returned last week with the new song “Working For The Knife.” Hopefully our first taste of a new album, the song is built atop asynchronous beats and Mitski’s signature vocal styling as she sings about what she described in a statement as “going from being a kid with a dream, to a grown up with a job, and feeling that somewhere along the way you got left behind.”
Gang Of Youths – “The Man Himself”
Gang Of Youths have been popping up here and there over the last few months, building anticipation for their forthcoming studio album. “The Man Himself” looks to be the first proper preview of that as-yet-untitled album, which Adrian Spinelli describes for Uproxx as opening with “pristine strings that unfurl into a drum and bass beat before Le’aupepe delivers the song’s chorus with an emotive tour de force akin to Bono.”
Big Thief – “Change”
Just a few days after announcing that their new album is going to be a massive 20-track double LP, Big Thief shared another new single. “Change” falls into Adrianne Lenker’s description of the new album as featuring tracks that are “raw and no fat, just songs, and acoustic.” After dropping the soaring, almost shoegaze-inspired “Little Things,” the latest single shows the wide spectrum of sounds that will appear on the new record.
Tears For Fears – “The Tipping Point”
For the first time in 17 years, we have new music from legendary English dream pop band Tears For Fears. “The Tipping Point” incorporates all of the intensity and melodrama that brought the band to prominence in the mid-80’s, channeled through a modern lens. The timing of the new song couldn’t be better, as fans (like myself) have been revisiting albums like Songs From The Big Chair to celebrate the incoming spooky season.
Tonstartssbandht – “Pass Away”
Florida-based due Tonstartssbandht is prepping their first album since 2017, and the forthcoming Petunia “feels like a potential breakthrough,” wrote Steven Hyden in a recent Indie Mixtape newsletter. New single “Pass Away” features vocal stylings reminiscent of Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young over dreamy 12-string guitars as the track picks up speed and drives toward an extended melodic guitar solo section. Everything I’ve just described is something we need more of in 2021.
Diners – “Brain Song”
Arizona solo act Diners is gearing up to announce a new record to close out 2021, but for now, Tyler Blue Broderick has graced us with one of the simplest and most infectious hooks in recent memory. Layering groovy, warbling instrumentals with straightforward vocals, “Brain Song” will be a fall playlist staple.
Talker – “Sad Chick”
Talker’s “Suck Up” was one of my favorite tracks of 2020, and it was very exciting to get new music from Celeste Tauchar in my inbox last week. “Sad Chick” is another excellent pop punk-inspired track that is built upon drum machines and soundscapes, vulnerable in its songwriting but empowering in its delivery.
Bent Knee – “Queer Gods”
Bent Knee make a type of avant garde alternative music that’s reminiscent of Glass Beach, which is to say that it resists genre conventions and creates a world unto its own. “Queer Gods” previews the forthcoming album Frosting, and has flourishes of horns, synthesizers, and smooth vocals that will certainly make Bent Knee stand out from the crowd.
Near Tears – “Love Under Surveillance”
“Love Under Surveillance,” the latest track from Southern California-based artist Near Tears (aka Justine Dorsey) takes cues from the classic era of new wave bands that played at CBGB in New York. The inspiration is clear in Dorsey’s vocal delivery and the clean guitar arrangements, echoing the greats like Blondie and The Pretenders. “I grew up in a really manicured place, learning how to be wild,” Dorsey explained in a statement. “Even if it was just from staying in, watching hours of sty footage of my favorite bands on YouTube.”
Some artists covered here are Warner Music artists. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.