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 saw Sleater-Kinney officially announce their new St. Vincent-produced LP, Julien Baker share two rare tracks, and Vagabon return with a new sound.
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Vagabon — “Flood Hands”
Shortly after announcing a support slot on Angel Olsen’s first full band tour since 2017, Vagabon — real name Laetitia Tamko — shared a brand new track to preview her forthcoming sophomore LP, All The Women In Me. “Flood Hands” a bit of a sonic departure from her previous work, leaning more heavily on electronic influences, but this just adds to the wonder of Vagabon. “It’s a seriously gorgeous song, sparkling with impeccable production (Tamko wrote and produced every song on All The Women In Me) and Tamko’s airy, evocative vocals,” writes Derrick Rossignol for Uproxx.
Sleater-Kinney — “The Future Is Here”
Only a few weeks after unveiling the barn-storming new track “Hurry On Home,” Sleater-Kinney has officially announced their new St. Vincent-produced LP The Center Won’t Hold will be out in August. With the announcement, they shared another new track, this one called “The Future Is Here,” which finds Corin Tucker lamenting about the ways that technology — and specifically smartphones — have affected the human experience. More reliant on synths instead of guitars, “The Future Is Here” sets out to make a statement about the state of our world.
Strange Ranger — “Living Free”
One of the most consistent and still underrated bands in the indie world, Strange Ranger are gearing up to release their new album Remembering The Rockets later this summer on Tiny Engines (our label of the year for two consecutive years). “Living Free” is the second sampling of the new record, and showcases a sound more influenced by the ethereal existentialism of The Cure than their DIY-adjacent peers.
Joan Shelley — “Coming Down For You”
For her first original song in two years, Joan Shelley retreated to Greenhaus Studios in Reykjavik, Iceland with longtime collaborators Nathan Salsburg, James Elkington, and Bonnie “Prince” Billy to piece together a uniquely beautiful number that places lightly plucked string instruments in the background, making sure that Shelley’s vocal talent is on full display. It’s certainly a promising preview of what’s to come.
Purple Mountains — “Darkness And Cold”
Returning from a decade of silence, Silver Jews’ David Berman has done a bit of rebranding, releasing a short EP called All My Happiness Is Gone under the name Purple Mountains. Now, “Darkness And Cold” is the first taste of Purple Mountains’ debut self-titled LP, showcasing Berman’s penchant for effortless, yet incredibly catchy songwriting. The whole thing comes with a very strange VHS-shot concept video, too, which is… something else.
Black Belt Eagle Scout — “At The Party”
If you didn’t already know, Black Belt Eagle Scout is the project of Katherine Paul, whose previous music revolved around a life as a radical indigenous queer feminist. On the new album At The Party With My Brown Friends, however, Paul is focused more on cultivating relationships and spreading love. The album’s title track is an astounding reverb-soaked number with sprawling guitars that track up and down the length of the neck as Paul easily transitions between near-whispered verses and heady falsetto choruses.
Julien Baker — “Red Door” / “Conversation Piece”
Any new Julien Baker is good Julien Baker. For this year’s Record Store Day, indie’s most insightful and devastating songwriter released a 7″ with two brand new tracks in extremely limited quantity. Now, she has unveiled the tracks on streaming services, making them available for all to sit with. “They’re right in the same vein as her past releases, elegant and emotional, packed with feeling and sad in spirit, if still hopeful in tone,” writes Caitlin White for Uproxx. Here’s to hoping Baker’s third full-length album is also imminent.
Julia Shapiro — Perfect Vision
Best known as the vocalist for beloved Seattle band Chastity Belt, Julia Shapiro focused inward for her debut solo album. Written and recorded in the midst of an existential crisis and more worldly overwhelming health issues, Perfect Vision ponders big questions: What does it mean to truly love yourself? What does self-improvement actually look like? Is social media destroying our lives? See above for Sleater-Kinney’s thoughts on the matter. If you’ve found yourself wondering one or more of these questions, Julia Shapiro’s Perfect Vision is here to ponder with you.
Bill Callahan — Shepherd In A Snakeskin Vest
It feels like Shepherd In A Snakeskin Vest, Bill Callahan’s first album in six years, has already come out three times already because of the release strategy of sharing 5-6 tracks in little bundles. Now, the full 20-track effort is available to your listening pleasure, a ruminating document of self-examination and what the singer-songwriter has been up to for the better part of the 2010s.
Crumb — Jinx
One of the most newly discussed projects in the indie sphere, Crumb has finally delivered their debut full-length album, Jinx. Spanning the full spectrum between bedroom pop and full reverb-soaked shoegaze, Jinx also touches upon elements of post-punk, pop-punk, funk, industrial noise, and more. It’s without a doubt one of the most diverse records I’ve heard in a long time. There is a saxophone on the first song. Get into it!
Some artists covered here are Warner Music artists. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.