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 Weyes Blood getting bouncy, Broken Social Scene trying out the short-format album, and Field Medic emerging with one of the best songs of this young year. Yeah, it was a pretty great week for new indie music.
SWMRS — Berkeley’s On Fire
It’s hard to be the child of a punk rock legend. And while SWMRS might always be a little bit in the shadow of Green Day, as their drummer is the child of Billie Joe Armstrong, their latest pushes the band into their own spotlight like never before. Berkeley’s On Fire, named after their hometown, is full of punk attitude and modern recording flourishes, creating something that sounds as rooted in the past as it is the present.
Broken Social Scene — Let’s Try The After (Vol. 1)
Toronto’s Broken Social Scene have been indie rock mainstays for two decades now, managing to get the band back together every few years and return to form. They’ve never really been an EP band, and their latest seems to capitalize on the inspiration that came with their 2017 LP, Hug Of Thunder. In a press release, leader Kevin Drew summed up the offering: The point is to keep going. We have more to give. These songs have lived beside us and become our commencement party while continuing together. We hope you enjoy this EP for you and me.”
Field Medic — “Henna Tattoo”
If you haven’t heard of LA folie Field Medic yet, allow this to be your opportunity to get acquainted. “Henna Tattoo” harkens back to the best of lo-fi aughts indie, with its plaintive melody and reflective lyrics. Coupled with a homespun video that includes some nifty dance moves, the brief number conjures up more emotion in just a few minutes than some albums muster in their entire runtime.
Weyes Blood — “Everyday”
With her new album, Titanic Rising, due out in April, Weyes Blood continues to impress with her advance offerings. As our own Chloe Gilke said about the tune, “The song shows off a different sound than we’ve ever heard from Weyes Blood, demonstrating Mering’s impressive elasticity as a songwriter and performer.”
Jenny Lewis — “Heads Gonna Roll”
Jenny Lewis doesn’t need help to craft a masterpiece. But though she stands out just fine on her own, she brings some stellar collaborators along for her latest, “Heads Gonna Roll.” Ringo Starr plays drums and Heartbreaker Benmont Tench plays a killer organ solo while Lewis delivers her always-captivating and insightful lyrics. All hail the queen, or watch your head roll, too.
Harlem — Oh Boy
About a decade ago, Harlem emerged out of Austin with garage rock fury, offering up infectious jams that seemed prophetic of the trends that were about to come in the genre. And then they went away, working on solo projects and never really capitalizing on the success of their Matador Records debut, Hippies. Now they are back with a T-Rex sound, based in Los Angeles to give the band another go.
Liily — “Sepulveda Basin”
Los Angeles teenage rock band Liily presents this sleek and groovy new tune, “Sepulveda Basin.” Don’t let their age fool you, these San Fernando Valley residents make alt-rock steeped in tradition, which their upcoming debut EP will underscore. In the video for the song, they’ve managed to capture the music’s spirit. Uproxx’s Chloe Gilke wrote, “It captures the energy of those days as a teenager spent doing nothing with friends, where you could waste three hours in a Target and another hour sitting in the parking lot and somehow have fun the whole time.”
La Dispute — “Rhondite And Grief”
Each of Michigan rockers La Dispute’s advance singles from their upcoming Panorama has shown off a different side of the band, and “Rhondite And Grief” finds maybe their best qualities at work. Frontman Jordan Dreyer starts at nearly a whisper and lets the lyrical intensity build, finding subtle melodic flourishes that aren’t quite singing, but aren’t far from it. When the horn section kicks in, it finds a band in full mastery of their gifts, breaking down the barriers of hardcore genre boundaries to something that is distinctly their own.
Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings — “When A Cowboy Trades His Spurs For Wings”
If this song sound familiar, it’s because it is. “When A Cowboy Trades His Spurs For Wings” is nominated for the Oscar for Best Original Song for its rendition by Tim Blake Nelson in the Coen Brothers film The Ballad Of Buster Scruggs . Its songwriters, Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings, are the ones actually up for the award, and have released this gorgeous version of the song ahead of the ceremony this weekend. There’s no chance it wins, (thanks “Shallow”), but it is stunning regardless.
Lydia Ainsworth — “Can You Find Her Place”
Canadian singer/songwriter/producer Lydia Ainsworth recently moved to Los Angeles from Toronto, and her upcoming album will be her first in her new home. “Can You Find Her Place” incorporates a ’90s R&B sound that’s not typically associated with her work for an infectious taste of her upcoming album, Phantom Forest. Ainsworth called the tune “a song about Mother Nature’s elusive yet powerful strength in the face of adversity.”
Some artists covered here are Warner Music artists. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.
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