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 Cage The Elephant searching for the rock crown, Flying Lotus returning with David Lynch in tow, and Beck teaming up with Pharrell for a remarkably fun collaboration. Yeah, it was a pretty great week for new indie music.
Cage The Elephant — Social Cues
Cage The Elephant don’t really identify as rock musicians, but regardless, they are becoming one of the biggest rock bands in the world. As I wrote in my interview with them, “Every album from the band is equal parts reinvention and refinement, and Social Cues finds Cage The Elephant more confident than ever in that formula, not relying on the tricks that got them to this point, but moving bravely into the unknown.”
Elva — Winter Sun
In the first half of this decade, indie pop band Allo Darlin’ offered up three great albums whose muted fanfare resulted in the band ultimately calling it quits. But bandleader Elizabeth Morris is back with her partner Ola Innset on Winter Sun, the first album from their project Elva. Morris’ voice is just as soothing and sweet as ever, with inviting songwriting that harkens back to C-86, Belle & Sebastian, and twee-leaning aughts indie.
Field Medic — Fade Into The Dawn
Los Angeles songwriter Field Medic makes a big splash with his latest album. Writing about the record for Uproxx, Steven Hyden said, “The austere music is a nod to the early ’60s Bob Dylan albums that Patrick cut his teeth on — The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan is a particular favorite — though to his credit he’s not a slavish imitator intent on reviving a long-gone era. Rather, he’s taken the aesthetic of the road-weary troubadour and imbued it with a millennial sensibility.”
Kelsey Lu — Blood
Following 2016’s Church EP, Kelsey Lu is finally ready to unveil her debut album, Blood. She’s already been such a presence at festivals, guesting with other artists, and releasing her own music that it’s hard to believe this is still her first record. Jamie xx and Skrillex both feature as producers on some of the new tracks.
Flying Lotus — “Fire Is Coming” Feat. David Lynch
First singles from albums are generally about piquing interest. For Flying Lotus, who just announced his first proper album in five years, that means not even releasing something that would be considered a traditional song by most. “Fire Is Coming” sounds more like an interlude, with David Lynch babbling on over disturbing squeaks and creeks, setting the mood for what may come. It’s a supreme act of confidence and one that bodes well for this cycle for FlyLo.
Beck — “Saw Lightning”
2019 seems to be about showing off how well Beck works with others. We’ve seen him rap with Cage The Elephant, collaborate with Robyn and The Lonely Island for the second Lego Movie, and now, we witness what it’s like when Beck works with Pharrell. The tune is full of energy with a skittering beat, essentially an exercise in organized chaos, with Uproxx’s Derrick Rossignol noting, “It seems Pharrell (who also contributed drums, keyboards, and “mumbles” to the track) has amplified Beck’s experimental nature and made a genuinely interesting song.”
Ryan Pollie — “Get Better Soon”
Ryan Pollie continues the rollout of his first album under his own name with the gentle “Get Better Soon.” He describes it as both a love letter and a greeting card, with it’s openheartedness apparent within a couple seconds of listening. Pollie cites Kris Kristopherson as an influence and that’s apparent in Pollie’s refusal to obscure the sentiment behind overly flowery language or complicated metaphors. Sometimes just saying that you care is enough.
Drugdealer – Raw Honey
Los Angeles-based Drugdealer’s second album, Raw Honey, feels like a big score from the used vinyl sale rack. It’s not just rooted in the past, it encapsulates a golden age of LA tunes with bright arrangements and comforting melodies, never corny or flippant about the adoration for ’70s chilled-out songwriting. Weyes Blood shows up for guest vocals, aware that the two artists are working in similar traditions, crafting their own distinct visions of paisley-print throwbacks.
The Tallest Man On Earth – I Love You. It’s A Fever Dream
Sweedish songwriter Kristian Matsson, better known as The Tallest Man On Earth, offers up his first album in four years with I Love You. It’s A Fever Dream. Matsson has seen many comparisons to Bob Dylan in the past, but over the course of five albums now, that analog has slowly left as he’s carved out his own name for himself. This latest continues that trend.
Modest Mouse — “I’m Still Here”
Modest Mouse offered up a rare bit of new music for Record Store Day. After previously sharing A-side “Poison The Well,” the Washington band offered the brief, ‘tude-driven “I’m Still Here.” It’s a rare bit of straight-ahead rock from the band that harkens back to their earliest days, proving that the more things change, the more they stay the same.
Some artists covered here are Warner Music artists. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.
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