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 the mighty return of retro rockers Cage The Elephant, an excellent new album from Girlpool, and a Perfume Genius rework of one of our favorite songs of last year. Yeah, it was a pretty great week for new indie music.
Girlpool – What Chaos Is Imaginary
There’s something about the embrace of Cleo Tucker and Harmony Tividad on the cover of their new album, What Chaos Is Imaginary, that is striking. Maybe it’s just the intimacy between the two bandmates, or the sky behind them that exudes optimism, but there is warmth and comfort in the image stops me in my tracks every time I see it. Girlpool’s music operates the same way, with this third career collection expanding upon the duo’s full-band sound and penchant for affecting harmonies.
Beirut — Gallipoli
It wasn’t much more than a decade ago that the trumpet-tooting, globally influenced indie of Beirut was one of the hottest names in music. And though the popularity of the project may have waned, Zach Condon’s music continues to be as evocative and striking as ever. The title track, in particular, captures mournful nostalgia in a way that few other artists can match.
Cage The Elephant — “Ready To Let Go”
There has not been a better hit-making band in the alternative world in the last decade. Full stop. And though it seems like Kentucky’s Cage The Elephant never quite get the respect they deserve, they just keep producing infectious rock songs that doesn’t have many peers. “Ready To Let Go” is as sturdy and inviting as anything they’ve ever done, beginning their latest album cycle with a bang.
Perfume Genius/Empress Of — “When I’m With You”
Empress Of’s “When I’m With You” is the best song she’s ever written, and was one of our favorite tracks of 2018. It’s a pretty perfect tune that doesn’t need anything altered, yet still, this rework from Perfume Genius takes the song to unexpected places. It’s slowed down and dramatic, with Mike Hadreas’s fragile vocals combining with the original for a piece that gives the original new meaning. If it’s not broken, sometimes it’s still worth working on.
Billie Eilish — “Bury A Friend”
17-year-old singer Billie Eilish has finally announced her debut album will be coming out, titled When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?. In celebration of that, she also offered her latest single. “Bury A Friend” is glitchy and full of despair, with some Yeezus screams thrown in for good measure. There might not be a more exciting young artist in music.
Lucy Dacus — “La Vie En Rose”
Any day when Lucy Dacus offers up a new recording feels like a holiday. But for 2019, she’s decided to release new covers on a holiday schedule. Her version of Edith Piaf’s iconic “La Vie En Rose” is in honor of Valentine’s Day, but expect more for Independence Day, Halloween, and, uh, Springsteen’s Birthday. You know, the important holidays.
Spielbergs — This Is Not The End
Boisterous, good mood rock isn’t as common as it used to be, and Norway’s Spielbergs show how that can work to a band’s advantage. Superchunk and Japandroids are both touchstones that make sense, with the band showing a strong sense of melody and enough energy to power a rocket ship. As debut records go, they don’t get more fist-pumping than this.
Emily Reo — “Strawberry”
Songwriter Emily Reo hasn’t put out a full-length since 2013, but her penchant for homespun, adventurous recording reaches its natural peak on her latest offering, “Strawberry.” The first offering from her upcoming album, Only You Can See It, the track offers up video game electronics and a booming pop catharsis that feels perfectly at home in a post-Grimes world. It’s a delightfully assured song that showcases an artist stretching her legs out and owning her own space.
Thyla — What’s On Your Mind
Shoegaze is alive and well, and it’s in the hands of Brighton band Thyla on the lead track to their new EP, titled Only Ever. The rest of the collections drifts from a singular sound, with late-’80s/early-’90s alternative rock standing as a throughline for the record. It ultimately feels like a showcase for a bright young band proving what they can do, making them one of the most exciting young British acts currently emerging.
The Mountain Goats — “Younger”
Lately, indie songwriting legend John Darnielle and his band The Mountain Goats have been turning hard into idiosyncratic interests without self-consciousness. That meant an album about wrestling, an album about goths, and, now, wizard and dragon-featuring fantasy. Darnielle is a lyrical genius, so it always works on a certain level, even as the songs become more and more esoteric. And if nothing else, “Younger” offers us an incredible saxophone breakdown that has not been heard in the project’s 25+ years of recording.
Some artists covered here are Warner Music artists. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.
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