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, of pop, or of 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 offered up the latest new records from Interpol and Blood Orange, the debut of supergroup Boygenius, and an Empress Of track that quickly jumps into the Best Of The Year conversation. It was a pretty great week for indie music.
Interpol — Marauder
Consistency is one of the best things a band can strive for, and Interpol’s ability to turn out a product that always sounds like themselves and still pushes their music to new creative peaks has made them one of the most enduring bands of the aughts. In his interview with the group, our own Steven Hyden notes that “Marauder puts the focus on the fiery interplay between the musicians.” When a band knows each other as well as these guys do, that’s a recipe for another memorable work.
Blood Orange — Negro Swan
Dev Hynes has made a name for himself both as a producer/songwriter for others (including the likes of Solange, Carly Rae Jepsen, and Haim) and for his own stellar Blood Orange project. His music can often feel fluid, with ideas pushed up against each other, rapidly shifting into the next. On his latest, our own Aaron Williams writes “Negro Swan is him granting permission, although it should never be needed, to grant yourself grace and the room to be yourself in all your ill-fitting inconvenience. Who cares what the establishment has to say? You belong.”
Lost Under Heaven — For The Wild
Since Wy Lyf unceremoniously ended in 2012, leader Ellery James Roberts has been making music with Ebony Hoorn as Lost Under Heaven, or LUH. Roberts’ voice remains as desperate and toasted as ever, but the project feels to be in a constantly evolving nature with this trio of new songs. One tune finds Hoorn taking a role at the center — and all are absent of the Haxan Cloak production that helped make their first album so memorable — but Roberts can craft an epic at will and these songs all go for broke, making LUH’s ambition their greatest asset.
Boygenius — “Me & My Dog,” “Bite The Hand,” and “Stay Down”
What happens when you get three of the best rising songwriters around and have them make some music together? Unsurprisingly, songs that bring out the best in all their creators. This isn’t a batch of material that had been collecting dust, unfit for their proper solo work. No, the Boygenius project feels as essential as any of Julien Baker, Lucy Dacus, or Phoebe Bridgers‘ masterful offerings. It’s enough to make music fans feel lucky just to experience it.
Devon Welsh — Dream Songs
Fans of Majical Cloudz will take joy in the fact that Devon Welsh’s first solo album since breaking up the project still sounds a lot like his better-known moniker. Gone are some of the electronic textures and they’re replaced by more organic, traditional instrumentation. But Welsh’s voice has always been the center of his music, and that remains on Dream Songs, as it stands as another collection of intimate, emotionally forthright material.
Soccer Mommy — “I’m On Fire”
In what is one of the most covered songs ever, with standout versions coming from the likes of Mumford & Sons, Chromatics, and Johnny Cash, Soccer Mommy takes a classic and makes it her own. The Springsteen tune is so sturdy that it stands up to most aesthetics, but really, this version makes you realize just how fully formed Soccer Mommy’s sound already is.
The Blaze — “Faces”
Rather than the dancefloor, The Blaze is music made by a French electronic duo for big screens, choosing the meeting point between sound and sight as the place for their songs to exist. “Faces” is built around stutter-steps and glitches, with its goal not being to leave the listener unsettled, but, rather, inspired. Every sound serves this end purpose, as the song builds and corrodes simultaneously.
Empress Of — “When I’m With Him”
With a fair amount of lyrics for her new single in Spanish, Los Angeles’ Empress Of is proving that she can impress is multiple languages. But her music speaks a universal language of pop bliss, and “When I’m With Him” might be her most accomplished release yet. Her upcoming album finds her working with outside producers, but make no mistake, Empress Of has the final word when it comes to her music. “It’s just more fun when there’s other people in the room,” she says.
Steady Holiday — Nobody’s Watching
Los Angeles songwriter Steady Holiday makes music that sounds timeless, relaxed and feathery, like a splash of cool water on a hot day. In a word, her music sounds refreshing. But lyrically, Steady Holiday has heavier thoughts on her mind. “I’ve been just as affected by our current politics as anyone, but it only takes one step back to realize these same figures have been present since the beginning of civilization,” she said in a statement. “This record is sort of an anthropological way of unpacking all this discomfort for me.”
Shannen Moser — “Haircut Song”
Philadelphia-based songwriter Shannen Moser showcases a timeless voice that spares no time in taking hold on the great new track, “Haircut Song.” Equally sweet and twangy, Moser could easily fit into the country tradition but the arrangement only hints at her relationship with that genre. Instead, it refuses to be that easily classified, stuffing in unexpected percussion and harmonies to lay a blanket for Moser’s voice to spread itself out and soak up the atmosphere.
Helena Deland — “Rise”
Montreal-based songwriter Helena Deland just released From The Series Of Songs ‘Altogether Unaccompanied’ Vol. I & II earlier this year, but she’s already back with more new music. Parts III and IV of the series are due out in October, which showcase more of what Uproxx’s Leah Lu called “a mastery of composing complex, tranquil, almost tragic harmonies, as well as zestier and springier tunes.” “Rise” sticks to the former of these types until the song’s latter half, when the percussion kicks in and finds the artist sounding more fully-realized than ever.
Colter Wall — “Saskatchewan In 1881”
If Saskatchewan was an American state, it would probably be Kansas or Nebraska, somewhere flat and in the middle, full of farms and prairies. It’s fitting, then, that this is the subject of the latest release from Colter Wall, a Candian country singer with a voice that sounds decades older than the artist and rooted in American traditions. “With this record, I really wanted people to look at our Western heritage and our culture,” Wall says of the upcoming release, with Canada taking the primary focus.