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 strong new albums from Cass McCombs and Jessica Pratt, the return of rising power-pop stars Charly Bliss, and an LCD Soundsystem live record that could go down as an essential document for the band. Yeah, it was a pretty great week for new indie music.
Jessica Pratt — Quiet Signs
Los Angeles-based folk singer Jessica Pratt seems to operate from another dimension, where spare, quaint songs rooted in tradition have room to breathe. It almost feels like the antithesis to the monoculture of the moment, but Pratt doesn’t back down from an increasingly noisy world. She’s proof that some things are timeless, that her somber reflections can thrive in any circumstance. And, in many ways, she’s right.
Cass McCombs — Tip Of The Sphere
Cass McCombs is something of a nomad, having recorded in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Baltimore, and more over the course of his 16-year career. But his big physical moves are balanced by incremental recording shifts, a honing of his craft that has been nothing but a pleasure to witness. Uproxx’s Steven Hyden thinks the latest is his best yet, which is saying a lot if you’ve followed McCombs great output.
Music Inspired By The Film Roma
If you haven’t taken the time to queue up Roma on Netflix, it’s a powerful slow-burner, that saves up its big punches for when you are not ready for them. And in addition to the great film, there is now a collection of tunes inspired by it. Beck, Billie Eilish, Patti Smith, El-P, and Laura Marling are just a few of the artists who turn up for this.
Beck Feat. Robyn and The Lonely Island — “Super Cool”
The first Lego Movie was almost as memorable for its Tegan & Sara jam “Everything Is Awesome” as it is for the actual content of the film, speaking more to the enjoyment the song brings than the film’s quality. And its sequel is trying to catch lightning in a bottle again, this time with Beck and Robyn in tow. The Lonely Island pop up too, with lines like “It’s the credits, yeah that’s the best part / When the movie ends and the reading starts.” If the movie is nearly this fun, it won’t have a problem winning over fans of the original.
Charly Bliss — “Capacity”
Charly Bliss’ 2017 debut album, Guppy, was full of power-pop zest, and put them squarely on the radar as a band to watch. Now, they are back and their sophomore album’s first single, “Capacity,” and the Brooklyn four-piece sounds even more assured and confident. If the rest of their album, due in May, is this strong, Charly Bliss will be ready for a bigger spotlight.
LCD Soundsystem – Electric Lady Sessions
Besides a pretty impeccable recording output, which includes three stone-cold classics and their latest album which is strong in its own right, LCD Soundsystem are also known for their live prowess. This mostly comes from the magic of seeing layers and layers of electronic textures recreated live on stage without the help of the usual computer effects. But with these Electric Lady Sessions, James Murphy and company show just how important the live arrangements are to their legacy, with these versions of tunes essential for most fans of the band.
Fontaines DC — “Big”
As someone who’s already expounded on my love of the band Idles, it’s heartening to see that this form of aggressive post-punk is having something of a moment. The latest band evoking these vibes is Dublin’s Fontaines DC, whose track “Big” is a brief swell of adrenaline, the kind of song that leaves no fat to be trimmed. With their debut album, Dogrel, set to be released in April, expect more captivating rockers like this to come.
Flock Of Dimes — “The Sisters”
When Jenn Wasner isn’t making great indie tunes as Wye Oak, she’s exploring her side-project, Flock Of Dimes. For a new split single with Madeline Kenney, Wasner teams with her roomate on a pair of songs that seek to make sense of the music industry that seems to actively work against them.
Health — Vol. 4 :: Slaves Of Fear
Indie experimenters turned neo-industrial pulverizers Health return for their fourth career album. Expect the Los Angeles band to be as aggressive as ever, balancing moments of clarity and precision with more primordial emotions.
Nivhek — After Its Own Death / Walking In A Spiral Towards The House
As Grouper, Liz Harris is responsible for some of the most emotionally resonant, spacious, and warm ambient songwriting of the last decade. As our own Caitlin White wrote about her last year, “A Grouper song is a span of air that becomes a gateway. It is a tool, yes, but more than that, a Grouper song makes its own path.” For this non-Grouper release at Nivhek, Harris gets even more experimental with two sprawling compositions sure to inspire poetry in her devoted fanbase.
Some artists covered here are Warner Music artists. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.
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