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 fresh versions of Christmas classics from Robyn and Steady Holiday, the closest thing to a Postal Service reunion that we’re likely to get, and great new songs from the likes of Jessica Pratt and Steve Gunn. Yeah, it was a pretty great week for new indie music.
Death Cab For Cutie — “Summer Years” (Jimmy Tamborello remix)
Though Death Cab For Cutie has built an illustrious career in their own right, there are some that will always consider Ben Gibbard’s album with The Postal Service as his greatest accomplishment. Still, they only offered one proper album more than a decade ago, and fans have only their recent reunion tour in 2013 to show for recent output. But this remix, from one Postal Service member to another, gives fans the closest thing they’ll get to new PS music, at least until Ben and Jimmy decide to really cash in, which seems unlikely to ever happen.
Robyn — “Last Christmas”
Tis the season for wonderful Christmas covers. And one of our favorite artists of the year offers up a version of one of the best holiday tunes of all time. It’s not quite as peppy as the Wham original, instead matching the music with the forlorn lyrics, as Robyn puts her own unique spin on the classic.
Jessica Pratt — “Poly Blue”
There’s a breeziness to this new Jessica Pratt track that can almost double as a sense of effortlessness, like the memory of a dream that took place on a tropical 1950s vacation. As our own Derrick Rossignol writes, “it’s a warm and languid track, made for allowing a lazy summer afternoon to wash over you.”
Steve Gunn — “Stonehurst Cowboy”
In 2016, Steve Gunn lost his father and “Stonehurst Cowboy” is an emotional tribute to him. The title is taken from the neighborhood that Gunn grew up in and his father is the titular cowboy, whom he describes as a tough guy with fast boxing hands and a wealth of stories from Vietnam. “My father was a positive and hilarious force among his family and friends for the rest of his life. I miss him dearly,” Gunn wrote about the song, and the tune does the man justice.
Phoebe Bridgers — “Friday I’m In Love” (The Cure Cover)
The Cure and Phoebe Bridgers ostensibly have little in common, besides the general sadness at the core of their music. But as Bridgers tackles this iconic song for Spotify, generations are bridged as Bridgers’ delicate, confident voice gives new life to the classic tune.
Steady Holiday — “Christmastime Is Here”
A seasonal jam from one of our favorite under-the-radar artists. LA’s Steady Holiday finds the perfect tune to suit her delicate vocals and feathery aesthetic. This song has always stood as one of the least hokey Christmas classics, imbued with just enough reflective sadness to accurately portray most people’s holiday experience.
Broken Bells — “Shelter”
What comes after After The Disco? Well, for Broken Bells, it is “Shelter, the duo of Danger Mouse and The Shins’ James Mercer first new material since 2015. The song drops the pair’s disco experimentation in favor of a big direct chorus that hits at what Mercer does best, while Danger Mouse’s crackling drums sand down the smooth songwriting.
Mormor — “Pass The Hours”
The chilled-out, dreamy indie rock of Mormor might still seem new to this world, but in his brief career he’s already proven to be without peer. There are bits throughout this latest song that feel familiar, from the guitar tone to the innate sense of melodic adventurousness, but the sum total doesn’t sound like anything else in music right now. Mormor continues to prove he’s either ahead of the curve or completely unaware that the curve exists.
La Dispute — “Rose Quartz / Fulton Street 1”
Michigan band La Dispute is known for combining genres, from math rock and post-hardcore to spoken word and jazz, but the best thing about the group is how the finished product pushes emotional boundaries into limitless destinations. On the first offering from their upcoming Epitaph album Panorama, the band is every bit as dramatic and explosive as ever, making music that doesn’t seek to find an easy, neat home in the modern climate. This is the stuff to shake walls and shatter windows.