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 was more about songs than albums, with Lana Del Rey offering up another stellar new song from her 2019 new album, the mighty return of Cass McCombs, and an LCD Soundsystem cover that is sure to get you moving. Yeah, it was a pretty great week for new indie music.
The Tracks — Treasured Memories
Los Angeles rockers The Tracks offer up a debut album that feels as vital as any rock record of late. As I wrote in my review, “It’s the urgency of young men who’ve lived a hard life and know to make their moment count. It’s the urgency of Latin Americans who don’t know where their own country is headed and how much longer they have until their whole way of life comes crashing down. It’s the urgency that many of the voices that have dominated indie rock for the past couple decades couldn’t possibly convey out of sheer privilege or just ambivalence.”
Lana Del Rey — “How To Disappear”
The Jack Antonoff collaborations that Lana Del Rey has been releasing in advance of her upcoming album have been among the finest music of her career. Even on this piano ballad, Del Rey seems more comfortable in her own skin than she’s ever been, less interested in referencing the old Hollywood iconography that she often resorts to than referencing herself. Finally, Lana feels bigger than her influences. Her influences, rather, are indebted to her.
Cass McCombs — “Sleeping Volcanos”
Cass McCombs’ quiet brilliance in the indie sphere has gone underappreciated for decades now. And, that’s probably how the notoriously media-shy artist wants it. On his latest, Uproxx’s Caitlin White writes, “It’s a song that spins out with the meditative grace and quiet hypnotism that has long marked his songwriting, managing to reference Armageddon, Babylon, and the beat going on and on all while holding together a cohesive thread.”
King Princess — “P*ssy Is God”
Even with turning down appearances opening for Harry Styles, King Princess can’t avoid their star rising rapidly. With her latest single, Mikaela Straus crafts what Uproxx’s Chloe Gilke calls “a romantic anthem,” filled with sharp humor and hooks for days, proving to be one of the most exciting voices to come out of the pop world this year.
Harlem — “Swervin”
Do you remember 2010? The great year that brought such classics as My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, This Is Happening, The Suburbs, and countless others was also a particularly ripe time for small indie rock. It’s that year that Austin garage rockers Harlem offered up their Matador Records debut and second studio album, Hippies, a record that seemed to predate the Burger Records-wave that would characterize the decade to come. After years away, the band is back with a particularly strong resurfacing, this time sounding like T-Rex rather than trying to relive their past exploits.
LCD Soundsystem — “(We Don’t Need This) Fascist Groove Thang”
LCD Soundsystem is James Murphy’s baby, that much is never in doubt. Still, when the band busts out a cover, be it their recently released Chic reimagining or this Heaven 17 rendition, it’s nice to be reminded of just what a key part that Nancy Whang plays in the group. She’s more than capable of taking the lead without losing sight of the band’s central voice, just yet another in the myriad of reasons why LCD’s comeback has been completely essential.
Tender — “Closer Still”
Darkness and light live side by side on the new song from British duo Tender. “Closer Still” is in one sense a dancefloor-ready anthem, all bass-forward and neon colored, but still the song seems firmly placed under the cover of darkness, with the vocal delivery hinting at something sinister cloaked just out of view.
Pistol Annies — Interstate Gospel
Country artists Miranda Lamber, Ashley Monroe, and Angaleena Presley come together once again for their supergroup Pistol Annies. As Uproxx’s Caitlin White notes in her review of the record, they “have written a collection of songs that target the experience of those underserved populations with countrypolitan sass. The divorced, the townies and the women of the world deserve anthems of anger, renewal, and grace just as much as any collective on the planet — and might need them more than anyone else just to survive.”
Conor Oberst & Phoebe Bridgers — “LAX”
Conor Oberst and Phoebe Bridgers have found their voice intertwined frequently since the latter has emerged as a buzzy songwriter, with Bridgers opening for Oberst, Oberst popping up on her album, and the pair often finding their way to meet up on stage for any number of collaborations. In this latest for Oberst oldie “LAX,” Uproxx’s Chloe Gilke writes, “The song is more poignant as a duet, with both asking “why’d you make me fall in love with you?” singing to one another but sounding alone and far away.
Thundercat, Badbadnotgood, Flying Lotus — “King Of The Hill”
What’s better than two great songwriters? How about three of modern masters of grooves. Thundercat, Badbadnotgood, and Flying Lotus all come together to celebrate the label Brainfeeder’s 10th anniversary. The song is chilled-out and wobbly, like a long sip of something strong, signifying all that is great about this landmark label, and just how bright its future looks.