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 offered up an all-timer from Lana Del Rey, great new albums from the likes of Metric and Joyce Manor, and Cat Power returning to her cover song ways with an unforgettable take on Rihanna. It was a pretty great week for indie music.
Christine And The Queens — Chris
Christine And The Queens, the recording moniker of French songwriter Héloïse Letissier, have already proved a formidable festival force, years before releasing an album that American audiences anticipated. But Letissier’s French success seems to be catching on, and her brand of pop that openly delves with gender and identity couldn’t feel more relevant for 2018. Whether this is her breakout remains to be seen, but either way, one of pop’s most original and captivating voices is back in a big way.
Metric — Art Of Doubt
For the past decade, Canadian synth-rock band Metric have never seemed quite comfortable in either the indie or the alternative worlds. You’re likely to see them opening up major arena runs from The Smashing Pumpkins or Paramore, but you’re just as likely to see leader Emily Haines taking the time to tour as a featured vocalist in Broken Social Scene. On their latest album, Metric again proves they can have it all, as the cultural cachet of being an integral part of the aughts indie scene and the big-room bona fides to take their songs through the stratosphere.
Joyce Manor — Million Dollars To Kill Me
Five albums in, and there is no doubt that Joyce Manor knows who they are. The So-Cal pop-punks have been crafting music too hip for the Warped Tour and too blue collar for the indie blogs since their inception, with at least the latter of those softening their stance over the years. But what makes Joyce Manor really standout is how well they know their way around their form, coming across like grizzled vets when it comes to structure while still infusing their songs with the youthful ebullience that the genre demands.
Lana Del Rey — “Venice B*tch”
The high points of Lana Del Rey’s career stretch farther into the sky than most artists, including unimpeachable jams like “Video Games” and “Love.” It’s with that in mind that a song like “Venice B*tch” exists, where it makes you wonder if it is indeed the best thing she has ever recorded. It certainly exists on its own plain, stretching out nearly 10 minutes and featuring a sprawling, mostly instrumental midsection that recalls a song like Kanye West’s “Runaway” in how it evolves away from its core. Lana is out of pocket on this one, redefining what a Lana Del Rey song is, and the results are nothing short of brilliant.
Cat Power — “Stay”
Between Rihanna’s original, 30 Seconds To Mars making it a live staple, or Vin Diesel’s weird-ass social media viral moment, “Stay” is a deeply ingrained part of the music consciousness. But Cat Power still manages to bring something new to her version, just as she has across her many covers over the last 20 years of her career. The core of “Stay” remains familiar, but it’s most interesting in the subtle deviations, with Cat Power never feeling totally beholden to her script, fully confident in her own vision for this classic tune.
Mount Eerie — (After)
When news broke recently that Mount Eerie’s Phil Elverum had quietly married Michelle Williams, the internet’s collective heart swelled to epic proportions. Here were two people who had very publicly lost loved ones, finding a new chance at happiness with each other. It’s in this light that Mount Eerie’s live album exists, giving live renditions of songs from his previous two albums that dwelled directly on his mourning and grief. If this is the end of a chapter of music then it seems like an appropriate conclusion, where Elverum can move on artistically having chronicled this portion of his life with beauty and grace.
Mutual Benefit — Thunder Follows The Light
Jordan Lee has released a whopping nine offerings as Mutual Benefit, but chances are you first came to the project via the acclaimed, affecting 2013 record Love’s Crushing Diamond. On his latest, Lee is every bit as gentle and warm as his previous offerings, presenting the kind of music that demands meditation, that eases solitude, and that brings listeners into direct communion with the art’s creator.
Lens Mozer — “Cut My Heart In Two”
LA’s Lens Mozer captures some serious Captured Tracks on his track, “Cut My Heart In Two,” from the upcoming debut Don’t Stop. And by that I mean that the track is a hooky pop gem filtered through sepia-tinted nostalgia, a song whose humble resources can’t hold it back.
Colter Wall — “Thinkin’ On A Woman”
Much like his previous release from a few weeks back, “Saskatchewan In 1881,” “Thinkin’ On A Woman” finds the Canadian country singer evoking classic cowboys of recording history. It’s no surprise that these songs follow a move to Nashville from Wall, as his new music evokes a timeless quality that feels drawn from the ghosts that hide in the corners of that city. It’s not just the level of competence that’s worth taking notice, but also captivating nature of his voice, assured of the fact that there is no one else quite making this brand of classic country in the same convincing manner.
Cloud Nothings — “Leave Him Now”
Ohio pop-punks Cloud Nothings have a knack for capturing feverish melodic bliss in a few short minutes (or, sometimes, much longer), and their latest, “Leave Him Now, doesn’t deviate from what they do well. It’s fiery and direct, with bandleader Dylan Baldi growling his way through to song’s aggressive conclusion.