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 a great duet from The National’s Matt Berninger and Julien Baker, Maggie Rogers nailing a cover of a Taylor Swift classic, and Cass McCombs continuing to prove why he’s one of indie’s most dependable songwriters. Yeah, it was a pretty great week for new indie music.
Matt Berninger, Julien Baker, and Stephen Altman — “All I Want”
Julien Baker has been killing the collaborations in 2018, with her incredible Boygenius project and now this single with The National’s Matt Berninger. The two are masters of the melencholy in their own right, and together, they take this single for Planned Parenthood through the emotional roof.
Maggie Rogers — “Tim McGraw” (Taylor Swift cover)
With her debut album due out next month, Maggie Rogers has already conquered the big stages of Saturday Night Live and music festivals. But filling the shoes of Taylor Swift is something that seemed like a tall order, and she handles it with grace on this Spotify single. It’s one of Swift’s most iconic songs and Maggie gives it her own spin, showcasing the power of her voice along with her impecable taste.
Cass McCombs — “Estrella”
Cass McCombs is an indie lifer who still has a lot of new tricks up his sleeve. On his latest, “Estrella,” the nomadic songwriter finds warmth and nuance in this tribute to Juan Gabriel. This, along with the previously released “Sleeping Volcanos,” bode well for his upcoming album, Tip Of The Sphere.
The Decemberists — Traveling On
The Decemberists are now firmly entrenched as the elder statesmen of indie, but this brief EP is a nice reminder of the endelessly hooky and sturdy songwriting of leader Colin Meloy. The upbeat lead song “Down On The Knuckle” and the longing title-track make it worth the price of admission on their own to hear the band embrace their R.E.M. influence. It’s songs like these that the band is at their very best.