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, of pop, or of 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 a collaboration with a Japanese electro-pop artist from Chvrches, splendid returns from Phosphorescent and Robyn, and an album from Amanda Shires that might be her breakthrough. It was a pretty great week for indie music.
Amanda Shires — To The Sunset
In his recent RX interview with Amanda Shires, our own Steven Hyden called the album a “breakthrough” for the songwriter, which has been a long time coming. “To The Sunset is ultimately concerned with comprehending the madness of modern times, and the necessary task of reaching out to others in order to connect and heal,” he wrote. For fans of Americana and its surrounding sounds, the album is a must-hear.
Robyn — “Missing U”
Despite the eight-year gap between Robyn‘s last solo album, Body Talk, and now, the pop genius feels as relevant today as ever. Her brand of pop music that doesn’t feel particularly tied to trends — but, rather, sets them — has led to a generation of pop artists that don’t need Top 40 success to find their audience. On her latest, Robyn makes the time that her fans have waited for the Body Talk follow-up feel worth the wait, with a song that pulses and hums and virtually pushes its listeners to the dancefloor.
Death Cab For Cutie — “Autumn Love”
The new Death Cab For Cutie album, Thank You For Today, might be their best record in a decade. And one of the major characteristics of the record is that it hits on the band’s strengths without relying on the studio experimentation that has characterized their more recent work. “Autumn Love” is a great example, with its booming chorus and general warmth, finding that rare center of the Venn diagram where a band is satisfying both themselves and their audience.
Phosphorescent — “New Birth In New England”
Speaking of long breaks between albums, it’s been five years since Phosphorescent last released a record, 2013’s beloved Muchacho. In the time between, Matthew Houck moved to Nashville, started a family, and built a new recording studio. Still, the Paul Simon-esque new song feels very much in line with the project’s oeuvre, which has always taken its cues from the great rock and country songwriters. At this point, Houck deserves to be spoken of in the same breath.
Interpol — “Number 10”
In his recent RX interview with Interpol, our own Steven Hyden noted “Interpol’s brand is making music that sounds exactly like Interpol, and Marauder maintains Interpol’s monopoly on this very specific sonic property.” “Number 10,” their latest single, reaffirms this idea, that the band has crafted a signature sound that sounds unmistakably like them. It’s another full-steam-ahead rager from a band that excels at exactly that. What more could you want?
Spiritualized — “Here It Comes (The Road) Let’s Go”
Some of the best music that Spiritualized has made in their career combines rootsy rock traditions with psychedelic otherworldliness, evoking both the past and the future with equal weight. Their latest song leans on the former until its liftoff of a conclusion, hammered home by the artwork of leader Jason Pierce dressed like an astronaut. It’s business as usual for a band that’s been making classics for more than 20 years.
Chvrches — “Out Of My Head” Feat. Wednesday Campanella
Arriving just a couple months after their latest album, Chvrches are back with a peppy collaboration with Japanese electro-pop group Wednesday Campanella. The song reveals the two bands to be a pretty perfect match for each other and should help both find new audiences through the cross-cultural collaboration.
Jade Bird — “Uh Huh”
Jade Bird has recently been getting some notice in the alternative world, but her latest falls squarely between American and indie sensibilities. Her voice is almost impossible to place, sometimes affected like First Aid Kit, irreverent like Courtney Barnett, and punky like Courtney Love. But the lasting impression is of a songwriter that demands attention.
Anna Calvi — “Hunter”
Anna Calvi is a guitar virtuoso and stellar songwriter who is criminally underrated. Full stop. On the title track to her upcoming album, we get a healthy dose of the latter of these, as Calvi is sensual and precise, letting every syllable linger and float, evoking both Kate Bush and Dire Straits for a song that sounds like nothing else being created today.
The Tallest Man On Earth — “Down In My Heart”
The Tallest Man On Earth is quietly writing incredible songs for his newest project, When The Bird Sees The Solid Ground. He’s been releasing a song monthly and his latest, “Down In My Heart,” finds the Swedish artist hitting on everything he does well — crafting a majestic melody and carrying it beautifully with his inimitable voice.