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 a long-awaited tune from Robyn, a standout solo tune from Wilco leader Jeff Tweedy, and a Pinegrove record that attempts to overcome the scandal surrounding it. It was a pretty great week for indie music.
Restorations –- LP5000
Philly band Restorations can draw their lineage to bands like The Gaslight Anthem or even that band’s biggest influence, Bruce Springsteen. And in taking four years between their excellent last album, LP3, and their great new one, LP5000, the band has managed to keep things feeling immediate and lean, crafting a collection of songs that is as earnest as it is anthemic. In his interview with the band, Steven Hyden notes “Restorations have pared-down to the essentials — the wall of guitars, the jackhammer rhythm section, and Loudon’s emotionally direct storytelling. They sound leaner, and more determined, than ever.”
Pinegrove — Skylight
Pinegrove’s new album, Skylight, follows a year off for the band after songwriter Evan Stephens Hall followed through with therapy after allegations of sexual coercion. Whether or not their audience is ready for the band to return remains to be seen, but Skylight remains a smart and undeniably well-crafted document of the band from before their scandal.
Robyn — “Honey”
It’s no Tha Carter V, but Robyn’s “Honey” single has also been highly anticipated for more than a year-and-a-half. Originally featured on the HBO series Girls, her new album’s title track arrived this week and proved to be worth the wait. Robyn will always unfurl new scenes on well-traversed dancefloors, steeped in the idea that every club contains a thousand storylines, a thousand ways to interpret a dance or a look or a song. In Robyn’s hands, club music has endless possibilities, and the listener can get lost in the potential.
Jeff Tweedy — “Some Birds”
Jeff Tweedy has released a ton of music outside Wilco, ranging from the more experimental sounds of Loose Fur to his familial project simply called Tweedy. But in terms of music actually released under his own name, it’s mostly been music for film or his 2017 release of re-recorded old songs. On the solo single from his first album of original material as Jeff Tweedy, we get a feathery, comforting tune that shows the songwriter’s innate gifts. He almost makes it look too easy.
Empress Of — “Love For Me”
Following a more traditional pop banger that incorporated Spanish and English together, Empress Of shows her versatility with her latest single. In her write-up for the song, Uproxx’s own Chloe Gilke calls the song “electropop at its catchiest,” with the song notable for how the “sweet, romantic vibe of the melody contrasts with the lyrics.”
Marissa Nadler — For My Crimes
There’s a darkness to Marissa Nadler‘s songwriting that the Bostonian embraces, which typically gets her classified as goth-adjacent. But there’s so much more complexity to her music than simple designations do justice to. On her latest album, she gets help from the likes of Angel Olsen, Sharon Van Etten, Mary Lattimore, and Kristen Kontrol for a set of songs that would still be strong without the special guests. Nadler’s commitment to exploring her distinct aesthetic and worldview remains a defining characteristic, and one that sets her apart from the pack.
Yaeji — “One More”
There might not be a more exciting new artist in electronic music than Yaeji. Yes, it feels great to see a woman of color conquering what is traditionally a white male-dominated genre, but her music sounds exciting regardless of if you know anything about her. “One More” is more vocally driven than a lot of her music, with her Korean/English mashup sleekly moving through the lifts and drops of her tune. The world feels smalled in Yaeji’s hands, with the oceans that divide cultures successfully bridged over the course of just a few minutes of songwriting.
Tender — “Handmade Ego”
British duo Tender already have seen moderate success with their debut Modern Addiction, but with the release of two new songs, that might be due to grow. Of the two tracks, “Handmade Ego” is the standout, for all its sauntering sexiness and bold, clear-eyed delivery. It’s the sound of confidence put to record, the kind of music that only really makes sense under the cover of darkness, where what you want and what you need start to get blurred.
Anna St. Louis — “Desert”
Somewhere between classic country and old Hollywood, Anna St. Louis sings with a voice that can stop you in your tracks. On her latest “Desert,” that voice enjoys its moment in the spotlight, booming over an evocative backing that serves as a canvas for lyrical magic. Her upcoming album features production from both Kevin Morby and King Tuff leader Kyle Thomas, giving her a cosign that she doesn’t totally need on the back of her impressive vocal performance here. This is a voice that needs no help finding an audience.
Sloucher — “Be True”
Seattle has long been a place for great rock acts to emerge, and Sloucher might just be the next one to put on your radar. On single “Be True,” gone is the moodiness that is typical of the region, replaced by boisterous, bouncy indie pop that is equally catchy and fun. There’s something delightfully streamlined in its simplicity, feel like a well-thought example of well-traversed territory, teasing more to come on the band’s upcoming debut album of the same name, due on Novemeber 16 via Swoon Records.