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 new records from beloved artists Robyn and Thom Yorke, offerings from supergroups Boygenius and Antarctigo Vespucci, and a new song from Beirut that is one of the finest they’ve ever released. It was a pretty great week for new indie music.
Robyn — Honey
After eight years with nothing but a collaborative EP with Royksopp to show for it, Robyn is back to win our pop-loving hearts. Honey is an album that she says is less interested in melody and more interest in “songs that didn’t have a beginning and an end, and things that were hypnotic.” In Uproxx’s review of the record, Sasha Geffen notes that Honey “deepens her knack for packaging untidy emotions into sparkling pop songs.”
Boygenius — Boygenius
What happens when three of indie rock’s most talented rising songwriters join forces? A record that manages to capitalize on all their strengths and still form something cohesive and essential. These aren’t six castoff songs that weren’t good enough for their respective solo projects. No, Boygenius is among the strongest material that Lucy Dacus, Julien Baker, and Phoebe Bridgers have yet to release. The record’s only downside is that listeners will wish there was more of it.
Thom Yorke — Suspiria
Thom Yorke’s first ever film score and soundtrack finds the singular artist pouring his whole self into the project. It took a year for him to complete and spans traditional songwriting from the Radiohead frontman to more foreboding, spine-tingling atmosphere pieces. Supposedly Yorke has also recently completed another solo album, so expect this phase of his career to continue well into next year. The good thing for fans is its resulting in inspired, captivating music.
Julia Holter — Aviary
Los Angeles musician Julia Holter skirts the line between songwriter and composer in her consistently great catalog. Her latest, Aviary, is described by Holter as “the cacophony of the mind in a melting world,” resulting in often warm and adventurous pieces that never take the easy or expected turns.
Beirut — “Gallipoli”
For his last couple albums, Beirut’s Zach Condon has offered up first singles that felt like they reached the shores of the mainstream, the kind of songs that could conceivably be on the radio if the right pieces fell into place. But when all is said and done, Beirut never seemed quite right for that world, and “Gallipoli” finds the artist working is his strongest form: devastatingly beautiful and heartwrenching songwriting that lacks almost all commercial ambitions. “Gallipoli” is a mood to set sail on, to explore the unfamiliar and be awed what is found there. It’s Beirut back in top form.
Antarctigo Vespucci — Love In The Time Of E-Mail
It’s not quite the supergroup that Boygenius is, but don’t discount what can happen when a couple of the best punk songwriters going right now join forces. In his interview with the band’s members Chris Farren and Jeff Rosenstock, our own Steven Hyden called Anarctigo Vespucci “a fuzzed-out power-pop outfit that’s sweeter than Rosenstock’s anthemic and politically incisive solo work and noisier than Farren’s usual melodic fare.” Check out the new album and see if you can find a way to disagree.
Jessica Pratt — “This Time Around”
Los Angeles-based songwriter Jessica Pratt has been enthralling fans of gentle folk songwriting for the better part of a decade, so it’s surprising to hear that her upcoming Mexican Summer release will be her first album completely recorded in a proper studio. That shift doesn’t exactly shine through on her first single from the collection, “This Time Around,” which still sounds as homespun and intimate as her past beloved work. But keeping her own voice and identity intact as the resources increase might be a feat in of itself.
Ian Sweet — Crush Crusher
Los Angeles songwriter Jilian Medford went from treating Ian Sweet like a proper band to being more of a solo artist again, but that doesn’t mean that her latest is some stripped-down affair. As her advance singles have shown, Crush Crusher is explosive indie rock bliss, her most accomplished album to date and yet another example of the vitality simmering below the surface of the genre.
Steve Gunn — “New Moon”
At one point The War On Drugs employed Kurt Vile, and at a later point, Vile employed Steve Gunn in his band The Violaters. With that kind of lineage, it might just be a matter of time before Gunn joins those other two artists in the upper echelon of indie rock. On his latest, “New Moon,” Gunn’s gentle psych-rock feels at home with the aforementioned guitar-rock royalty.
Beach House — “Alien”
Beach House’s latest album, 7, was a high point for the band, proving that some acts keep getting better with age. One of the characteristics of the record was that the traditionally drowsy group experimented in faster tempos, and this b-side takes that to its most extreme place. “Alien” is a full-fledged, shoegazing rock song, packing a punch that is a new tool for the Baltimore duo.