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 Sharon Van Etter offer up one of the best songs of this young year, Ryan Adams continues to flex his songwriting bona fides, and Lana Del Rey stretch song titles to dramatic lengths. Yeah, it was a pretty great week for new indie music.
Lana Del Rey — “Hope Is A Dangerous Things For A Woman Like Me To Have — But I Have It”
Lana Del Rey has not been shy about sharing new music for this album cycle, with Norman F**king Rockwell still without an official release date. Still, the previews she’s giving us in each new song advance her narrative in their own way, with this verbose piano-ballad coming closer to her friend Father John Misty than she ever has before.
Sharon Van Etten — “Seventeen”
This is the best song of the year released so far. Full stop. On “Seventeen,” Van Etten is writing about the way that the places we used to know change over the years and the way that we change ourselves, doing so in a manner that is evocative and captivating. Van Etten has rarely worked in mid-tempo rockers like this before, looking back with the right blend of melancholy, longing, and wisdom. And when she breaks down and screams it all out by the song’s final verse, it’s enough to stop the world from spinning for a few seconds.
Hand Habits — “Placeholder”
If Hand Habits’ Meg Duffy seems familiar, you might know them for their work with Kevin Morby. But to hear the songs of Duffy is to know that they don’t need any credentials to make them stand out. “Placeholder” packs as much of a punch lyrically as it does aesthetically, with our Chloe Gilke noting that Duffy “writes with devastating acuity about the experience of feeling like a ‘placeholder’ — someone’s second choice, a seat warmer, ‘an exchange for what you had.'”
Ryan Adams — “Doylestown Girl”
It’s not going to be just one album from Ryan Adams this year. The songwriting great is promising three new records, a throwback to his 2005 that accomplished the same thing. But Adams’ music has been more consistently great over the past few years, making many think that this trio could top his previous attempt. First taste “Doylestown Girl” is the kind of warm song that can make you forget you are in the throngs of winter, at least for its brief few minutes.
Girlpool — “What Chaos Is Imaginary”
Girlpool’s soon-to-be-released new album, What Chaos Is Imaginary, is a bold step forward for a duo that has already been turning heads. But that growth is audible on the title track, which our own Leah Lu called a “stirring track, both in sound and in subject matter, and provides a compelling peek into what’s in store in the evolution of members Harmony Tividad and Cleo Tucker… it sounds like what it must feel like to float, to transcend your surroundings while still maintaining full, sharp awareness.”
Soak — “Knock Me Off My Feet”
It’s been four years since Soak offered up her debut album, Before We Forgot How To Dream, and she’s back with a new album for 2019. Grim Town will be released on April 26, and “Knock Me Off My Feet” is a sugary and infectious way to get that cycle rolling. As our own Leah Lu wrote about the song, it’s “a gritty anthem about resilience and taking the higher path even when everything seems to be urging you otherwise.”
La Dispute — “Footsteps At The Pond”
Following the release of the double single “Rose Quartz”/”Fulton Street I” upon the announcement of their new Epitaph album, Panorama, Michigan post-hardcore visionaries La Dispute are back with a more straightforward single. “Footsteps At The Pond” finds the band striking the balance between emotionally forthcoming aggression and moments of gorgeous serenity for something that stands out in a typically crowded genre. This is further proof that they are one of the best indie rock bands emerging at the moment.
Gary Clark Jr. — “This Land”
In a world where guitar wizardry is as devalued as ever, Gary Clark Jr. continues to shred. His third career album is coming out this year and he’s offered up the title track for the collection. “This Land” is a clear-eyed view of what it was like to grow up Black in the south, with Clark pulling no punches as he delivers vocals that combine a hip-hop cadence with a singalong melody.
The Coathangers — “Bimbo”
Atlanta’s The Coathangers are practically veterans after spending more than 12 years offering up a steady stream of recorded material. But their latest record, The Devil You Know due on 3/8, is the first record where the band’s three members truly wrote as a group, and that new sense of solidarity is present in the music. “Bimbo” takes an “Age Of Consent” guitar line and lets the song’s downhill momentum carry the weight, leading to a chorus that blasts off with zest and stands as one of their most impressive musical moments yet.
The Murder Capital — “Feeling Fades”
Last year was great for post-punk influenced indie that demanded throwing beer across crowded rooms, with the rise of Idles and Shame. Now comes The Murder Capital, a Scottish band with a similar ethos to these groups, whom they’ve announced or played shows with. On their debut single, the song feels like a steel toe boot to the shin, impossible to ignore with the raw passion that bleeds through the speakers.