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 new EP from Oneohtrix Point Never, new songs from Perfume Genius and Grandaddy, and a punk cover of Phoebe Bridgers that manages to take her music to exciting new places. Yeah, it was a pretty great week for new indie music.
Oneohtrix Point Never — Love In The Time Of Lexapro
Daniel Lopatin seems to never stop working, so it shouldn’t be surprising that his excellent Age Of from earlier this year is already seeing a follow-up with this EP. Featured are a pair of unreleased tracks that have been live staples, as well as a collaboration with (Sandy) Alex G and a rework from Ryuichi Sakamoto.
Perfume Genius — “Not For Me”
Perfume Genius and W Records have been unveiling their partnership over the past couple weeks, first with a rework of his song “Alan,” and now with a new version of a Bobby Darin track. The song benefits Immigration Equality with the artist noting the importance of “doing important work providing free legal services for LGBTQ and HIV-positive individuals that are seeking asylum in the US.” It’s an ominous and foreboding number, hammering home the idea of feeling disenfranchised: “All of your church bells are ringing, but not for me.”
Grandaddy — “Bison On The Plains”
The reunion of this underappreciated indie band saw tour dates, an album, and finally the tragedy of the death of bassist Kevin Garcia that put the band’s future in jeopardy. “Bison On The Plains” is a welcome one-off return, perhaps signaling the return of the project, or maybe just finishing of an odd number from the vaults that it’s presented as. Regardless, the serenity and loveliness of the tune deserved to be heard.
The National — “Save The Bird”
Where do Thanksgiving traditions come from? While we can trace feasting and turkeys and pumpkin pie back hundreds of years, another tradition has a shorter history. That’s The National’s annual holiday Bob’s Burgers tune, which has included “Kill The Turkey” and “Gravy Boat.” This year we get “Save The Bird” along with an adorable clip of the band driving a confused turkey to safety. Even with the exuberant, jokey backing vocals giving the song some levity, there is just the impression that The National could imbue any project with a certain sense of beauty and artfulness.
St. Vincent — “Perfect Day” (Lou Reed Cover)
For someone that gets compared to David Bowie daily, it’s heartening to hear St. Vincent take on a tune from one of Bowie’s best friends and collaborators. While many know the tune from the heroin overdose scene in Trainspotting, “Perfect Day” is soaring and beautiful in any context. Paired with her new Masseducation piano show, it’s a match made in heaven.
Phosphorescent — “House Of Cards” (Radiohead Cover)
Yes, it’s one of the slowest weeks for new music of the year, but thank goodness we have cover songs to carry us through. Phosphorescent have rarely dabbled in the more experimental waters of a band like Radiohead, but Matthew Houck is a man of great appreciation and this marriage still somehow makes sense. Houck can make any song his own, getting this In Rainbows track down to its bare bones and roots.
Spanish Love Songs — “Funeral” (Phoebe Bridgers Cover)
Punk covers are the stuff of dorm room legend, where boredom and intoxication can lead one down a Youtube tunnel to realize there is truly a punk cover of everything. But an artist like Phoebe Bridgers, who offers clever lyrics, accessible melodies, and bare instrumentation, is particularly adept to the form, where her work is a jumping off point to interpretation. “Funeral” works quite well here, with Bridgers’ mournful tune turned into a fist-raising anthem by Spanish Love Songs.