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 surprise EP from Portland rockers Strange Ranger, an ominous Bird Box tune from Trent Reznor, and Japanese Breakfast having the most fun on New Year’s Eve. It was a quiet week for new indie music, but still a good one.
Strange Ranger — Etc
There’s nothing more definitively indie than needing money to fix the van, but that’s the situation that Portland-based retro indie rockers Strange Ranger find themselves in. The band offers up this new EP as a fundraiser of sorts, their second short release in the last few months and further proof that they’re a band to watch for those longing for those gold soundz of ’90s and ’00s indie guitar rock.
Spielbergs — “Five On It”
One of the big musical moments of recent weeks came from the preview of Jordan Peele’s new film, Us, which turns the weed-buying anthem “I Got 5 On It” into something unexpectedly frightening. Norway’s Spielbergs did not perform a rock version of that song as the lead track for their upcoming album, but the bit of coincidence might be a happy bit of fortune for the band when people take to the search engines. Spielbergs’ “Five On It” is a boisterous bit of noise pop that deserves any attention it gets, be it purposeful or accidental.
Japanese Breakfast — “Run Away With Me” (Carly Rae Jepsen cover)
New Year’s Eve performances are, in general, the best. Artists will perform batshit covers and have more fun than usual, getting caught up in the festivities of the night. So while Japanese Breakfast‘s spirited take on the untouchable Carly Rae Jepsen classic “Run Away With Me” might not be as great via Youtube as it was to be there, we can all watch this and for a second get caught up in the joy that comes with ringing in a new year.
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross – “Outside”
It’s only a few days into the year, but we’ve already got at least one cultural phenomenon: Bird Box (which also could be classified as a late-2018 phenomenon, too). And regardless of what you think about the divisive film, getting Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross to contribute to the sounds of the film was a coup that adds a lot to the experience. “Outside” is vintage material from the two, offering up characteristic spare piano plucks, a fair share of ominous whirring, and just the right amount of tension to build up to the movie’s next scare.
Machinefabriek — “VIII” (Feat. Marissa Nadler)
Dutch composer Rutger Zuydervelt is offering up his latest creation as Machinefabriek on January 18, titled With Voices. It’s an apt title for a record, as the project finds him turning guest vocals into another instrument within the confines of his compositions, turning the familiar into something otherworldly. On his latest, Marissa Nadler is the voice that gets explored, turning the purveyor of dark folk into an ominous and ethereal presence that feels more like an experience than a song.