It has been reported that 99 percent of all music streaming activity comes from just 10 percent of all available songs, meaning that the most popular tracks are pretty much all most people listen to. Even if those reported numbers aren’t completely accurate, that still feels true. That’s great for those artists, but what about everybody else? What about the folks who don’t have as much promotional firepower in their arsenal but are still releasing terrific material that ought to be heard? Well, this is my small attempt to help level that disparity: A list of this week’s finest indie albums that you may not have heard, or even heard of.
There were some solid releases this week, like huge dream pop from Thyla and dance-ready electronic music from Big Wild, so check it all out below.
Big Wild — Superdream
Jackson Stell says that Superdream sees him featuring his “voice and songwriting as the main focus for the first time ever.” It turns out that he thrives in his role, as songs like “City Of Sound” delightfully upbeat tunes that beg to be danced to.
Thyla — What’s On Your Mind EP
Thyla frontwoman Millie Duthie previously said of her songwriting process, “I tend to write a lot from insecurity, because I’m always scared that it’s not going to be good enough, because it’s all self-taught and a bit untamed.” That’s not something she ought to worry about: The group’s new EP is full of cathartic dream pop that absolutely soars, like the single “Only Ever.”
Mandolin Orange — Tides Of A Teardrop
The North Carolina duo appreciate the gentle beauty in well-executed folk, and their Americana-tinted songs are truly calming affairs. “The Wolves” has a hint of country twang to it, and if the term “easy listening” wasn’t so associated with boring elevator music, it would be the perfect descriptor for what’s happening here.
Business Of Dreams — Ripe For Anarchy
Corey Cunningham proved himself to be a fine purveyor of dreamy indie rock on his 2017 Business Of Dreams album, and now he’s returned with more proof of his value. He previewed the album with “Keep The Blues Away,” which tactfully combined influence from forefathers like Modern English and The Cure with a modern indie aesthetic to make something with feet delightfully in both past and present.
Lexie Liu — 2030
88rising established itself as a serious force thanks to the success of artists like Joji and Rich Brian, and now Lexie Liu is the latest product of the Asian-leaning label. She has a pronounced R&B influence in her hip-hop on singles like “Hat Trick,” and she masterfully floats between Mandarin and English in her songs.
Tiny Ruins — Olympic Girls
If you need a co-sign, this New Zealand group is signed to Milk! Records, Courtney Barnett’s label. That’s not the type of music Tiny Ruins make, though. Instead, they’re more into dreamier indie dealings, like “Holograms,” which falls somewhere between Lana Del Rey and ’50s pop.