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 the kaleidoscopic indie pop from Diane Coffee and psychedelic R&B via Bells Atlas, so check it all out below.
Diane Coffee — Internet Arms
Coffee — described as “the gender and genre-bending alter ego of Shaun Fleming” — was a Disney voice actor in his youth, and now he’s bringing similar levels of creativity to his new album. It’s full of gems, like The 1975-flavored pop-rock on “Like A Child Does,” the EDM-pop of “Lights Off,” and the synth ballad “Not Ready To Go.”
Bells Atlas — The Mystic
This Oakland psychedelic R&B group have shared stages with the likes of Badbadnotgood and Brittany Howard, and their new albums proves they’re worthy of that company. The record is an impressive rise, highlighted by the rhythmic trip that is “The Khamsa,” and the soul- and hip-hop-influenced “Belly.”
Heather Woods Broderick — Invitation
Broderick is an indie veteran who has been in backing bands for artists like Sharon Van Etten, but she holds her own just fine at the front of the stage too. She just released her second Western Vinyl album, and it tackles a variety of moods, led by the angelic “I Try” and the more driving “White Tail.”
Anna Tivel — The Question
Based on the fact that Bon Iver and Sufjan Stevens engineer Brian Joseph worked on Tivel’s latest, it’s fair to assume that you’re in for some lush folk. Sure enough, that’s true, and she delivers more than that, like “Worthless,” an outlaw bluesy romp that could perfectly score a character-introducing scene in a new Western drama.
Flaural — Postponement
Psych rock is inherently transporting, and this Denver group knows how to begin a journey. Songs like “1616” lure you into a comfortable groove, while “The Thinker” could perfectly soundtrack a rambling roadtrip.
Beauty Queen — Out Of Touch EP
There’s a certain charm that only lo-fi indie pop can really capture, and Beauty Queen will take you right back to the genre’s 2000s heyday. The relaxing “Sold You Out” shows what happens when lo-fi is done right, and songs like “The Only One” and “Goner” show that the group knows how to write a hook.