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 projects from members of Arctic Monkeys, Phosphorescent, and Speedy Ortiz, so check it all out below.
Good Cop Bad Cop — Good Cop Bad Cop
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Arctic Monkeys’ Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino saw the band embrace a sound that strayed from their traditional indie rock, and drummer Matt Helders is taking that a step further on the new self-titled Good Cop Bad Cop album, which he made with Joe Carnall of fellow UK band Milburn. Songs like “Silk And Leather” skew much more synthpop or new wave, and the result is a lush electronic sound that’s both old school and forward-thinking.
Get Good Cop Bad Cop here.
Jo Schornikow — Secret Weapon
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Schornikow’s best-known work is probably her contribution to Phosphorescent, and in her solo material, her philosophy doesn’t appear to be too far off from that of her husband Matthew Houck’s project. She creates enveloping environments through songs that are modern and nostalgic, like the tender electric folk of “Ghosts” and the synth coziness of “Incomplete.”
C Duncan — Health
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The Scottish musician has moved on from his bedroom roots on his debut album, and the result is a record of luxuriant indie pop. There are real Broken Bells vibes on lead single “Impossible,” a soaring and subtly funky tune with some studio experimentation and a catchy hook.
Mahawam — Is An Island EP
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Mahawam has become a favorite in San Francisco’s LGBTQ scene, and it’s easy to see why. He’s not afraid of pushing boundaries: “Michelle Pfeiffer” is psychedelic electropop hip-hop, while “Longpotty” is a more jittery and soulful song. When it comes to pure creative energy, it doesn’t seem like there are many who can compete with Mahawam.
Coughy — Ocean Hug
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On Ocean Hug, a collaboration between Andy Molholt of Speedy Ortiz and Julian Fader of Ava Luna, you might miss entire songs if you stop listening for a couple seconds. The 20-track album features cuts that typically hover at around a minute long, like the garage pop of “V” and the alt-soul of “F.”
The Weird Years — The Weird Years EP
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In a nontraditional sense, The Weird Years is a sort of indie supergroup: The band’s members work with the likes of A Great Big World and Ingrid Michaelson. They bring an experience that shines through on their self-titled EP, like on “Stranger,” an ethereal folk track that has the perfect reverb-drenched aesthetic and is well-composed.