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 a solo album from a UK rock legend and the long-awaited return of Royal Trux, so check it all out below.
Royal Trux — White Stuff
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The Washington duo were a defining noise rock group of the ’90s, and after not releasing a new album since 2000, Royal Trux have returned with their first album in 19 years. Neil Hagerty and Jennifer Herrema rock about as hard as they ever have on the new material, like on the grungy quick-hitter “Year Of The Dog.”
Ian Brown — Ripples
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Brown is perhaps best known as the frontman of legendary Madchester group The Stone Roses, but he’s actually been far more active in his solo career. That said, Ripples is his first album since 2009, but there’s no audible rust here. The record boasts highlights like the funky title track and the breezy “First World Problems.”
Octo Octa — For Lovers EP
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The Brooklyn producer has released a handful of albums since 2011, and her new material ought to please fans of Warp Records’ classic releases. There are only three tracks, but each of them hit, like “I Need You,” which creates an ambiance suitable for a distorted alien lounge. The track is also notable in that it features Octo Octa’s first recorded vocal performance since coming out as transgender.
Shy Girls — Bird On The Wing
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Dan Vidmar is a premier purveyor of alt-R&B that is delightfully in the same neighborhood as groups like Vulfpeck, and the Portland-based musician delivers more of that on his latest effort. “Lay And Be Lonely” has a nice groove that lays the foundation for his catch vocals and soulful keyboards.
Wearemarvin — Wearemarvin EP
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This German group began as a one-man bedroom project and has since expanded into a six-piece band, and what that has led to is an EP that sounds ripped right out of the heyday of ’00s indie rock. “Oh My, Oh My,” for example, is barely over two minutes long, but it’s a quick time-traveling trip to a time when groups like The Strokes were establishing their influence.