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 member of Pavement, so check it all out below.
Spiral Stairs — We Wanna Be Hyp-No-Tized
The name “Spiral Stairs” may not ring a bell, but you’ve heard Scott Kannberg before: He’s a founding member of Pavement. His former bandmate Stephen Malkmus just released a solo album, and now Kannberg is back with his first album in eight years. His experience serves him well on songs like “The Fool,” a track that has the familiarity of his legendary ’90s indie output but sounds at home in 2019.
Loose Wing — Loose Wing
Seattle has produced an unquantifiable amount of outstanding indie rock, and now Loose Wing are serving as an example that the area’s still got it. The Seattle group channels early R.E.M. vibes with the guitar sound on “Moving Blankets,” and they show off their versatility with some smartly incorporated strings on “Beverly.”
Guest Singer — I’m Irrelevant Now EP
UK musician Jake Cope previously described his new EP as “the perfect soundtrack to your local cosmic wellbeing seminars or when you’re on your own, seeking some much needed inner reflection.” Indeed the songs give plenty of room to ruminate on the thoughts they provoke, like on the dreamy “I Could Never Live Like You Do.”
Ladada — Heaven On The Rocks
If you made a four-circle Venn diagram of surf rock, shoegaze, rock, and punk, Ladada would land right in the middle. They do rock in a variety of ways and pull each of them off with audible confidence and ability, like the poppy garage rocker “My Van” and the shoegaze-y “The Tao”
Dark Tea — Dark Tea
Sometimes, some laid back indie (à la Belle And Sebastian or Twerps) is all you need to take the edge off. When that’s the case, Dark Tea has you covered with songs like the truly serene “Angel Of Night.” Added bonus: Uproxx favorite Hand Habits features on “Rolling Back The Dial.”
Marble Arch — Children Of The Slump
French artist Marble Arch might be his country’s best answer to Deerhunter. Tracks like “Gold” are akin to Real Estate with a more ragged rock edge, and “I’m On My Way” is similar in that it both rocks and is easy to find comfort in.