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 giant and dark sounds of The Twilight Sad, the insomnia-driven indie pop of Tender, and a psychedelic offering from Real Estate guitarist Julian Lynch, so check it all out below.
The Twilight Sad — It Won’t Be Like This All The Time
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The Scottish post-punk group’s most recent album — Nobody Wants To Be Here And Nobody Wants To Leave, a personal favorite of mine — came out in 2014, and five years later, the follow-up has arrived. On the record, the band continues to pump out its huge-sounding brand of brooding indie, like on the single “VTr.” Also, here’s a fun piece of trivia: Chvrches’ Martin Doherty used to be a touring member of The Twilight Sad.
Lost Under Heaven — Love Hates What You Become
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British duo Lost Under Heaven’s new album rocks, but rock doesn’t mean what it used to anymore, so they achieve this in a variety of ways. They try a lot of different things on the record, from the intense industrial-ish electronica of “Come” to the swelling “Post-Millennial Tension” to the New Wave-inspired “For The Wild.”
Julian Lynch — Rat’s Spit
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Lynch joined Real Estate in 2016, but he had a solo career going well before that. Now the guitarist has released his first solo record since teaming up with Martin Courtney and company, and on it, he continues his hazy, psychedelic guitar experimentation, like on the underwater-sounding “Hexagonal Field.”
Steve Mason — About The Light
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The Beta Band have an indie cult classic album with their 1999 compilation album The Three EP’s, and since the band called it quits in 2004, frontman Steve Mason has carried on by himself. His first album since 2016’s Meet The Humans features some straightforward and well-written indie rock, like the catchy and bluesy “Walking Away From Love.”
Alice Merton — Mint
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Merton’s “No Roots” has been played over 133 million times on Spotify, and on her debut album, the German-Canadian musician proves she has more than one song in her. “No Roots” is delightfully catchy rock, and she has plenty of that on Mint, like with “Learn To Live” and even a little on the more pop-leaning and memorable “Funny Business.”
Tender — Fear Of Falling Asleep
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“Lying awake at night, when it’s just me and my mind racing, that’s when I drift into the darkest parts of myself,” Tender’s James Cullen said of his band’s new album. If the album comes from a tortured place, it ends up in a much more enjoyable locale. The indie pop is a fun listen, thanks to songs like the disco-influenced “Closer Still” and the anthemic title track.