Indie music has grown to include so much. It’s not just music that is released on independent labels, but speaks to an aesthetic that deviates from the norm and follows its own weirdo heart. It can come in the form of rock music, pop, or folk. In a sense, it says as much about the people that are drawn to it as it does about the people that make it.
Every week, Uproxx is rounding up the best new indie music from the past seven days. This week we got a surprise new album from Laura Jane Grace, one of the most impressive debut albums of recent memory from Bartees Strange, and another new Song Machine entry from Gorillaz. Check out the rest of the best new indie music below.
Laura Jane Grace – Stay Alive
Last week, Against Me! frontwoman Laura Jane Grace released a new solo album out of the sky. Written and recorded during quarantine, Grace’s lyrics are especially poignant, with her solo vocals taking on an added bite as she tries to find the silver lining in isolation while admonishing the Trump administration.
Shamir – Shamir
On their sixth studio album, Shamir turns up the fuzz and delivers some of their best music to date. The album is jam-packed with infectious melodies and arrangments that touch upon everything from alternative rock to ’90s-inspired pop, making Shamir‘s eleven tracks some of the most interesting and exciting of their career.
Bartees Strange – Live Forever
On his debut album, Bartees Strange is able to sound like Frank Ocean, James Blake, and a dozen others. Live Forever feels like something from a veteran artist, and “Strange’s casual prolificacy with melding guitar rock with R&B, hip-hop, and EDM styles is stunningly showcased,” writes Steven Hyden for Uproxx.
Field Medic – Floral Prince
Ever prolific, it’s only been a bit more than a year since Field Medic released Fade Into The Dawn, a collection of lo-fi folk tracks that put Kevin Sullivan’s lyrical prowess on full display. Floral Prince continues in the same lane, with many of the songs sounding like they were recorded on a four-track and featuring not much more than Sullivan’s guitar and light percussion.
Jonsi – Shiver
After a decade-long hiatus, Sigur Ros mastermind Jonsi has returned with new solo music. Shiver takes on a more urgent approach than his work in Sigur Ros, with big synths and vocal modulation, featuring appearances from Robyn and Cocteau Twins’ Liz Fraser.
Drive-By Truckers – The New OK
Just a few short months after releasing The Unraveling, which Steven Hyden called the year’s “most political rock album,” Drive-By Truckers have unveiled The New OK, another album that was initially inspired by outtakes from The Unraveling. It’s the band’s thirteenth studio album, but they are as impressive as ever, with provocative songwriting and emotional delivery.
Kurt Vile – Speed, Sound, Lonely KV (ep)
Two years removed from his latest solo album, Kurt Vile has shared a collection of two covers, two originals, and a duet with the late John Prine, which Vile called “the single most special musical moment” of his life in a statement. The EP is full of goodness, with dreamy guitars and Vile’s carefree drawl, a welcome return from the man who has delivered some of the most enjoyable guitar music of recent memory.
Gorillaz ft. Elton John & 6LACK – “The Pink Phantom”
Gorillaz have been racking up some pretty impressive talent so far for their collaborative Song Machine series, but they raise the bar significantly with an Elton John feature on the new track “The Pink Phantom.” It’s perhaps the most pop-oriented song that Gorillaz have released since “Feel Good Inc.”, with John’s piano serving as the focal point around which the song moves and evolves.
Beabadoobee – “How Was Your Day?”
One of the brief moments of serenity on Beabadoobee’s debut album Fake It Flowers is “How Was Your Day?” a lo-fi acoustic numbers that was recorded on a four-track cassette recorder in her boyfriend’s garden while her studio was closed around the beginning of the pandemic. Although she’s just 20 years old, Beabadoobee’s songwriting cuts like few other modern artists, and “How Was Your Day?” dives deep into “all the relationships I neglected when I was away from home,” she said in a statement.
Wallows – “Virtual Aerobics”
The new EP from Wallows was written and recorded during the throes of quarantine, but “Virtual Aerobics” sounds as cohesive as any other track the band has released. It features a bouncing chorus that will burrow itself deep inside your brain, and a green screen video that is instantly captivating.
Adrianne Lenker – “Dragon Eyes”
Adrianne Lenker’s two(!!) new solo albums are coming soon, and “Dragon Eyes” is the latest entry into the canon, a sparse but lush number that puts her poetic delivery on full display. As the leaves turn and start to fall from the trees, there isn’t a more perfect moment for new Adrianne Lenker music — take it from the top comment on the song’s official video, which reads “This song turned me into a bird.”
G Flip – “You & I”
The latest single from Australia’s G Flip was written in just a few hours in London from the perspective of the honeymoon phase of a new relationship that ended up falling apart before the song could be released. It’s a jubilant indie pop song about “being able to look at someone and the whole world just becomes background noise to your epic love story and it feels like it’s only you and that other person standing on the planet,” G Flip wrote in a statement.
Romy – “Lifetime”
You might know Romy Madley-Croft from her time in The xx, and now she is getting ready to release her debut solo album under the name Romy. “Lifetime” was produced during lockdown, and revels in the modern daydream of being reunited with friends, family, and loved ones after months apart. It’s an emotional, electronic club track, with poignant and evocative lyrics.
The Big Easy – “Alone/Fake It Till I Make It”
The debut album from Brooklyn’s The Big Easy was written during a period of start-and-stop changes — after going through breakup, vocalist/guitarist Stephen Bethomieux moved out of his parent’s place in New Jersey and into Brooklyn, but then had to quickly turn right back around and move back to Jersey. The tension is palpable on the band’s meditative and propulsive new double single “Alone/Fake It Till I Make It,” which comes accompanied by a music short film about being yourself.
Sinai Vessel – “Guest In Your Life”
It’s been three years since we last heard from Sinai Vessel – on 2017’s Brokenlegged, the lineup expanded to feature a full band, but on the new album Ground Aswim, Sinai Vessel is once again the solo project of Caleb Cordes. “Guest In Your Life” is written from the perspective of a new relationship, although the lyrics look ahead to predict the way it might hypothetically end. It’s a welcome return for Cordes, and a solid indication that Ground Aswim will be well worth the wait.
Goat Girl – “Sad Cowboy”
Recorded just before lockdown, Goat Girl’s new album On All Fours was produced by Dan Carey (Kate Tempest, Black Mid, Franz Ferdinand). The album’s lead single, “Sad Cowboy,” is an adventurous track featuring drum machines, sci-fi synthesizers, digital soundscapes, and dramatic swells of vocal and guitar. For a track about losing touch with reality and trying to navigate a world that constantly feels like a bad dream, the instrumentation often adds an additional level of anxiety to the lyrical material.
The Weak Days – “The Seams”
The Fabric of Our Lives by The Weak Days
The Fabric of Our Lives, the new album from The Week Days, is a concept album. It’s an ambitious project from the Lansing, Michigan band, but one that shows the value in going big or going home. “The Seams” is an inflection point in the story of The Fabric Of Our Lives, told through the lens of an emo-inspired arrangement and a guest vocal from Looming’s Jessica Knight.
Some artists covered here are Warner Music artists. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.