BEST INDIE SONGS - WEEK 3
The music industry often gets off to a slow start at the beginning of the year. It's only now that we're two weeks into January that things are really starting to pick up speed, with festival lineups (Shut up and take my money, Governors Ball!) and album announcements (St. Vincent and Sleater-Kinney?! Name a more ambitious crossover event!) coming at us in all directions. But let's not get carried away. There's still a long stretch of road ahead of us, so let's ease ourselves into 2019 like we always do here at We Are: The Guard with the latest edition of Best Indie Songs, featuring Lana Del Rey, Radiohead, White Lies, Beirut, FIDLAR, and more.
LANA DEL REY – HOPE IS A DANGEROUS THING FOR A WOMAN LIKE ME TO HAVE – BUT I HAVE IT
The countdown to Normal Fucking Rockwell is on, and today, Lana Del Rey has shared the third single from the album. With a song title that gives The 1975 a run for their money, “hope is a dangerous thing for a woman like me to have – but i have it” is a sprawlingly elegiac piano ballad that finds Lizzy Grant at her lyrical best, with the singer dropping Instagrammable captions like “I've been tearing around in my fucking nightgown/24/7 Sylvia Plath” and “Hello, it's the most famous woman you know on the iPad/Calling from beyond the grave, I just wanna say, 'Hi, Dad.'”
BILLIE EILISH – WHEN I WAS OLDER (MUSIC INSPIRED BY THE FILM ROMA)
I'm kind ashamed to admit that I'm yet to watch Roma, although one artist who obviously has is Billie Eilish, who returns this week with a song inspired by the Alfonso Cuarón-directed film. “WHEN I WAS OLDER” is an Auto-Tuned lullaby that'll probably make a lot more sense to me once I've seen the Netflix-distributed movie, but the FINNEAS-produced hymn still managed to chill me to the bone like the rest of this 17-year-old's tracks.
RADIOHEAD – ILL WIND
Three years after it first appeared on a special vinyl edition of A Moon Shaped Pool, Radiohead rarity “Ill Wind” has finally been given a digital release. Produced by Nigel Godrich, the song begins life as a bossa nova-flavored groove before eventually transitioning into more of a deranged carousel ride, with the whole thing coming tied together by Thom Yorke's cracked falsetto. Listen.
WHITE LIES – TOKYO
Purveyors of anthemic gloom White Lies return this Monday with “Tokyo.” The latest single to be unveiled from the British band's forthcoming album FIVE is a melancholy-laden synth-pop banger that sounds like it walked straight out of a scene from Donnie Darko, with frontman Harry McVeigh presiding over a chorus that can only be described as stadium-sized.
CHERRY GLAZERR – WASTED NUN
Excuse my language, but holy shit! Cherry Glazerr are taking us to church and then some on “Wasted Nun!” The latest single to be unveiled from the Los Angeles band's forthcoming album Stuffed & Ready is a kick-ass slab of garage-rock catharsis, with Clementine Creevy's angelic pop sensibilities coming set against a backdrop of heavy-as-hell power chords! Check it out!
BEIRUT – LANDSLIDE
Next month, Beirut's Zach Condon will return with his first album in four years, Gallipoli, and today, the 4AD artist has shared “Landslide.” It's not a cover of the Fleetwood Mac song of the same name, but a stately slice of baroque-pop nostalgia, with Zach's signature Farfisa organ melodies assuring that the track wouldn't sound of place in Beirut's regal back catalog.
STELLA DONNELLY – OLD MAN
Stella Donnelly grabs back on her incisive latest single. “Oh, are you scared of me, old man?/Or are you scared of what I'll do?” sings the Australian artist on “Old Man,” a song that hears Stella eviscerating the patriarchy one toxic, abusive male at a time over a bed of jangle-pop whimsy. “I came up with the chords and chorus to this song in 2017 around the time when Woody Allen called the #MeToo movement a witch hunt,” writes Stella. “It was a very strange feeling for me watching the world change right before my eyes and to see that these men who had exploited their power for so long were actually being held accountable for their actions.”
FIDLAR – BY MYSELF
Mom & Pop's FIDLAR are back and sounding more infectious than ever on the latest single to be unveiled from their forthcoming album Almost Free. “Well, I'm cracking one open with the boys by myself,” begins “By Myself,” a song about that moment when your friends ditch you for other plans and you're forced to have a keg party for one, with frontman Zac Carper showcasing his best Trent Reznor impression over what might be the Los Angeles band's most ridiculously catchy groove to date.
GIRLPOOL – WHAT CHAOS IS IMAGINARY
Ahead of the release of What Chaos Is Imaginary in February, Girlpool have shared the album's title track. The five-and-a-half-minute “What Chaos Is Imaginary” is best described as an otherworldly symphony, with an orchestral swirl of organs and strings lending a sense of grandiosity to lead singer Harmony Tividad's ethereal vocals. “'What Chaos is Imaginary' is a song very close to my heartmind… closer than most,” writes Harmony. Listen.
MALIBU KEN – CORN MAZE
Aesop Rock and Tobacco is the collaboration that I never realized that I wanted, but now I'm unsure how I ever lived without it. The hip-hop recording artist and Black Moth Super Rainbow producer come together as Malibu Ken to mind-melting results on “Corn Maze,” with Aesop's dense, intense narratives most definitely meeting their match in Tobacco's warped soundscapes. “Banger” doesn't cover it.
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Jess Grant is a frustrated writer hailing from London, England. When she isn't tasked with disentangling her thoughts from her brain and putting them on paper, Jess can generally be found listening to The Beatles, or cooking vegetarian food.