BEST INDIE SONGS - WEEK 9
It's Sunday afternoon as I type, which means that the Oscars haven't aired for me yet, but by the time that you get to read this introduction, Bohemian Rhapsody will have won Best Picture and the Internet will be packed full of pissed-off blog posts and think pieces*. But at least we got to hear one last rendition of “Shallow,” right?! RIGHT?! Anyways, awards season may be over for another year in Hollywood, but we're continuing to give out the gongs here at We Are: The Guard. Okay, so there are no gold-plated statuettes on offer, but what we lack in physical rewards, we make up for in love and affection for HÆLOS, HEALTH, Vampire Weekend, Jai Wolf, Sundara Karma, and the five other artists featured in this week's edition of Best Indie Songs.
MXMS – PARIS
We Are: The Guard's very own MXMS follow up last month's official video for “Gravedigger” with the romantic “Paris” this February. The song hears the funeral-pop duo stepping out from the shadowy underground into the City of Lights, with lead singer Ariel Levitan floating through the cinematic, dreamy ballad with all of the wide-eyed wonder of a Jean-Luc Godard character who's seeing the French capital for the first time.
MODEL CHILD – TRASH
We live in a throwaway culture, but there's nothing disposable about Model Child. The Los Angeles artist is here to leave his mark with his latest single “Trash,” a down-and-dirty electronic-punk anthem for society's outcasts: “We're the garbage of the world/Eating diamonds, eating pearls/I ain't fiction, not a fact/I'm a fucking heart attack.”
HÆLOS – BOY / GIRL
Following on from the release of Thom Yorke-indebted “Kyoto” earlier this month, HÆLOS return today with “Boy / Girl.” The latest single to be taken from Any Random Kindness hears Lotti Benardout and Arthur Delaney trading vocals while lost in a glitched-out void, with the band revealing that the song was written about “the breakdown of a relationship in the digital age and a retreat into the comforts of technology.”
HEALTH (FEAT. JPEGMAFIA) – HATE YOU
It's not even been three weeks since they released VOL. 4 :: SLAVES OF FEAR, but HEALTH are already back today with a new single in the form of “HATE YOU” featuring JPEGMAFIA. The track is a typically tectonic affair that hears HEALTH matching their vast noisescapes to a trap-style beat, with JPEGMAFIA spitting his signature abrasion before saw-like synths give way to the disembodied vocals of Jake Duzsik.
VAMPIRE WEEKEND – HARMONY HALL
In January, Vampire Weekend returned with their first song in six years, the gloriously George Michael-esque “Harmony Hall,” and this month, the New York band are back with the official video. Directed by Emmett Malloy, the clip sees Vampire Weekend and a couple of famous friends gathering around a snake-infested kitchen in order to master the art of pancake making, with Ezra Koenig also using the visual as a chance to showcase the chest hair that he's apparently been growing out over the last half a decade.
GLOO – STOP AND STARE
Punk music isn't dead. It's alive and kicking, at least in the British seaside resort of Littlehampton, where unsigned trio gloo are single-handedly reviving the spirit of 1977 on their latest single. “I see it as a nod to all things social media and not being able to do anything without someone watching,” says gloo drummer Mark Harfield of “Stop and Stare,” a filthy, furious listen that's injecting some badly needed anarchy back into 2019.
CLUB KURU – CHERRY BLOOM
Club Kuru follow up the release of last year's Giving In with “Cherry Bloom this 2019. The track hears the London duo continue to trade in buttery psychedelic opulence, with frontman Laurie Erskine's Southern-style vocal twangs smoothly melting into the kaleidoscopic riffs of guitarist Laurence Hammerton. Think Band of Horses meets Pink Floyd and you're almost there.
JAI WOLF (FEAT. DAY WAVE) – YOUR WAY
Coinciding with the announcement that he's set to release his album The Cure to Loneliness in April, Jai Wolf has shared “Your Way.” The song hears the “Indian Summer” producer moving even further towards the indie genre, with jangly guitars providing a backdrop for Jackson Phillips, aka Day Wave, to deliver his dreamy vocals. There's plenty of synth pyrotechnics, too, with the track actually forgoing a chorus in favor of a shimmering, anthemic drop that's going to be everywhere this festival season.
JNR WILLIAMS – A PRAYER
Soul. Power. Emotion. JNR WILLIAMS has it all. Having debuted on We Are: The Guard last year with his cover of “What a Difference” by Dinah Washington, the London gospel artist is taking us to church once again this 2019 with “A Prayer,” a song that focuses on the relationship between a father and son who are struggling to express their feelings towards each other following the death of a loved one. Get ready to be moved to tears.
SUNDARA KARMA – LITTLE SMART HOUSES
Ahead of the release of Ulfilas' Alphabet in March, Sundara Karma return this month with the infectious “Little Smart Houses.” With vibrant new-wave grooves meeting the stop-start, David Bowie-esque vocals of charismatically wry frontman Oscar Pollack, it's a boldly banging offering that comes paired with an official video comprising entirely of footage of fans dancing in front of their, you got it, “Little Smart Houses.”
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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.