BEST INDIE SONGS - WEEK 12
Hello, everyone! How are you?! How was your weekend?! Did you spend it catching up on all of our SXSW coverage over at Twitter?! If not, well, it sucks to be you because you missed out on THIS photo of Lizzo in a sequinned cowgirl outfit...
— We Are: The Guard (@WeAreTheGuard) 16 March 2019
...Anyways, it goes without saying that the jet lag (read: hangover) is starting to set in for us now that we've returned from SXSW, so while we go in search of some strong coffee to ease us back into reality this Monday morning, why don't you read on to discover this week's edition of We Are: The Guard's Best Indie Songs, featuring Vampire Weekend, The Black Keys, The Chemical Brothers, and more.
VAMPIRE WEEKEND (FEAT. STEVE LACY) – SUNFLOWER
Vampire Weekend continue the rollout to Father of the Bride by sharing the video for the Steve Lacy-featuring jam-band groove “Sunflower.” Like “Harmony Hall” before it, the Jonah Hill-directed clip is a deeply flavorsome affair that sees Ezra Koenig showing Steve around his favorite brunch spots in New York including Zabar's and Barney Greengrass, with Fab 5 Freddy and Jerry fuckin' Seinfeld also making an appearance in the spiraling visual.
THE BLACK KEYS – LO/HI
If there's one band who lives by the motto “If it ain't broke, don't fix it,” it's The Black Keys. Five years have passed since the duo released Turn Blue, not that you'd know it listening to their latest single “Lo/Hi,” which hears Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney doubling down on their smoldering, sleazy blues-rock, albeit this time fleshed out with some blistering backing vocals from Leisa Hans and Ashley Wilcoxson.
MOTHER FALCON – YOU ARE
We've been fans of Mother Falcon for as long as we can remember here at We Are: The Guard, so it's been nothing short of stunning to watch the Austin orchestral outfit mature into the artists that they are today on their latest single “You Are.” The song finds Mother Falcon switching up their signature symphonic bombast for something a little more thoughtful and well-considered, with indie-leaning vocals coming backed by a gorgeously pastoral swirl of trilling flutes and sweeping strings.
SOLANGE – ALMEDA
Everything about Solange's When I Get Home is a celebration of Black Excellence, although this isn't declared more loudly or proudly than it is on the album's centerpiece “Almeda.” “Black skin, black braids/Black waves, black days/Black baes, black things/These are black-owned things/Black faith still can't be washed away,” sings the Knowles sister on the cut, a joyous, rhapsodic ode to Houston's chopped and screwed genre that was produced by Solange alongside Pharrell Williams and John Carroll Kirby.
THE CHEMICAL BROTHERS – WE'VE GOT TO TRY
DOGS! Now that I've got your attention... In April, The Chemical Brothers are set to return with No Geography, and this month, the big-beat legends have shared the video for their awesome latest single “We've Got to Try.” Directed by Ninian Doff, the clip is nothing short of a must-watch, with the visual following a stray dog named Girl as she prepares to embark (Get it?! Embark?!) on a journey of self-discovery of quite literally epic proportions...
GRIMES – PRETTY DARK
It feels like more time has been spent discussing her private life than her career of late, but Grimes is finally returning the focus to her music with “Pretty Dark.” Described by Claire Boucher as a “demo” from her forthcoming “AR musical,” “Pretty Dark” is a magical fairy tale of a song, with lyrics that border on the villainous: “'Cause baby, how you own me like you own the world/And if you show me then I'll be your girl/And I'll kill them if they try to hurt you/You dethrone me, boy what a nerve.”
DISTORTED MIX – YOUR GAMES
The world of rock music and the world of electronic music are brought together as one on “Your Games” by Distorted Mix. “It's just the same shit/But a different day to play/With all of your games,” sings frontman Joe Vecchio over a darkly euphoric swirl of smoke machines and laser beams on the genre-blending cut, which very much exists at the intersection of mosh pits and dance floors à la The Prodigy or Nine Inch Nails.
NASTY CHERRY – WIN
Well, if the cover art didn't catch your attention, then trust me: The song will. Nasty Cherry are here to fill the girl band-shaped void that's existed in your heart ever since the Spice Girls split up with their killer debut single “Win.” Written alongside Charli XCX and produced by Justin Raisen, “Win” is pure, unadulterated pussy power from start to finish, with badass guitar riffs backing frontwoman Gabby Bechtel as she unapologetically declares in the chorus: “I need to, I need to, need to win.” Go get 'em.
WALKING ON CARS – COLDEST WATER
Ahead of the release of their album Colours in April, Dingle's Walking on Cars return this month with “Coldest Water.” It's a tremendously personal piece of music that Patrick Sheehy reveals was written about his battle with alcoholism, with the song's anthemic surge hinting at the sobriety that the frontman would ultimately go on to achieve. “This song was written after I accepted that I was gonna have to stay sober if I wanted to have some kind of life,” explains Patrick. “Knowing and doing don't always go hand in hand so this song captures a few years where I was dragged back and forth.”
THESE NEW PURITANS – WHERE THE TREES ARE ON FIRE
Closing out the column today with Essex-via-Berlin-via-London duo These New Puritans. According to Jack Barnett, the brooding lyrics and melody for “Where the Trees Are on Fire” came to him in a dream, with the frontman heard repeating the line “This is where the trees are on fire, the trees are on fire, the trees are on fire” in an almost ritualistic, chantlike manner against a backdrop of devastatingly gloomy art-rock. Inside the Rose is out this Friday...
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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.