BEST INDIE SONGS - WEEK 13

3/26/18
Photo by Sergio Souza

Hello, everyone, and welcome to the latest edition of We Are: The Guard's Best Indie Songs! Can you believe that there's only 18 days to go until Coachella? Even if you're not planning on attending this year, the lead-up to the festival season is always a fun time for music fans, with artists from around the world competing to release the all-important “Song of the Summer!” There are definitely some contenders in this week's playlist (if we do say so ourselves!), so before you turn your attention to your chocolate eggs this Easter, grab your headphones and check out the following 10 tracks from MXMS, Ariel Pink, Cobi, Jack White, Arlo, and more!

 

MXMS – THE RUN

We Are: The Guard's very own MXMS not only face their demons, but full-on embrace them on their haunting latest single. “And I love being alone/Playing with a gun/The bloods on the floor/Heads on the door,” sings the enchanting Ariel Levitan on “The Run,” a shadow-dappled ode to celebrating vices that comes paired with a video that immerses viewers in the funeral pop duo's world of romantic torment.

 

LIFE IN SWEATPANTS – ARE WE ON THE SAME ROAD

There comes a time in every relationship when a couple has to ask themselves, “Are we all in, or are we all out?” This is the exact moment that enigmatic bedroom pop band Life in Sweatpants (L.I.S. for short) examine on their latest single “Are We on the Same Road” – a song that, much like the relationship in question, hisses and hums with potential in the early stages, before exploding like an incandescent comet in the night sky at the climax.

 

ARIEL PINK (FEAT. DÂM FUNK) – ACTING

Ariel Pink is a gift that keeps on giving. One week on from starring as Elizabeth Taylor's ghost in the video for SSION's “At Least the Sky Is Blue” (no, really!), the bizarro pop star returns with the clip for the Dedicated to Bobby Jameson groove “Acting.” Directed by Eric Ernest Johnson, the VHS-style visual follows a man named Damon Huss as he strolls through the Hollywood Walk of Fame, with the wannabe actor seen posing for photographs and signing autographs while Ariel croons: “Acting like James Dean/Acting out off-screen/Acting comes naturally, I'm acting out on fantasies.”

 

MY BODY – HOT LIKE THE ROOM

It's hard to believe that MY BODY's “Hot Like the Room” has less than 4000 plays on SoundCloud, but we're confident that'll change as soon as the blogosphere catches on to this Portland duo's esoteric electronic vibes. Juxtaposing lead singer Jordan Bagnall's swooning, classically-trained vocals with an ear-pulverising glitchscape courtesy of producer Darren Bridenbeck, this sleeper hit-in-the-making truly sounds like nothing that we've ever heard before.

 

ZOOFAN – BABY BLUE

Introducing Zoofan, the London duo comprising of Max Walker and Hamish Wallace who, fresh from performing at Paris Fashion Week, are making their debut on We Are: The Guard with the woozy “Baby Blue.” Featured on Zoofan's recent debut EP Pt. 1, “Baby Blue” is the kind of song that we could get lost in for days, with Max and Hamish's dreamily melancholic harmonies floating like pollen tufts atop a spring haze of guitars and synthesizers.

 

COBI – COSMOPOLITAN MAN

Cobi, the Los Angeles troubadour who first made his impact felt two years ago when he released the soulful “Don't You Cry for Me,” returns this 2018 with “Cosmopolitan Man.” The first taste from the former Gentlemen Hall frontman's forthcoming debut album is described as a “journey to self-discovery,” with Cobi's powerhouse vocals and thoughtful lyricism together making for a song that aims straight for the chest.

 

JACK WHITE – OVER AND OVER AND OVER

With its bongos and backing choir, “Over and Over and Over” is one of the weirder cuts on Jack White's Boarding House Reach. That said, nothing quite prepared us for the song's surreal video. Directed by Us, the visual starts out with the Third Man Records founder performing for a couple of models in an apartment while blue paint drips from the stairs. It only gets more odd from there, with masked children and weightlifters among the guests visiting Jack in his reality-distorting living room.

 

JJ BYARS – TOYS

Having become a regular on the New York City scene, JJ Byars sets his sights on even bigger things with “Toys.” Clocking in at just under five minutes, it's a rich, explorative ode to impermanence that pulls from a whole variety of genres, while defying them altogether, with JJ's lush vocals coming set against a backdrop of country-style chicken pickin' guitars, before handclaps and other percussive elements enter to carry the song to its dynamic climax.

 

ARLO – SETTLE

Arlo has a voice that makes you feel something real. Case in point: “Settle.” Coming ahead of the 24-year-old's sold-out gig at London's The Waiting Room, it's a heartbreakingly honest symphony that'll resonate with anyone who's ever loved and lost. “'Settle' is about doing everything in your power to be wanted,” writes Arlo in a press release. “It's full of desperation and hopelessness. It's my most vulnerable moment on record.”

 

TWIN SHADOW (FEAT. RAINSFORD) – BRACE

George Lewis, Jr. – the equal parts groovy and otherworldly artist also known as Twin Shadow – follows up the HAIM-featuring bop “Saturdays” with yet another song from his forthcoming album Caer. “Brace” is a pop-oriented piece that sounds like Tom Petty's “Free Fallin'” cast in beatific hues, with Twin Shadow even making reference to the late Heartbreaker in the track's heavenly pre-chorus: “I was stuck on that phone call/Tom Petty waiting on a free fall.”

Until next week, everyone! x

'charts

Photo by Sergio Souza on Unsplash

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.