BEST INDIE SONGS - WEEK 14

3/30/20
Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

Hi, everybody. How are y'all holding up in these crazy, crazy times? As for me, I've been keeping my mind as active as ever with music, music, and more music. From watching live streams (TIL: Zoom is freaking AWESOME!) to listening to and supporting as much new music as I can, it turns out life during quarantine doesn't have to be ALL bad. With another seven days of love lockdown ahead of us, then, let's get the week started the only way we know how here at We Are: The Guard with the latest edition of Best Indie Songs, featuring Childish Gambino, ROSALÍA, The Weeknd, and more.

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CHILDISH GAMBINO – TIME

We live in a period of great darkness and despair, but Childish Gambino is here to shine a light on the world with the Ariana Grande-featuring “Time.” While not textbook “indie,” the highlight from Donald Glover's recent album 3.15.20 is still a big vibe à la 2018 hit “Feels Like Summer,” with booming drums backing Donald and Ariana as they implore us to slow down and address the numerous crises we face as a human race.

 

ELIO – MY FRIENDS ONLINE

With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing a large number of us to live our lives through the Internet, “My Friends Online” – the debut single from Welsh-born, Canadian-raised ELIO – couldn't have come at a more pertinent time. It's a glimmeringly thoughtful, intimate bedroom-pop bop that hears the 22-year-old analyzing her relationship with technology and its all-too-toxic side effects, with ELIO musically framing herself as a mixture of Clairo and British band The 1975.

 

ROSALÍA – DOLERME

ROSALÍA is hitting different in this quarantine. Having brought us chaotic mob-wife energy on her previous single “Juro Que,” the Spanish songstress is setting a more somber tone to match the current times on “Dolerme.” It's a guitar-driven ballad that finds ROSALÍA standing amid the ruins of a toxic relationship, with the 26-year-old baring her broken soul as she sings of longing to be hurt by her ex-lover once more.

 

SUB URBAN (FEAT. REI AMI) – FREAK

Roll up! Roll up! Sub Urban – the 20-year-old alternative artist hailing from New Jersey – is inviting us to a one-night showing of his twisted freak show on his latest single “Freak.” The opening cut from his recent EP Thrill Seeker is a bizarre world of wonders that makes for quite the introduction to the TikTok star, with Sub Urban and guest singer REI AMI bending their voices like contortionists around an eerie production of circus-style sounds.

 

THE WEEKND – IN YOUR EYES

From nihilist druggy to depressive romantic, The Weeknd has embraced a lot of personas over the years. One persona I never saw coming, however, was sleazeball psychopath. That said, Abel Tesfaye embraces the role with conviction in the video for “In Your Eyes,” with The Weeknd filmed chasing after an ex-lover with a kitchen knife, only to get what's coming to him in the latter half of the visual.

P.S. That saxophone solo, though!

 

BRIGHT EYES – PERSONA NON GRATA

Bright Eyes are back, baby! It's been a long time coming (nine years to be precise), but the indie legends are finally returning to mollify our souls during this time of global crisis with “Persona Non Grata.” It's a chest-tugger of a piano ballad that hears Conor Oberst meditating on themes of reconciliation and the need for peace, with the song culminating in a burst of bagpipes that feels at once impassioned and entirely cathartic.

 

MERCI, MERCY – FUCKED MYSELF UP

Meet merci, mercy – the 19-year-old Australian artist born Mercedes Thorne – who's making her debut on the blogosphere with the explicit, striking “Fucked Myself Up.” “Fucked myself up on purpose/Cos too much is never enough/What is it you want from me?/This shit don't come so easily,” sweetly coos Mercedes atop fuzzed-up guitars on the cut – a song about alcohol dependence and mental illness in the modern age that has attitude and intelligence in spades.

 

NOTHING BUT THIEVES – IS EVERYBODY GOING CRAZY?

If the collapse of modern society has got you feeling like you're gradually losing grip on reality, British band Nothing but Thieves are here to help you feel less alone on “Is Everybody Going Crazy?” “Yeah, everybody's going crazy/Can't get through to you lately/We're so hopelessly faded,” belts vocal powerhouse Conor Mason on the cut, which hears Nothing but Thieves pairing loping Muse riffs with ultraviolet pop sensibilities for a crossover hit in the making.

 

BRAIDS – SNOW ANGEL

This is spine-chilling. Braids recently announced they were delaying Shadow Offering until June, but the Canadian act are tiding us over until then with the nine-minute “Snow Angel.” Written following the 2016 election, it finds frontwoman Raphaelle Standell-Preston grappling with a growing sense of chaos and unease – feelings that find new meaning in our current situation – with the song moving between singing and spoken-word sections before Raphaelle declares in the outro: “Can I get off of this ride? I'm feeling dizzy/It's moving way too fast, and I wanna come down.”

 

RUN THE JEWELS (FEAT. GREG NICE & DJ PREMIER) – OOH LA LA

Stop everything you're doing, as Run the Jewels are back and bringing the fire, heat, and flames on “Ooh La La.” It's an old-school hip-hop jammer that hears El-P and Killer Mike doing their thing over a scratchy sample lifted from Gang Starr and Nice & Smooth's 1994 classic “DWYCK,” with El-P revealing to Zane Lowe he's wanted to rap over it 15 years: “I've been plotting on this for probably the last three albums.”

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Until next week, why not follow We Are: The Guard's Weekly Chart on Spotify for more? xo

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

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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.