BEST INDIE SONGS - WEEK 18

5/1/17
“Photo” by Brooke Cagle

April. It was an excellent month for We Are: The Guard. Not only did we bring you some incredible music – including a couple of world class premieres – we also celebrated the return of our Best Indie Pop column. As we turn our attention to May, we have a lot more excitement planned. I can't tell you much at the moment, but trust me when I say that it's going to be our most fantastic month yet. On that note, let's get things started as we so often do with another edition of Best Indie Songs, featuring Paramore, Lou the Human, Jacob Banks, Gnash, Joywave and many others.

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PARAMORE – HARD TIMES

“Hard Times” sounds nothing like the Paramore that you can remember. Featured on their forthcoming fifth album, After Laughter, the song hears lead singer Hayley Williams and company recycling the art pop of 80s iconoclasts such as Talking Heads into an anthem for disenfranchised millennials, with the color-blocking aesthetic of the Andrew Joffe-directed video only adding to the early MTV vibes.

 

LOU THE HUMAN – BRINK

Introducing Lou the Human, the upcoming rapper who's helping to put Staten Island back on the map with “Brink.” Featured on his debut EP Humaniac, the song hears the 21-year-old spitting explicit bars like “This that brink of insanity, kidnapping families/Tie your baby mother up and fuck her in the family V” atop a minimal, piano-driven beat, resulting in a statement-making first single that reminds me of a young Eminem.

 

JACOB BANKS – MERCY

Jacob Banks takes us to church on his latest offering “Mercy,” the follow-up to the previously featured “Chainsmoking.” The Nigerian-born, British-raised crooner – who recently unveiled his third EP, The Boy Who Cried Freedom – delivers pure, unadulterated gospel on the song, which showcases the full power of Jacob's voice against a soulful cascade of electronic guitar and Hammond organ.

 

BEATRICH – ABOUT

Lithuanian singer-songwriter Beatrich brings together the organic and the electronic on her thumping latest offering, “About.” The song begins with some deep house piano chords and acoustic guitar thrums acting as a backdrop to the 18-year-old's lethargic vocal performance. A foot-stomping drum beat then motions in the chorus, transforming “About” into a certified club banger that's sure to appeal to a wide-range of music fans.

 

MOTHICA – SOMETIMES

Ahead of the release of her sophomore EP Heavy Heart, Mothica has shared the lead single, “Sometimes.” The We Are: The Guard favorite uses her shimmering pipes to give voice to the doubts and uncertainties that come from dating in the Tinder age on the future bass cut, which might be her most accessible song to date. Mothica: “It's hard to trust your gut when your heart is being mislead. Nobody likes to feel like their time is being wasted.”

 

GNASH (FEAT. DENM) – BELONG

We Are: The Guard signee DENM pays tribute to all of the outsiders, misfits and free spirits on his emotive latest single, “Belong.” “I've always been a kid trying to find where I belong,” reveals the Los Angeles artist in the devastatingly beautiful piece of acoustic pop, which also features contributions from sensitive young rapper Gnash. “Wrote a song with my friend Gnash,” posts DENM on Twitter. “It's honest, it's real and I hope that you dig it.”

 

JOYWAVE – CONTENT

Two years after the release of their debut album How Do You Feel Now?, Rochester five-piece Joywave return this 2017 with “Content.” Featuring introspective verses giving way to cacophonous, electronically-charged choruses, “Content” can very much be described as the sound of an existential crisis in the algorithmic age (“I'm searching for the difference between/What content and content can bring.”).

 

VŌX – I / YOU

Vōx continues to refine her experimental breed of pop music on the thoughtful latest single to be unveiled from her upcoming debut EP, I Was Born. Featuring the gifted Los Angeles singer-songwriter exploring her impressive vocal range atop a spacious, and at times non-existent, production courtesy of Josiah Kosier and Chris Hunt, “I / You” is yet another artful offering from the We Are: The Guard favorite. FFO: FKA Twigs, Imogen Heap.

 

RINNGS – CUTTING THE CLOTH

Rinngs make their debut on We Are: The Guard with the effortless “Cutting the Cloth.” Built using only vocals and percussion, “Cutting the Cloth” is an exquisitely crafted, artful piece of minimalistic pop that Rinngs tell Clash is inspired by “choral music, Indian cartoons, the beats of the 1959 Wurlitzer Side Man and on and on. Lyrically the song explores the themes of desire, ageing, loss, beauty, loneliness and rebellion.” Check it out.

 

LUHA – SHE

Four months after unveiling her debut single, “Blue Whale,” LUHA returns this May to remind us that she's a force to be reckoned with on the hypnotic “She.” “I have no mercy, I have my plans/I give you life, I take it back again,” warns the Swedish-Filipino chanteuse in the opening verse, which goes from dark, brooding electronic pop beginnings into a chorus built from a cascade of Arabian-like chants.

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Until next time. x

Photo” by Brooke Cagle is licensed under CC0 1.0 (cropped and resized).

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.