BEST INDIE SONGS - WEEK 19
Hello, everyone, and thanks for joining me for the latest edition of We Are: The Guard's Best Indie Songs! That's right, it's time to take your shiny new limited edition vinyl copy of Father of the Bride off the turntable, as the team and I have got plenty of other indie music to keep you busy this Monday – including some releases that came out on our very own incubator label! Without further ado, then, let's get this week started the only way that we know how with the following selection of indie tracks from BANKS, Bastille, Cage the Elephant & Beck, Lewis Capaldi, Marika Hackman, and lots more!
MXMS – SALVATION HURTS
MXMS are stepping out from the shadows and into the light on the epic “Salvation Hurts.” The latest single to be unveiled from their debut EP Funeral Pop I – out now on We Are: The Guard (no biggie!) – finds the two-piece in search of deliverance from darkness, with Ariel Levitan's pleading vocals taking us to new levels of spiritual catharsis over Jeremy Dawson's anthemic, 80s-indebted production.
VAMPIRE WEEKEND – SYMPATHY
Every song on Father of the Bride slaps, although none of them slap quite like the album's centerpiece “Sympathy.” The track finds Vampire Weekend trying their hands at flamenco (no, really!), with an exhilarating clatter of Spanish guitars providing a lighthearted backdrop to some of Ezra Koenig's most incisive lyrics to date: “Judeo-Christianity, I'd never heard the words/Enemies for centuries, until there was a third.”
BANKS – GIMME
BANKS is back, baby! Three years on from the release of The Altar, the Los Angeles songstress returns this 2019 with “Gimme,” a darkly exhilarating declaration of independence that hears Jillian Rose Banks sounding more unapologetic than ever as she announces in the subwoofer-shaking chorus: “Gimme, gimme, what I want, what I deserve/Gimme, gimme it.” What a banger.
BASTILLE – DOOM DAYS
The end of the world is almost upon us, but at least we have London band Bastille to see us out in style with their latest single. “When I watch the world burn/All I think about is you,” begins “Doom Days,” an apocalyptic party anthem that hears Bastille frontman Dan Smith lyrically touching on a number of subjects – including climate change, social media addiction, and Brexit – over a bed of escapist synth pop.
BILLIE MARTEN – PEACH
Coinciding with the release of her recent album Feeding Seahorses by Hand, Billie Marten invites us even further into her utterly idyllic Arcadia in the short film “Peach.” Directed by Josh Shinner, the 17-minute clip is nothing short of a perfect accompaniment to the English singer-songwriter's gently pastoral folk nostalgia, with the scenes of Billie and friends frolicking in sunflower-speckled fields and stroking horses truly warming the heart.
CAGE THE ELEPHANT & BECK – NIGHT RUNNING
To quote YouTube user Wuh-huW: “So this is what it feels like to drink from a glow stick.” Cage the Elephant and Beck are taking a trip into the simulation in the video for the neo-psychedelic reggae groove “Night Running,” with Cage the Elephant frontman Matt Shultz seen dancing within the confines of a neon supercomputer while collaborator Beck acts as some kind of besuited master controller.
LEWIS CAPALDI – HOLD ME WHILE YOU WAIT
Following on from the huge “Someone You Loved” – which spent a total of seven weeks at #1 in the UK – Lewis Capaldi returns this Monday with another tearjerker. “Hold Me While You Wait” once again finds the Glaswegian balladeer placing his enormous voice front and center, with Lewis revealing that the song was written about “the uncertainty of being in a relationship.” He continues: “There's an impending hopelessness to the whole thing, on both sides, when they're not sure whether they want to be in that relationship or not.”
IONNALEE – SOME BODY
ionnalee takes time out from touring North America with TR/ST and Allie X in order to share “SOME BODY.” The latest single to be unveiled from the Stockholm artist's impending album REMEMBER THE FUTURE is a sexy piece of synth pop that was produced by ionnalee alongside Claes Björklund, with the former iamamiwhoami frontwoman's breathy ethereality coming paired with the kind of down-and-dirty disco groove that would make Robyn circa-Honey proud.
MARIKA HACKMAN – I'M NOT WHERE YOU ARE
Marika Hackman continues to move away from her folky beginnings on her latest single “i'm not where you are.” The song hears the London artist – who recently split from The Japanese House – deploying a mixture of synths and guitars in order to bring to life a spikier, punkier rendering of her sound, with the track lyrically focusing on Marika's inability to emotionally connect with others. “On the surface it seems like an arrogant 'everybody falls in love with me' kind of song but it's actually incredibly lonely, introspective, and self-deprecating,” writes the 27-year-old. Listen!
LOLA BLANC – ANGRY TOO
Men have portrayed women as more crazy, irrational, and emotional than them since the beginning of time. Lola Blanc is subverting that trope by leaning into it entirely on her latest single “Angry Too” – out now on We Are: The Guard (yay!). Written during the height of the #MeToo movement, “Angry Too” encapsulates the rage felt by most females over the last couple of years, with a horror movie-style production acting as a platform for Lola to unleash her intentionally hysterical vocal performance: “It would hit you like poison if you knew what I knew/You would be angry too.”
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.