BEST INDIE SONGS - WEEK 20

5/14/18
Photo by Etienne Boulanger on Unsplash

If you need any further proof that we're living in a hacked simulation: Grimes is dating Elon Musk. The unveiling of this new power couple was the true sacrilege to emerge from last week's Met Gala. Of course, the REAL reason why she's dating him is because she knows that he's her only hope of returning to her home planet, right?! RIGHT?! That, or she's planning on stealing all of his money, bringing down the Tesla and SpaceX empires, and putting an end to late-stage capitalism for good?! *Sigh* A comrade can dream... Anyways, 2018 is strange, and it looks like it's only getting stranger. While I try to keep on top of all of the madness, you check out the latest edition of We Are: The Guard's Best Indie Songs, featuring Snow Patrol, James Bay, Courtney Barnett, and more.

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SNOW PATROL – WHAT IF THIS IS ALL THE LOVE YOU EVER GET?

Snow Patrol have built an entire career out of writing big, over-earnest anthems, but the Scottish outfit are opting for something a little more introspective on their latest single. “What If This Is All the Love You Ever Get?” couldn't get any further from the stadium-sized sounds of previous songs “Run” and “Chasing Cars,” with Gary Lightbody instead spilling his heart out over nothing but a piano for a ballad that had me reaching for my tissues.

 

KERO KERO BONITO – TIME TODAY

Kero Kero Bonito never fail to put a smile on my face, even on a Monday morning, with songs like “Time Today.” The first single to be unveiled from the London trio's forthcoming sophomore album Time 'n' Place is nothing short of adorable, with lead singer Sarah Midori Perry lending her super cute vocals to an upbeat synth pop shuffle that makes me want to dance in my desk chair.

 

JUNGLE – HAPPY MAN

In 2014, they were “Busy Earnin',” but Jungle appear to have turned their back on a life of materialism on their first single in four years. “Buy yourself a dream, how's it looking?/Buy yourself a car and a house to live in/Get yourself a girl, someone different/Buy yourself a dream and it won't mean nothing,” sing vocalists Josh Lloyd-Watson and Tom McFarland on “Happy Man” – a golden groove that hears the London collective cranking up their signature funk sound.

 

SHALLOU (FEAT. RIAH) – LIE

He recently released his sophomore EP Souls, and to celebrate, Maryland producer shallou has shared the video for the melancholy highlight. Directed by Black Lake Media, the clip for the Riah-featuring “Lie” is very much a visual depiction of the song's hauntingly relatable lyricism, with the video focusing on a young estranged couple as they struggle to rediscover their sense of independence following a breakup.

 

OLIVER NELSON & TOBTOK – 99 RED BALLOONS (FEAT. RIVER)

It's really kind of sad that a song like Nena's “99 Red Balloons” can be 35 years old and, lyrically, still be as relevant ever. Oliver Nelson and Tobtok's cover of the anti-war anthem is nevertheless bringing a smile to We Are: The Guard's face this 2018, with the tropical house production at least giving us an excuse to dance through the ashes of post-apocalyptic America.

 

BILLY RAFFOUL – I'M NOT A SAINT

Introducing Billy Raffoul, the Ontario native who's making his debut on We Are: The Guard with the intoxicating “I'm Not a Saint.” Written alongside the multi-platinum-selling Julia Michaels, it's an attitude-packed ode to Billy's bad boy ways (“And I'm sorry I say f*ck so much” is officially my new mantra!), with the song showcasing the 23-year-old's husky dulcet tones over a backdrop of swaggering acoustics.

 

JAMES BAY – SLIDE

Following on from the release of the gospel-tinged “Us,” James Bay returns with “Slide.” Like “Us,” “Slide” hears the British artist reflecting on the themes of love and human connection, with the emotive piano ballad closing out with a quote by the iconic beat poet Allen Ginsberg: “The weight of the world is love/Under the burden of solitude, under the burden of dissatisfaction the weight, the weight we carry is love/And so must rest in the arms of love at last, must rest in the arms of love.”

 

COURTNEY BARNETT – SUNDAY ROAST

Ahead of the release of her sophomore album Tell Me How You Really Feel on Friday (four days and counting!), Sydney's Courtney Barnett has shared the LP closer. “Sunday Roast” is a plaintive ballad that a press releases describes “an ode to friendship and the simple pleasures of sharing a dinner with loved ones,” with Courtney's lyricism as tender and incisive as ever: “Keep on keeping on/You know you're not alone/And I know all your stories/But I'll listen to them again.”

 

SHAKEY GRAVES – COPS AND ROBBERS

Shakey Graves promised a “new sound” on his fifth album Can't Wake Up, and the Austin musician is certainly standing by his word on “Cops and Robbers.” It's an energetic rock and rock caper about turning to a life of crime, with Shakey – who comes backed by a full band – allowing himself to explore his pop sensibilities like never before in the catchy-as-hell chorus.

 

OWL JOHN – A GOOD REASON TO GROW OLD

Concluding this week in the only way that I know how. Thank you for all of the beautiful music that you gave us during your short time here, Scott. Rest easy.

“With my head in my hands I dissolve to alone
Now I've finally found a good reason to grow old
I was ready to drown in the afterlife, not anymore
Now I've finally found a good reason to grow old”

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Until next week, why not follow We Are: The Guard's Best Indie Daily! on Spotify for more?! x

Photo by Etienne Boulanger 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.