BEST INDIE SONGS - WEEK 23

6/4/18
Photo by Mason Wilkes

Between Pusha T straight-up murdering Drake (RIP), and Kanye leaving us questioning whether he's canceled after all (ye is flames. Don't @ me), it's safe to say that the music world hasn't stopped for breath over the last seven days. And I haven't even MENTIONED the Weezer cover of “Africa”... Anyways, while pop culture was wildin' out this past week, the ever-diligent We Are: The Guard staff and I were busy hunkering down and getting to work on the latest edition of Best Indie Songs. Before you get distracted, then – either by another rap beef, or Weezer going one step further and covering “Rosanna” (wait... That already happened?! I'm shook...) – why not check out the following tracks from Gorillaz, Lykke Li, Rubblebucket, Maggie Rogers, Diana Gordon, and five other favorites?!

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GORILLAZ – HUMILITY

Following on from the announcement that they're set to release a new album The Now Now later this month, Gorillaz have shared “Humility.” To say that this couldn't get any further from 2017's dark, dystopian Humanz would almost seem an understatement. Pairing Damon Albarn's lackadaisical vocal delivery with a warm breeze of calypso-style guitars, “Humility” is post-apocalyptic beach pop at its absolute finest. Oh, and did I mention that the video stars none other than JACK FREEKIN' BLACK?!

 

ALEC BENJAMIN – LET ME DOWN SLOWLY

Every once in a while, an artist comes along who sounds like a star in the making. Alec Benjamin is one such artist. The Phoenix native is 24 years old, but there's something ageless about the songwriting on display throughout “Let Me Down Slowly.” A moving acoustic ballad built from the wreckage of a relationship, this is the kind of music that defies both time and space barriers in order to touch all of those who hear it <3. FFO: Troye Sivan, Shawn Mendes.

 

ALWAYS NEVER – NO GOOD

Is there something in the water in Toronto?! As the Canadian city is pumping out dark, sexy bedroom R&B like no other. Case in point: Always Never. Following in the footsteps of The Weeknd, dvsn, and more, this enigmatic two-piece are setting the vibe with the moody, hard-hitting “No Good,” which serves as the latest single to be unveiled from their forthcoming debut album, due out later this year.

 

LYKKE LI – SEX MONEY FEELINGS DIE

Lykke Li season approaching! Ahead of the release of so sad, so sexy this Friday, the Swedish artist has shared “sex money feelings die.” The song hears the 32-year-old continuing to explore her more hedonistic, self-destructive side – last unleashed in the X-rated videos for “deep end” and “hard rain” – with Lykke singing about humanity's four biggest obsessions over a trapped-out production courtesy of Malay, Jonny Coffer, and her partner Jeff Bhasker.

 

RUBBLEBUCKET – FRUITY

Brooklyn's Rubblebucket are beckoning in summer with “Fruity.” The first single to be unveiled from their forthcoming album Sun Machine was inspired by band members Kalmia Traver and Alex Toth's recent breakup – or “conscious uncoupling,” as they prefer to call it – with the duo taking what for most would be a moment of introspection and turning it into a delightful horn-flecked celebration, complete with a beat as written by Kalmia's cousin The M Machine!

 

MAGGIE ROGERS – FALLINGWATER

Maggie Rogers sounds as vast as a ravine and as ruthless as a rapid on her latest single “Fallingwater.” The track hears the 24-year-old continuing to cultivate her transfixing blend of earthy soul-folk and deft electronica, with Maggie writing on Twitter that, lyrically, “Falling Water” addresses her rise to fame ever since THAT Pharrell moment: “It's about the power of vulnerability – a cry for help and a battle cry at the same time.”

 

VIVII – SAVANT

Having signed to Dumont Dumont, the same record label as RY X, Swedish dream pop trio ViVii make their debut on We Are: The Guard with “Savant.” And when I say dream pop, I really mean it! Bringing together ethereal vocal whispers, delicately drifting guitar curlicues, and otherworldly synth washes, “Savant” truly does evoke those moments of shut-eye when we feel at our most lucid, transcendent, and rapturous.

 

DIANA GORDON – KOOL AID

She's written songs for everyone from Beyoncé to Mary J. Blige, but Los Angeles-based artist Diana Gordon is taking her own rightful place in the spotlight this June with “Kool Aid.” Produced by Noise Club, the track is an effortlessly unperturbed listen that packs in the attitude while drifting by like an idle summer afternoon, with Diana revealing on Instagram that the lyrics were inspired by her unconventional upbringing in Queens: “I wrote this song about having to step up and be a parent to my brothers when I was just a teenager. I don't have kids, but I do have kids. It's weird. My family is wild, but I love them.”

 

KRRUM – PHASE

Ahead of the release of their debut album Honeymoon later this month, Krrum have shared “Phase.” If Trent Reznor was in his early twenties and from Leeds, there's a good chance that he'd be writing songs like this. No, really – with its mixture of down 'n' dirty vocals, industrial beats, and low-slung basslines, “Phase” is like 2018's answer to “Closer,” just without the video of severed pig heads and such.

 

ALBIN LEE MELDAU – TRY

Albin Lee Meldau used to be one of my best-kept secrets, but now that the Swedish soul crooner has unleashed his debut album About You, something tells me that he won't be all mine for very much longer. The 29-year-old artist has the kind of voice that, once you hear it, you simply can't forget it, with Albin delivering perhaps his most raw, powerful performance to date on About You's penultimate cut – the gospel-inspired hymn “Try.”

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Until next week, don't forget to follow We Are: The Guard's Best Indie Daily! on Spotify for more music! x

Photo by Mason Wilkes 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.