BEST INDIE SONGS - WEEK 24

6/12/17
“Photo” by Egor Khomiakov

Hello, readers, and welcome to yet another edition of We Are: The Guard's Best Indie Songs. June Gloom may have descended upon the Northern Hemisphere, but as we anticipate the return of summer, there's nothing like music to brighten a Monday morning. Featuring Royal Blood, Halsey, Bastille, Lou the Human, Zola Jesus and five other favorites, this hand-selected playlist is certain to see you through the working week, whatever the weather. If that still isn't enough, however, don't forget to follow us at Spotify for lots more music, including our popular Top Tuesday and New Artist Forecaster playlists.

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ROYAL BLOOD – I ONLY LIE WHEN I LOVE YOU

Royal Blood are preparing to release their second album How Did We Get So Dark? this Friday, and to celebrate, the British duo have shared yet another song from the album. “I Only Lie When I Love You” hears Royal Blood continue their meteoric rise to rock and roll stardom, with the formidable stomp coming accompanied by a Pascal Teixeira-directed video featuring frontman Mike Herr and drummer Ben Thatcher performing in a vacuum.

 

HALSEY (FEAT. CASHMERE CAT) – HOPELESS

In April, Halsey collaborated with Norwegian artist Cashmere Cat on “Now or Never,” and this month, the pair team up once more on “Hopeless.” The song – which closes Halsey's recent second album hopeless fountain kingdom – is a minimalistic ballad about moving on from a toxic relationship (“I hope hopeless/Changes over time.”), with Cashmere Cat's signature glitched-out production – the kind of which he contributed to Kanye West's The Life of Pablo – acting as a backdrop to Halsey's aching, AutoTune-laced voice.

 

BASTILLE – GLORY

Wild World, the second album from Britain's Bastille, has provided us with some must-see videos over recent months, and that trend continues with the release of its latest single “Glory.” Directed by Daniel Brereton, the clip accompanies Bastille frontman Dan Smith and his girlfriend on a hedonistic road trip across America, with the pair seen doing everything doing from stealing cars to diving into swimming pools fully clothed. “It's my favourite track on Wild World,” reveals Dan. “We wanted the video to be a celebration of storytelling, relationships and how two people can remember things completely differently.”

 

LOU THE HUMAN – SLIM BUDDHA

Following on from his recent single “Brink,” Lou the Human continues to flesh out his unique rap persona on “Slim Buddha.” Over a grime-esque beat infused with gunshots, the Brooklyn-born, Staten Island-bred talent further cements his arrival on the hip hop scene, with the 21-year-old delivering a salvo of raw, quirky bars like: “I fuck with hypochondriacs and bipolar dawg/Don't know how to act/Run up in your crib/I'm in your mommy back/Kick you up out that bitch and make you buy it back.”

 

TERROR JR – APPRECIATION

Ahead of the release of their second album Bop City 2: Terrorising this Friday, Terror Jr – the Kylie Jenner-approved trio who're currently engaged in a Twitter beef with Fifth Harmony – have shared “Appreciation.” The follow-up to “Death Wish” opens with lead singer Lisa Terror's Kiiara-esque vocal chops set atop a bed of finger snaps. Producer Felix Snow then enters to supplement “Appreciation” with some thumping bass stabs, giving way to what can only be described as a certified chill banger.

 

ISAAC LEE – I DON'T MIND

After sharing the earth-shattering “U Make Me” in January, Isaac Lee returns this month with “I Don't Mind.” Like “U Make Me” before it, “I Don't Mind” once again finds the Atlanta outfit refusing to conform to any set genre. Combining the 20XX signee's haunting vocal performance with thunderous electronics and theatrical string arrangements, “I Don't Mind” is yet another hard-hitting statement from Isaac Lee.

 

MULÀN – DONE

Mulàn – the enigmatic outfit who emerged last September with their debut single “Night” – return this month with “Done,” a veritable groove that takes inspiration from funk, R&B and soul. Featuring an unnamed frontman delivering a lethargic vocal performance atop a combination of 80s-inflected guitars riffs and organic percussion, “Done” is perhaps best described as the love child of Prince and Jai Paul.

 

TOYKO – LIKE WHAT I LIKE

Having carried us to rapturous heights us in April with “Stronger Love,” Los Angeles artist Toyko returns this month with “Like What I Like.” A larger-than-life slice of mood pop packed full of uplifting synths and sing-along vocals, Toyko reveals that “Like What I Like” is an ode to individuality: “The song was written for everyone who has a weird interest or quirk that maybe not everyone understands, even if that weird interest is a song. I wanted something that speaks to everyone's weird side and reassures them to stay true to themselves – to live loud, and like what you like.”

 

ZOLA JESUS – EXHUMED

Purveyor of gothic pop Nika Roza Danilova, who records as Zola Jesus, makes an ominous return this June with “Exhumed.” Featured on her forthcoming fifth album Okovi (the Slavic word for “shackles”), “Exhumed” begins with doom-laden strings set against Zola's operatic vibrato. Industrial-tipped electronics then enter to ramp up the sense of menace, giving life to images like: “The knife deepens, spit or swallow/Smoother, knocking, impalpable/Sever in two and fuse to both/Dull throat, you let it go.”

 

HAIKU HANDS – NOT ABOUT YOU

Introducing Haiku Hands, the Australian four-piece comprising of Mie Nakazawa, Claire Nakazawa, Beatrice Lewis and Mataya Young, who make quite the entrance this Monday morning with their party-starting debut single “Not About You.” Clocking in at over three minutes, “Not About You” is an energetic blast of rave pop that comes packed full of attitude and personality, with a danceable, thumping four-on-the-floor beat backing Mie, Claire, Beatrice and Mataya's repeated calls of “It's not about you/Shut up!”

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Thanks for listening, readers. Until next time. x

Photo” by Egor Khomiakov 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.