THE 10 BEST INDIE SONGS YOU NEED IN YOUR LIFE THIS WEEK
2020 just won’t let the hell up, will she? She’s like: ‘World War III, bushfires, COVID-19, and global civil unrest not enough for you? How about a tropical storm for good measure? Or why don’t we bring back the bubonic plague, because LOL?’ *Sigh*. I am...exhausted. But at least we have music to keep us keeping on despite the chaos. Buckle in, then, as it’s time to make it through another week of mayhem with the latest edition of We Are: The Guard’s Best Indie Songs. Featuring James Blake, brakence, Declan McKenna, and more, this playlist has something for everyone!
JAMES BLAKE – ARE YOU EVEN REAL?
“Are you even real?” is a question I frequently find myself asking James Blake. There’s something decidedly unearthly about the British troubadour’s sound, with the 31-year-old transporting us once again on “Are You Even Real?” – a cinematic, lovespun symphony that’s up there with everything we heard on 2019’s Assume Form.
BRAKENCE – SAUCEINTHEROUGH
Q: What would sound like if EDEN was produced by 100 gecs? A: “sauceintherough” by brakence. The Columbus upstart is wholeheartedly tearing up the rule book with this bonus cut from his recent album punk2, with brakence teaming up with Dylan Brady to deliver an abrasive, angsty piece of anti-pop that nothing short of goes off.
DECLAN MCKENNA – DANIEL, YOU’RE STILL A CHILD
Declan McKenna continues to build up to the release of Zeros in August by sharing the flamboyant “Daniel, You’re Still a Child.” The song hears Declan introducing us to Daniel – a character said to make various appearances throughout Zeros – with the lyrics detailing Daniel’s growing sense of detachment from the world by way of Declan’s spacy synths, glitzy rock-and-roll riffs, and extravagant frontmanship. Elton John could never.
GUS DAPPERTON – POST HUMOROUS
Ahead of the release of Orca in September, Gus Dapperton has shared the glorious “Post Humorous.” Clocking in at just under five minutes, it’s a joyous piece of acoustic-pop that doubles up as a moment of intense catharsis for Gus, who reveals he wrote the song about a time when he viewed “life like a joke and death like a victory.”
BEST FRENZ – 30% OFF!
Having made their debut on the blogosphere last month with “Ugly Ending,” Best Frenz return this Monday with “30% Off!” It’s an electrifying riffer that hears Jason Suwito (Sir Sly) and Daniel Armbruster (Joywave) coming together for a masterclass in indie-pop melodics, with the song lyrically touching on commercialism amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Favorite line: “Sitting indoors, hiding from a cough/The whole world is 30% off.”
TWIN PEAKS (FEAT. LALA LALA) – WHISTLE IN THE WIND (END OF EVERYTHING)
Twin Peaks don’t sound too distant from the television show on their latest single “Whistle in the Wind (End of Everything).” Featured on the Chicago five-piece’s recent EP Side A, it’s a luxurious slow-cruiser that would fit right into David Lynch’s Roadhouse, with Jack Dolan’s down-and-out vocals coming swept up by some sumptuous saxophones.
LEO BHANJI – THE WADES
Meet Leo Bhanji, Dirty Hit’s latest signee, who’s hitting the ground running with the intoxicating “The Wades.” Built around marching drums, flickers of guitars, and Leo’s literature-referencing lyrics (this particular song was reportedly inspired by Raymond Chandler’s The Long Goodbye), “The Wades” is a potent introduction to this genre-agnostic 20-year-old. No Guard EP is out now.
JUNIOR MESA – LOSING MY GRIP
There’s no shortage of songs about descending into madness, although none of them have managed to make it sound quite as fun as “Losing My Grip” by Junior Mesa. “‘Losing My Grip’ is a song about me going crazy all while trying to be in a full-time relationship,” writes the 21-year-old of the irreverent ode to insanity, which brings together Junior’s range of vintage influences for a bit of playful retro-pop like no other.
VALENTIN HANSEN – WAYS
Germany’s Valentin Hansen has been restless for as long as he can remember. Born and raised in a village with a population of only 300, the rising artist bravely goes in search of both meaning and escape on “Ways” – a scratchy, shape-shifting groover that Valentin describes as being about “finding the way in an unjust world.”
FUTURE ISLANDS – FOR SURE
It’s been three years since The Far Field (and six years since that viral performance), but Future Islands return at long last this Monday with “For Sure.” The song is an affirming anthem that serves as a much-needed antidote to these times of doom and gloom, with “Blue Monday”-indebted synths and searing guitars underpinning Samuel T. Herring as he gives one of his signature impassioned sermons.
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.