10 BEST INDIE SONGS WORTHY OF A GOLD MEDAL
Photo by Jakayla Toney on Unsplash
Kanye West didn't drop DONDA over the weekend, but don't worry, as there's plenty of music to enjoy in the latest edition of We Are: The Guard's Best Indie Songs! If making bangers was an Olympic sport, every artist in this column would win a gold medal! While we wait for the return of the throne, then, check out the following champion songs from Samia, Porches, Lorde, and lots more!
SAMIA – AS YOU ARE
Can I be completely honest? I'm typing this blurb through tears! Samia has rendered me an emotional mess with her brand new single "As You Are." The follow-up to the equally affecting "Show Up" hears the Los Angeles act paying tribute to her family and the unconditional love they've shown her throughout her life. Featured on her recent EP Scout, "As You Are" is a gently swaying listen that hears Samia's tender voice coming intertwined with soundbites of voicemails from her boyfriend Briston Maroney and her parents Kathy Najimy and Dan Finnerty.
PORCHES – OKAY
Coinciding with the announcement of his forthcoming fifth album All Day Gentle Hold ! – due out in October via Domino – New York's Porches has shared "Okay." The follow-up to "I Miss That'' hears Aaron Maine throwing himself headfirst into a more immediate, rockier sound – a move that was inspired in part by the arrival of COVID-19. "The world was flipped and I wanted to make something injected with as much love, urgency, and lust for humanity as I possibly could," says Porches of the banging bolt of joie de vivre. Crank it up, okay?
LORDE – STONED AT THE NAIL SALON
She recently returned with the beamingly brilliant "Solar Power," but Lorde is turning more introspective on her latest single "Stoned at the Nail Salon." "This song is sort of a rumination on getting older, settling into domesticity, and questioning if you've made the right decisions," explains Lorde of the inspiration behind the ballad, which once again features Clairo and Phoebe Bridgers on backing vocals. Earthy and existential, with lyrics alluding to time lost, "Stoned at the Nail Salon" could well be Lorde's most poetic offering to date.
JAMES BLAKE – SAY WHAT YOU WILL
James Blake is back, baby! It feels like it was only yesterday he dropped his Covers EP, but the British artist is already returning to our ears this Monday with "Say What Your Will." The lead single from his forthcoming fifth album Friends That Break Your Heart – due out in September via Republic and Polydor – is an ode to finding peace with yourself and your own achievements, even when others seem to be doing better than you. Showcasing Blake's vocal range like never before, "Say What You Will" comes paired with a hysterical video starring FINNEAS.
LIME GARDEN – PULP
Introducing Lime Garden, the British band inventing a kind of espionage-disco on their latest single "Pulp." "The inspiration for 'Pulp' came from a slightly unnerving dream of a spooky man cloaked in orange pulp, tiptoeing and dancing through the streets at night," Lime Garden tells The FADER of "Pulp," which was one of the first songs the four childhood friends wrote together on Logic. Bringing together a wonky vocal line with darkly undulating basslines, "Pulp" is a funky groover that plunges listeners into their very own spy-action movie.
THE LINDA LINDAS – OH!
Long live The Linda Lindas! Just a few weeks on from going viral with their electric live performance of "Racist, Sexist Boy" – which resulted in the Los Angeles outfit getting signed by Epitaph – Bela Salazar, Eloise Wong, Lucia de la Garza, and Mila de la Garza return this Monday with "Oh!" Written on their front porch during lockdown, "Oh!" is a sugary, catchy blast of teenage angst that sounds better than most male punk bands combined. "The song deals with trying to help out someone and having it blow up in your face," says The Linda Lindas. Volume up!
THE WAR ON DRUGS – LIVING PROOF
As we slowly begin to find our place in the world once again, The War on Drugs is accompanying us every step of the journey on the stunning, impactful acoustic ballad "Living Proof." According to Adam Granduciel, "Living Proof" was written in real-time during a live session with his band. This is reflected in the associative, stream-of-consciousness lyrics of the song. "I know the path/I know it's changing," sings Granduciel, as if he's feeling his way through a whole new land, before launching into a gorgeous, emotive guitar solo.
DARKSIDE – I'M THE ECHO
DARKSIDE – the New York duo composed of electronic producer Nicolas Jaar and his touring guitarist Dave Harrington – is conjuring a kind of mystical power on "I'm the Echo." Featured on their recent sophomore album Spiral – which came together after Jaar and Harrington rented a small house on Lenni-Lenape territory in New Jersey – "I'm the Echo'' is a five-minute prog opus. "Among fables and/Thesе new lies/We never gave it a hope/Or medicine," sings DARKSIDE, with their vocals coming intertwined with flourishes of sitar.
BIG RED MACHINE (FEAT. FLEET FOXES AND ANAÏS MITCHELL) – PHOENIX
Just a few weeks on from collaborating with Taylor Swift on "Renegade," Big Red Machine's Aaron Dessner and Justin Vernon are continuing to bring out the big names this Monday on "Phoenix." A duet with Robin Pecknold of Fleet Foxes and Anaïs Mitchell, "Phoenix '' is a grandly rollicking spectacle that Dessner revealed on Twitter was inspired by The Band's The Last Waltz. "I think it's what I always imagined Big Red Machine would sound like," adds Dessner of the cut, which hears Vernon and Pecknold trading lines about life, love, and loss.
J EMBER – KILLER KILLER
Concluding this Monday with a lethargic offering from Canada's j ember. "I made 'Killer Killer' on a day where I clocked an embarrassing amount of screen time during the peak of Toronto's lockdown. I felt exhausted but forced myself to write a song," explains ember. With down-and-out existential musings ("Dizzy dizzy fell over, I can't stand up straight/Killer killer get a day job, you've spent way too many sleepless nights awake") pairing with Prince-esque guitars, "Killer Killer" is an insouciant groover for summers spent staring into The Void™.
Follow We Are: The Guard's Weekly Chart for lots more music! xo
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.