BEST INDIE SONGS - WEEK 33
What's up, hipsters?! Thanks for joining me for the latest edition of We Are: The Guard's Best Indie Songs. It's kind of crazy to think that we're already midway through August. It'll be Pumpkin Spice Season before we know it, but let's not get ahead of ourselves. There's still a bit of summer to go yet, and as ever, We Are: The Guard is here to help you see it out with a bang this Monday. Headphones at the ready, then, as it's time for you to check out the following indie tracks from Jai Wolf, Sevdaliza, gnash, and lots more. (Honorable mention to Toto's cover of Weezer's “Hash Pipe.” It doesn't feature here, but trust me, you should still very much listen to it.)
ALLIE X – NOT SO BAD IN LA
Allie X explores the dark side of Hollywood in this cinematic video for her latest single “Not So Bad in LA.” Watch as the pop star turns aspiring actress in this David Lynch-style visual, which sees Allie trying out some serious Oscar-worthy looks, including a Marilyn Monroe-type ensemble. “The starlet basically represents the desperation of Hollywood,” Allie tells Billboard of the clip. “The desire to push up your tits and cinch your waist and blow up your lips and make your hair really big and blonde and just be very shiny. She's delusional.”
MITSKI – TWO SLOW DANCERS
Mitski gets nostalgic beneath the glint of a disco ball on her latest single. “Does it smell like a school gymnasium in here?” begins “Two Slow Dancers,” a bittersweet ballad that depicts the scene of a high school prom, albeit through the eyes of a couple of waltzing adults. “They used to have something together that is no longer there,” reveals Mitski. “They're trying to relive it in a dance, knowing that they'll have to go home and go back to their lives.”
JAI WOLF (FEAT. CHELSEA JADE) – LOST
It's been 16 months (!), but Jai Wolf is finally breaking his radio silence this August with “Lost.” Described by the New York City producer as “an anthem for a generation of kids who feel disillusioned by the world around them,” the Chelsea Jade-featuring composition is a neon-hued shard of synth pop brilliance, with Wolf adding that the 80s-indebted number is “a perfect bridge” between his old music and where he wants to go next.
MOSES SUMNEY – RANK & FILE
Moses Sumney shows a completely different side to his sound on his latest single. Closing his recent EP Black in Deep Red, 2014, “Rank & File” is a fraught, urgent cadence call that was inspired by a protest rally that the Los Angeles artist attended following the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, with Moses moving away from his sensuous breed of R&B in order to explore a creative direction that feels more in line with the politics of our time.
SEVDALIZA – SHAHMARAN
This. Is. Art. My words simply can't do “Shahmaran” justice, so instead allow me to pass over to director Emmanuel Adjei to offer his own explanation of this audiovisual masterpiece, which stars and is soundtracked by We Are: The Guard favorite Sevdaliza:
“Carrying the burden of their ancestors, most black men today are still born into an environment that limits their freedom. Lost in a hazardous place from which they can't seem to escape, their survival mechanisms have become their guide when making decisions. Whilst growing up, they have learned to fixate on the place where they know they need to be. Drawn to the dream of having power and success, they hold on to a false idea of autonomy. Yet, it is this house of freedom that has enslaved these men again. Chained to a fantasy, often of a materialistic nature, they remain upright throughout survival.”
GNASH (FEAT. BEN ABRAHAM) – DEAR INSECURITY
For me, it doesn't get much more relatable than gnash's “dear insecurity.” Then again, I'm sure that I'm not the only person who holds the Los Angeles rapper's words close to their chest. With stress, anxiety, and depression on the rise, it's always refreshing to come across an artist who's open about their struggle with mental illness, with gnash leading the way with this song about embracing vulnerability. <3
HALF•ALIVE – STILL FEEL
I can't even BEGIN to describe how happy this video makes me! Taking a cue from OK Go's canon of elaborately choreographed visuals, Long Beach indie trio half•alive are making me smile from the inside out with this groovy clip for their effortlessly, infectiously catchy bop “still feel,” which was shot in one take and sees Josh Taylor, James Krausse, and Brett Kramer seamlessly dancing in sync through a neon-lit warehouse.
LOVELYTHEBAND – MAYBE, I'M AFRAID
If you're a fan of AWOLNATION or Imagine Dragons, then listen up, as this song by lovelytheband is for you! Featured on their recent album finding it hard to smile, “maybe, i'm afraid” is the ultimate lighter-in-the-sky alternative rock anthem, the kind that you can imagine a whole stadium singing along to in a couple of years time. Just remember that you heard it here first, okay?!
WINGTIP – PAVEMENT
Wingtip returns with a song that's fresher than an August breeze. Like running through fields of wheat on a late summer's day, there's something warm and nostalgically life-affirming about this folk-infused latest single to be unveiled from the Los Angeles producer's incoming EP Ghosts of Youth, with Wingtip incorporating just enough electronic flourishes to keep it interesting to a modern ear.
PHANTASTIC FERNITURE – DARK CORNER DANCE FLOOR
Concluding this week with the kick ass video for Phantastic Ferniture's “Dark Corner Dance Floor.” No, really, if this visual of band members Julia Jacklin and Elizabeth Hughes walking around Sydney late at night in prom dresses and fur scarves while eating potato chips isn't a total MOOD, then I don't know what is! “We wanted to capture that feeling we had when we were two starry-eyed teens imagining a fake city life,” say Phantastic Ferniture of the cool as fuck clip. Enjoy!
Until next Monday, don't forget to follow We Are: The Guard's Best Indie Daily! on Spotify for lots more music! x
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.