With Labor Day weekend sounding the death knell for summer, you might be feeling a little blue. It's never fun having to return to overcast days and long nights, but if there's one thing to see us through the forthcoming season, it's music (that, and Pumpkin Spice Lattes, obviously, but we digress). The arrival of fall brings with it a barrage of tour and album announcements, meaning it's going to be an intense couple of months for us musos. Of course, if you're looking to cut out the noise and go straight to the best of the blogosphere this September, then rest assured that We Are: The Guard has got you covered. As temperatures begin to plummet around us, get your autumn mixtape off to a head start with yet another dose of Best Indie Songs. Featuring Chelsea Wolfe, Son Lux, Matthew Dear, Zola Jesus, JR JR, and lots more, there's something here for everyone.



After amassing millions of plays with “Where's My Love,” SYML – the solo project of Barcelona frontman Brian Fennell – has shared yet another song from his recent debut EP, Hurt for Me. A devastatingly arresting piano ballad that pairs Fennell's effortless falsetto vocals with an unexpectedly rhythmic, Latin-indebted beat, “Fear of the Water” comes accompanied by a transfixing Keith Rivers-directed video that features a variety of dancers moving as if they're possessed by the music.



In June, Chelsea Wolfe shared the lofty swirl of doom metal “16 Psyche,” and this month, she returns with the video. Directed by Zev Deans, it's very much an ode to the alternative rock aesthetic of the turn of the millennium, with the clip centering around fisheye footage of Wolfe and her band – including Queens of the Stone Age's Troy Van Leeuwen – performing in a room choking on smoke machines. Shots of the singer being escorted to some kind of mental asylum also appear, with the whole thing making for a formidable teaser ahead of her fifth album, Hiss Spun – due out later this month.



A couple are taunted by an unseen enemy in the video for Son Lux's “Dangerous.” Featured on the band's recent fifth EP, Remedy – a keyed up collection of songs written in response to last year's election and the rise of Donald Trump – the Alex Cook-directed clip begins with the pair hiding in a house from the oppressive, insidious villain. As the chaos starts to build in the music, so too does the urgency of the video, with the couple ultimately breaking free from their confines and moving out into the light, proving that complacency is never an option when it comes to fighting evil.




Brockhampton – the prolific, Kevin Abstract-led rap collective and self-described “boy band” who formed on the Internet forum KanyeToThe – continue to redefine hip hop with “Sweet.” Featured on their recent second album Saturation II – which arrived two months after their debut album, Saturation I – the song is a certified groove built around an eerie string sample, with a total of six members stepping up to the microphone, including JOBA, whose playful, Walkman and *NSYNC-referencing verse proves a particular highlight.



Having collaborated on a cover of Tears for Fears' “Pale Shelter” in 2013, avant-garde auteur Matthew Dear and twins Tegan and Sara team up once again this year on “Bad Ones.” It's a glossy, luminous piece of electronic pop that's comparable to Tegan and Sara's recent eighth album Love You to Death, with the Quin sisters helping to entice out the more sentimental side of Dear as together they sing about – to quote Sara – “finding someone who loves the more complicated parts of you.”



Following on from the Amber Mark and Marco McKinnis-featuring “Trees on Fire” in June, DJDS return with a second star-studded collaboration this month. Premiered by Zane Lowe on Beats 1, “Why Don't You Come On” enlists the vocal talents of California singer-songwriter Empress Of and Khalid – who recently scooped Best New Artist at the MTV Video Music Awards. A yearning mid-tempo ballad that hears Empress Of and Khalid's lustrous harmonies meeting over elastic synthesizers and hyperkinetic beats, it's yet another thoughtful dancefloor anthem from DJDS.



Introducing JW Ridley, the art school graduate-turned-British singer-songwriter, who makes his debut on We Are: The Guard with his celestial latest single “Somewhere Else.” Produced by Ridley alongside John Catlin (The 1975, Foals, Warpaint), it's a dreamy, otherworldly swirl of 80s-indebted post-punk, with crisp electronic drums meeting guitars steeped in canyons of reverb, all the while Ridley's spacey, detached vocals preside over the whole thing like some washed-out Instagram filter.



While “Exhumed” and “Soak” carried with them a heavy sense of despair, Zola Jesus shines a more optimistic light on the emphatic latest single to be unveiled from her fifth album, Okovi – due out on Friday. A profoundly moving, staggeringly lovely piece about empathizing with and supporting a loved one through dark times, Zola Jesus reveals in a press release that she was initially apprehensive about releasing “Siphon” as it was written for someone very close to her who'd attempted suicide. She continues: “In the end, I decided this song needed to be heard, not only by this person, but by others as well.”



JR JR invite us to reconsider our relationship with material things on their latest single “Clean Up.” Coming ahead of their North American tour this fall, it's a meditative reverie about our reliance on coping mechanisms such as over-consumption and all-round excess, as told through an intentionally spartan electro-acoustic production. “'Clean Up' is a song about the discomfort that not living in harmony with your true values can cause, so singing about it is supposed to make people a little uncomfortable,” write the Michigan duo in a press release. “Hopefully, even question their own relationship with distractions.”



soundcloud Liyv, the We Are: The Guard favorite who prides herself on making “songs for sad people who like bright colors,” reveals a more inky side to her multifaceted personality on “Maybe I Won't.” Featured on her recent debut EP It Me, it's a slinky piece of “pastel pop” that finds the Oregon artist getting in touch with her inner dangerous woman. “I'm not your plaything/I'm a goddamn enchantress,” begins “Maybe I Won't,” with Liyv taking full control of her sexual agency in order to tease a love interest over a murky bed of synthesizers.


Until next time. x

Photo” by Ariel Lustre 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.