BEST INDIE SONGS - WEEK 37
Hello, everyone, and thanks for joining me for the latest edition of We Are: The Guard's Best Indie Songs! While most people are still basking in the afterglow of Norman F*cking Rockwell! (okay, well, most people except Ann Powers), the team and I have been busy as ever filtering through Spotify, YouTube, and beyond for all of the top indie tracks of the last seven days! As summer starts to make way for fall, then, get your playlists autumn-ready this Monday with the following selection of best indie songs from Grimes & I_O, MUNA, girl in red, The Knife, Danny Brown, and more!
GRIMES & I_O – VIOLENCE
From Elon Musk to experimental eye surgery, it feels like Grimes has been in the news for everything but music over the last few months. The Canadian act is finally returning the focus to her art, however, with “Violence,” an ultraviolet slice of techno-lite that hears Grimes singing with airy grace about an abusive relationship between humans and Mother Earth over a propulsive synth production courtesy of deadmau5 associate i_o.
OVERCOATS – THE FOOL
New York City duo and inaugural Bandlyweds contestants Overcoats return in unapologetically raw style this Monday with “The Fool.” Inspired by the unnumbered tarot card of the same name, “The Fool” hears Hana Elion and JJ Mitchell entering a brand new chapter both musically and lyrically, with the two-piece injecting their typically sweet sound with a shot of Sleater-Kinney-esque punk spirit as they sing about letting go of the past in the empowering chant of a chorus.
P.S. How badass do Hana and JJ look with shaved heads?
MUNA – STAYAWAY
As someone who's been known to drunk text their exes more than they care to mention over the years, I've learned one valuable thing about breakups: It's not the leaving that hurts, but the staying away. MUNA come to terms with this very understanding on their latest single, the aptly titled “Stayaway,” an achingly sparkly piece of synth-pop that the Los Angeles queer trio say is “about trying to rid yourself of a negative pattern and realizing that it requires you to make a whole network of other changes.”
GIRL IN RED – BAD IDEA!
Norway's girl in red surrenders to temptation on the latest single to be unveiled from her recent EP chapter 2. “bad idea!” is a chugging earworm that pulses and throbs with queer sexual energy, with the 20-year-old singing about her inability to resist a rendezvous with a late-night lover over driving, propulsive drums and niggling guitar riffs. “For me 'bad idea!' is about wanting something very intensely and going for it without thinking about the consequences,” writes girl in red. Enjoy.
OPUS ORANGE – TELL IT LIKE IT IS
It's more important than ever that we make our voices heard, and Opus Orange is here to encourage us to do exactly that on his soaring latest single “Tell It Like It Is.” “Say it like you mean it, like it's coming from/A place that's hidden deep inside/I know I'd rather hide/But I'm gonna tell it like it is, tell it like it is,” sings frontman Paul Bessenbacher on the song, an ascendant, thrilling piece of indie-pop that'll inspire you to speak your mind whenever you listen to it.
BOY HARSHER – SEND ME A VISION
Just seven months on from the release of Careful, Boy Harsher are beckoning us into the shadows once again this Monday with “Send Me a Vision.” Featured on the darkwave duo's recent EP Country Girl Uncut – an extended version of their 2017 EP Country Girl – it's a claustrophobic cry for help from the underground, with the pleads of frontwoman Jae Matthews ricocheting out over a blend of palpitating bass and clattering, rattling drums.
BJÖRK – FEATURES CREATURES (THE KNIFE REMIX)
Björk and The Knife? It doesn't get much better than this, let me tell you. Both artists are brought together in bombastic bliss on this revision of “Features Creatures” – which originally appeared on Björk's 2017 album Utopia – with The Knife infusing the cut with chaotic, frenzied tribal percussion and triumphant horns, resulting in a rapturous reinterpretation that's reminding me just how much I missed Karin and Olof Dreijer.
DANNY BROWN – DIRTY LAUNDRY
Ahead of the release of uknowhatimsayin¿ in October, Danny Brown returns this Monday with the hysterical “Dirty Laundry.” As the song title suggests, the cut is essentially a laundry list of the Detroit rapper's sexual conquests, with the 38-year-old citing everywhere that he's got down and dirty – from Burger King to the laundromat – over a rumbling beat courtesy of none other than Q-Tip. “This is my version of a stand-up comedy album,” writes Danny of uknowhatimsayin¿. “I wanted to create something that mixed humor with music. Something that was funny but not parody.”
POM POM SQUAD – HEAVY HEAVY
Introducing New York City's Pom Pom Squad, the Mia Berrin-fronted four-piece who are here to quite frankly rip you a new one with their latest single. Featured on their recent EP Ow, “Heavy Heavy” is a song about the downward spiral into all-encompassing emptiness, with the cut concluding in a sprawl of distortion and guttural screams as Mia declares: “I'm feeling heavy heavy does it mean/I wanna fucking die?”
GRAND PATTERNS – BY THEN
And so we conclude this week with a submission that came to We Are: The Guard by way of Fluence (feel free to send your music to us here). Clocking in at just over six minutes, everything about “By Then” by Grand Patterns is truly, utterly weird, with the enigmatic, mysterious “one-man project” taking us on a bizarre journey through a kind of lo-fi, psychedelic circus that sounds like the millennial love child of Ariel Pink and Syd Barrett. Just, listen.
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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.