NEW INDIE MUSIC: 10 SONGS TO START YOUR 2021
Happy New Year, everyone! We finally made it to 2021! If that’s not a cause for celebration, then I don’t know what is! Okay, so things are still hella rough, but I’m definitely starting to see the light at the end of this hideous tunnel, and hopefully you guys are too. Meanwhile, let’s keep on keeping on with the inaugural edition of We Are: The Guard’s New Indie Music of 2021. The industry tends to get off to a slow start at the beginning of the year, but the team and I have nevertheless found some bops to see you through this first Monday back at the virtual office. Pop in those freshly gifted AirPods, then, as it’s time to check out the following tracks from Kelsey Lu & Yves Tumor, DARKSIDE, Caroline Polachek, and seven other favorites.
KELSEY LU & YVES TUMOR (FEAT. KELLY MORAN & MOSES BOYD) – LET ALL THE POISONS THAT LURK IN THE MUD SEEP OUT
We Are: The Guard regulars Kelsey Lu and Yves Tumor unite for the delirious “let all the poisons that lurk in the mud seep out.” “‘let all the poisons that lurk in the mud seep out’ is about taking risks and diving headlessly into the unknown while being wholly yourself,” says Lu of the heady soul wonder, which makes for a cleansing start to 2021.
DARKSIDE – LIBERTY BELL
Just over seven years on from the release of their debut album Psychic, DARKSIDE – the duo consisting of Nicolas Jaar and Dave Harrington – return with “Liberty Bell.” It’s a twangy, psychedelic dive into the minds of both electronic auteurs, with rustic slide guitars coming shot through with cosmic beats and Jaar’s brooding, immersive vocals.
CAROLINE POLACHEK – SO COLD YOU’RE HURTING MY FEELINGS
Christmas is fast fading in the rearview mirror, but Caroline Polachek is keeping the festive vibes going a little bit longer with “So Cold You’re Hurting My Feelings.” It’s a winter-friendly revision of the Pang banger “So Hot You’re Hurting My Feelings,” with Polachek icing up the cut with glacial synths and sweet nothings addressed to Santa.
GRANDMA – GROWING UP IS STRANGE
He made his breakthrough in 2020 with songs like “Chills” and “Bested,” and this 2021, GRANDMA continues to build on his success with “Growing up Is Strange.” It’s a brain-melting slice of genre-bending psychedelia, with subwoofer-rattling sub-bass and kaleidoscopic synths serving as a vehicle for GRANDMA’s surreal, existential musings.
DBMK – CITY
Consisting of Tampa friends Kyle Knudsen and Colton Ward, DBMK are immersing us in a world of heavy heartache on “City.” Featured on their recent EP Jump in the Dark, “City” begins life as a sweeping piano ballad about struggling to move on from a relationship, before a gargantuan bass drop transforms the vibe of the song completely.
FOUR TET – PARALLEL 4
From Sixteen Oceans to teaming up with Madlib, Four Tet had a ridiculously productive 2020. And as we move into 2021, Kieran Hebden is showing no sign of letting up with “Parallel 4.” Featured on Four Tet’s surprise new album Parallel, it’s a lush, dynamic beauty that hears chattering percussion meeting revelatory, vocal-sample-swept drops.
THE BESNARD LAKES – FEUDS WITH GUNS
Canada’s The Besnard Lakes continue to build up to the release of The Besnard Lakes Are the Last of the Great Thunderstorm Warnings – due out January 29th – with “Feuds With Guns.” Clocking in at just under five minutes, it’s a stately, sprawling piece of pop music – the romantic kind made for slow dancing under the stars in the arms of a lover.
BAKAR – HAVING A GOOD TIME, SOMETIMES
Having recently teamed up with TikTok sensation BENEE and coveted producer Kenny Beats on “Night Garden,” Bakar is seeing in the New Year in somber style with “Having a Good Time, Sometimes.” It hears the British indie act getting reflective about an old relationship, with rainy-day beats blanketing Bakar as he strives for a sense of closure.
COCO & CLAIR CLAIR – POP STAR
Coco & Clair Clair are on their “Mariah sh*t” on the infectious “Pop Star.” Bringing together bedroom-pop aesthetics and hip-hop swagger, “Pop Star” is a lo-fi cavity that makes like an addictive answer to Ariel Pink, with Coco & Clair Clair teleporting us to those early 00s days when Juicy Couture, Von Dutch, and flip phones reigned supreme.
ISAIA HURON – SOMEHOW I KNEW
Meet Isaia Huron, the Nashville artist making his beguiling debut on We Are: The Guard with “Somehow I Knew.” “All of this time I was tied to what I deemed was true/I was down on my luck, unfulfilled, and had nothing to lose,” croons Huron on the sultry ode to personal growth, with reverb guitars curling like cigar smoke behind his effortless croon.
Follow We Are: The Guard’s Weekly Chart on Spotify for more. Happy New Year! 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.