NEW INDIE MUSIC - WEEK 18
It's been an incredible year for indie music so far. No, really, if you'd have told me in January that, within four months, we'd have new shit from Vampire Weekend, James Blake, Grimes, The National, and Tame Impala, to name but a few, I'd have probably laughed in your face (sorry!). The best thing, however, is that music is showing no signs of slowing down as we head into May. Headphones at the ready, then, as it's time to get this Monday started the only way that we know how with another round of We Are: The Guard's New Indie Music, which this week features cuts from FKA twigs, Anna of the North, The Marías, James Blake, Japanese Breakfast, and more.
FKA TWIGS – CELLOPHANE
FKA twigs is back, baby! Five years on from the release of the masterful LP1, Tahliah Barnett returns this Monday with “Cellophane” – a staggeringly moving ballad that hears FKA twigs stripping away her typically glitchy production in order to reveal her inner vulnerability, with lyrics that allude to her all-too-public split from Robert Pattinson: “They want to see us, want to see us alone/They want to see us, want to see us apart.”
ANNA OF THE NORTH – USED TO BE
DOGS! Now that I've got your attention... Anna of the North is reminding us to appreciate the simple pleasures in life, namely our pet pooches, in the video for her new single “Used to Be” – a lofty pop hymn that follows up “Leaning on Myself.” “'Used to Be' is a reminder back to when we were young and didn't worry about superficial things that often take too much of our attention these days,” writes Anna. “Let's just go and throw a ball at the wall together and appreciate each other for a second.”
SHIT GIRLFRIEND – DRESS LIKE CHER
Middle fingers in the air, as the fabulously named Shit Girlfriend are sticking it to the man on their kick-ass new single, the equally fabulously titled “Dress Like Cher.” “You dinosaurs are creepy/You think that you can change me/Tell me to cut my hair/But I want to dress like Cher,” sing the London duo over a bed of fuzzy glam rock riffs on the cut – an attitude-packed anthem for freethinkers and young rebels everywhere.
BOYFRIEND – TEACHER
From Shit Girlfriend...to Boyfriend! The Nashville artist who's also known as Suzannah Powell is unleashing her vibrant energy for us all to enjoy on her latest single “Teacher” – a three-and-a-half-minute blast of bombast that hears the purveyor of “rap cabaret” pairing her tongue-twister flow with the kind of dizzying riffs that'd make LCD Soundsystem proud.
THE MARÍAS – ABQ
The Marías take time out from touring North America in order to share the video for “ABQ,” the dreamily opulent five-minute highlight from their 2018 EP Superclean, Vol. II. Directed by lead singer María Zardoya alongside Ian Lipton, the cinematic clip is an exploration of anxiety and depression, with the visual showing María being followed by a group of women in black hooded cloaks, representing the mental demons faced by the vocalist on a day-to-day basis. “Must-watch” doesn't cover it.
JAMES BLAKE – MULHOLLAND
Assume Form, James Blake's fourth album, is a gift that keeps on giving. Four months on from its original release, James returns this Monday with a bonus song from the album called “Mulholland.” It's a beautifully warped ballad that hears James repeating the line “They are just now understanding me” over a blend of echoing pianos and reverberating drums, with the whole thing being brought to a close by a gorgeously operatic coda.
WINONA OAK – HE DON'T LOVE ME
While we wait on Lana Del Rey to drop Norman Fucking Rockwell, Winona Oak is here to fill our Hollywood sadcore-shaped hole with her tantalizing debut single “He Don't Love Me.” Combining melancholy vocals with the kind of production that makes you feel like you've just stepped into a smoky boudoir, “He Don't Love Me” is an alluring introduction to this Swedish chanteuse, who previously guested on “Hope” by The Chainsmokers.
TR/ST – POORLY COWARD
Another week, another TR/ST cut. While we got to hear a poppier side to his sound last Monday, Robert Alfons is marking a return to his more uncompromising industrial vibes on “Poorly Coward,” which hears heavy machinery beats and siren synths backing Robert's almost disembodied vocal presence. The Destroyer - 1 is out now.
JAPANESE BREAKFAST – ESSENTIALLY
Japanese Breakfast's Michelle Zauner takes time out from writing her memoir Crying in H Mart in order to share “Essentially.” The one-off single was recorded by Japanese Breakfast in the W Sound Suite at W Bali and is the definition of a floor-filler, with the Philadelphia artist continuing to trade in shimmering, 80s-indebted synth pop over a combination of driving beats and groovy basslines.
BARRIE – GEOLOGY
Barrie follow up the previously featured “Clovers” and “Saturated” with the pillowy “Geology” this Monday morning. The latest single to be unveiled from their forthcoming debut album Happy to Be Here showcases the dream pop outfit at their grooviest to date, with a tightly locked rhythm section acting as a backdrop to lead singer Barrie Lindsay's soft-focus hues: “Oh skipping every other step (every other step)//Who knew what else was coming? (Who knew what else what coming?)/Oh the kids all know your name (all know your name)/You spent your summers running.”
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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.