ALL KILLER NO FILLER: THE BEST NEW INDIE MUSIC OF THE WEEK

5/25/20
Photo by Pawel Szvmanski on Unsplash

Between Lorde announcing her imminent return, The 1975 dropping the most batsh*t crazy album of the year, and Lana Del Rey p*ssing off precisely 99.9% of the Internet, it goes without saying it's been quite the news week. It's almost like we forgot we're in the middle of a global pandemic for a sec there? Anyways! When we weren't refreshing Lana's Instagram page (Hey! We're human too!), the team and I were busy as ever filtering through the blogosphere for the best indie songs of the last seven days. Noise-canceling headphones at the ready, then, as it's time for this week's dose of We Are: The Guard's New Indie Music, featuring HAIM, Foster the People, PNAU & Vlossom, and more!

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HAIM – DON'T WANNA

Sibling trio HAIM are making it six out of six with the latest single to be unveiled from Women in Music Pt. III. “Don't Wanna” – which follows on from “Summer Girl,” “Now I'm in It,” “Hallelujah,” “The Steps,” and “I Know Alone” – is a slick, slippery groover built on a big bopper of a bassline, with the song lyrically chronicling a relationship on the brink: “Well, we both have nights waking up in strangers' beds/But I don't wanna, don't wanna I don't wanna give up yet.”

 

FOSTER THE PEOPLE – LAMB'S WOOL

Indie legends Foster the People are embracing their psychedelic side on their latest single “Lamb's Wool.” The follow-up to “It's Ok to Be Human” is a cosmic disco jewel that sounds like Tame Impala-circa Currents as filtered through NASA's recently discovered parallel universe, with Mark Foster's metaphysical musings hitting different in the quarantine: “The silence is a lonely thing/Waiting for a sound to fall/A lullaby to calm our sleep/The promise of another world.”

 

PNAU & VLOSSOM – LUCKY

If the ongoing COVID-19 crisis has taught us anything, it's the importance of practicing gratitude. And what better way to count our blessings during this time of great uncertainty than to the sounds of PNAU's shimmering “Lucky?” “All the while I feel so lucky/Nothing tries to change my mind,” sings Vlossom's Alister Wright on the coruscating dance banger – an ode to treasuring every moment that also serves as a reminder that brighter days are ahead.

 

ARCA – TIME

I think this YouTube comment from Jareth Chaotic puts it better than I ever could: “Arca is the physical embodiment of art and gender euphoria.” Following on from the release of “Nonbinary” – which heard Arca defying categorization in order to celebrate her many and multiple selves – the Venezuelan auteur returns today with “Time.” Built around neon-splash synths and Arca's ripple-effect vocals, “Time” is a song about taking risks and rapturously keeping faith in your journey.

 

THE 1975 – NOTHING REVEALED / EVERYTHING DENIED

Could this be the most 1975-iest song in the history of 1975 songs? Matty Healy painstakingly deconstructs his rock-and-roll persona on “Nothing Revealed / Everything Denied.” Starting out as a lo-fi hip-hop shuffler, this centerpiece from Notes on a Conditional Form has to be one of the most beautifully earnest ego deaths ever put to tape, with Matty busting myths one line at a time (“I never fucked in a car, I was lying”) before reaching a conclusive catharsis in the gospel choir-assisted chorus.

 

PHOEBE BRIDGERS – I SEE YOU

Los Angeles troubadour and all-around Twitter memelord Phoebe Bridgers continues to build up to the release of Punisher by sharing “I See You.” Originally titled “ICU,” but renamed for obvious reasons, the song is about the 25-year-old's breakup from her ex-boyfriend and former drummer Marshall Vore, with a chugging, churning guitar gradually picking up pace behind Phoebe as her translucent vocals detail the end of her relationship in unflinching detail (see: the line about Marshall's mom).

 

KHRUANGBIN – SO WE WON'T FORGET

With COVID-19 keeping us apart from our friends and loved ones, we're all having to rely on memory a lot more these days. It's that very sense of nostalgia Khruangbin are celebrating on their latest single “So We Won't Forget.” “Memory is a powerful thing. Now more than ever it's important to tell the people you love that you love them, so that they don't forget,” write the Houston trio of the inspiration behind the song – a warm, wistful composition that ripples through the speakers like a distant echo of summers past.

 

LIZA ANNE – BUMMER DAYS

She recently launched #EmotionalHealth2020, a weekly Instagram Live series revolving around “candid conversations on coping,” and today, Liza Anne continues to examine mental health on “Bummer Days.” It's a jaunty riff-fest about the Arts & Crafts signee's tendency to wallow in sadness, with Liza declaring in the tongue-in-cheek opening verse: “I keep telling my shrink I wanna feel okay/But I get off on all my bummer days.”

 

YELLOW DAYS – LOVE IS EVERYWHERE

Coinciding with the announcement of his forthcoming album A Day in a Yellow Beat, Yellow Days has shared the retro-delic “Love Is Everywhere.” The follow-up to “Treat You Right” hears the British musician also known as George Van Den Broek continuing to refine his vintage-inspired lo-fi soul, with funky grooves and blasts of brass accompanying Yellow Days as he sings of a summer of love. “Gleaming” doesn't cover it.

 

COBI – DON'T STOP

Cobi's music never fails to hit like a sucker punch to the chest. The We Are: The Guard regular pays tribute to his wife on the emotionally wrought “Don't Stop.” Written following the death of his father – a subject previously addressed on “No Way Out” – the song hears Cobi thanking his lover for her unconditional support during that time, with the soul musician's powerhouse vocals ricocheting through every bone in the body.

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Until next week, follow We Are: The Guard's Weekly Chart for more! x

Photo by Pawel Szvmanski on Unsplash

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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.