NEW INDIE MUSIC - WEEK 23

6/5/17
“Photo” by Quentin Keller

As if to coincide with Donald Trump's absolutely hellish decision to pull us out of the Paris climate agreement, indie behemoths Arcade Fire emerged like a beacon of light on Thursday with their first single since 2013's Reflektor. “Everything Now” is without a doubt a much-needed tonic during these tumultuous times, but you'll be pleased to hear that the music doesn't end there. It's been a completely thrilling seven days for sounds, and those of us at We Are: The Guard are excited as ever to bring you our favorite discoveries beneath. Featuring Marika Hackman, London Grammar, courtship., Snow Culture, salute and five more, there's something here for everyone.

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MARIKA HACKMAN – CIGARETTE

After the bold “Boyfriend,” British act Marika Hackman returns to a more introspective style on the latest single to be unveiled from her recent sophomore album I'm Not Your Man. “Cigarette” is a moment of quiet reflection written in ode to a dysfunctional relationship, with Marika's whispered vocals, backed by a fingerpicked acoustic guitar, breathing life into lyrics like: “And I tried to hold my tongue/But you, you yanked it from my grip/Bathed it in petroleum, lit a cigarette and gave it a kiss.”

 

LONDON GRAMMAR – OH WOMAN OH MAN

Ahead of the release of their much-anticipated sophomore album and the follow-up to 2013's If You Wait, Truth Is a Beautiful Thing on Friday, London Grammar have shared “Oh Woman Oh Man.” A mid-tempo ballad that hears the British three-piece taking their breed of dark pop to even more soul-stirring heights, with frontwoman Hannah Reid leading the way with her resplendent vocal range, “Oh Woman Oh Man” comes accompanied by a two-part video directed by the GRAMMY Award-winning Tony Kaye, the first part of which is shown here (check out the second part at YouTube).

 

COURTSHIP. – SUNROOF

courtship. – the Los Angeles duo comprising of Eli Hirsch and Micah Gordon – bring a burst of summer vibes to proceedings with their blissful latest single “Sunroof.” The follow-up to “Sail Away” is nothing short of an infectious indie pop belter in which Eli and Micah invite listeners to “open up the sunroof” over a backdrop of up-tempo synths, with the song coming accompanied by a delightful video directed by Chips that sees courtship. and their fans throwing an impromptu dance party on the streets of California.

 

WAFIA – 83 DAYS

Following the release of (m)edian, her collaborative EP with We Are: The Guard favorite Ta-ku, in 2016, Brisbane singer-songwriter Wafia returns the focus to her solo career this year with “83 Days.” The first single to be unveiled from the Future Classic signee's forthcoming as-yet-untitled sophomore EP, it's an infallible piece of electronic R&B that hears Wafia yearning for a departed lover (“83 days and I'm still not over you”) over a spread of trap-tipped percussion and crystalline chimes.

 

BRUNO MAJOR – PLACES WE WON'T WALK

British crooner Bruno Major continues his one-song-a-month project this June with the release of “Places We Won't Walk.” A majestic piano ballad that takes its inspiration from the timeless canon of jazz standards, “Places We Won't Walk” once again showcases Bruno's classic sense of songwriting, with melodies that sound as though they came straight out of La La Land. “Listen as you stare listlessly at the colourless sky from a raindrop-speckled train window,” writes Bruno. Enjoy.

 

SNOW CULTURE – COLD (MAROON 5 COVER)

The best covers are those which don't sound like covers. Case in point: Stockholm duo Snow Culture's reworking of Maroon 5's smash hit “Cold.” The Neon Gold Records signees launch their so-called “Arctic Cover Chronicles” with a sub-zero take on the pop song. Featuring glacial synths overlaid with the ice-cold vocals of frontwoman Ana Diaz, Snow Culture succeed in delivering a cover that's all but unrecognizable from the original.

 

DAUDI MATSIKO – TAKE ME OLD

Daudi Matsiko makes his debut on We Are: The Guard this Monday with “Take Me Old.” Featured on his recent double EP An Introduction to Failure, the song is a devastatingly beautiful folk ballad, with a fingerpicked acoustic guitar acting as a backdrop to the British troubadour's moving, thoughtful narrative about growing old with the one that you love: “Just know that I am grateful, though those words I may not speak/And I may forget faces, names, our favourite memories/But know my heart is full and in it your love I will keep.”

 

SALUTE – LIGHT UP (ACOUSTIC)

To celebrate the song reaching one million plays on Spotify, British producer salute has shared an acoustic version of his hit single and self-described “ode to being happy,” “Light Up.” Recorded in London, it hears guest singer Liv Dawson delivering a delicate vocal performance over a bed of simplistic piano chords, with the intimate, minimalistic arrangement allowing for the focus to fall on the emotional lyrics: “Light up/I'm just a fool in love/Watching the world light up/Somewhere in the back of the beyond.”

 

KIRAN LEONARD – LIVING WITH YOUR AILMENTS

In September, Kiran Leonard is set to release his third album Derevaun Seraun, and this month, the British artist has shared the lead single. Clocking in at over seven minutes, “Living With Your Ailments” is an ambitious piece of symphonic grandeur, with lyrics that were inspired by The Myth of Sisyphus by Albert Camus. “I read it for the first time as an unhappy, nervous 17-year-old and I found it deeply moving and comforting,” reveals Kiran. “It's an essay about taking the cards that we're dealt – mortality, nothingness, uncertainty – and doing our best with them, in humour and in optimism and in open-mindedness.”

 

JAMES VINCENT MCMORROW – BEND YOUR KNEES

James Vincent McMorrow returns with what might be his most ambitious opus to date this June. The latest single to be unveiled from his recent fourth album True Care, “Bend Your Knees” is a truly sprawling piece of music that defies expectation, with the Irish troubadour traversing through a whole variety of soundscapes – from the organ-laced, to the synth-driven, to the acoustic-flavored – all the while delivering a dynamic vocal performance.

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Thanks for listening everyone. Until next time. x

Photo” by Quentin Keller 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.