NEW INDIE MUSIC: 10 SONGS YOU NEED TO HEAR THIS WEEK
Can you believe we're six months into 2020 already? Between COVID-19 and the horrendous killing of black people at the hands of police brutality – not to mention war with Iran and Australia burning to the ground – it's safe to say it's been an absolute sh*tshow of a year so far. Cliché as it may be, it feels like the only thing that's been pulling the team and I through these last few months is the music. And while we have a weird-ass summer ahead of us (We miss you, festival season!), we're very much hoping the sounds will continue to carry us through. Check out the latest edition of We Are: The Guard's New Indie Music, featuring Shamir, Gordi, Zaia, and more.
SHAMIR – ON MY OWN
Pop prodigy Shamir is making his much-anticipated return to music with “On My Own.” Described by the 25-year-old as an “accidental quarantine anthem,” “On My Own” is a glimmering, immaculate chugger embracing your inner introvert and generally learning to love your own company, with grungy guitars and pummeling drums backing Shamir as he declares in the triumphant chorus: “And I don't care to feel like I belong/But you always did.” Yasss.
GORDI – UNREADY
It's been an emotionally devastating build up to Our Two Skins, the forthcoming album from Gordi, thus far. With under a fortnight to go until the collection drops, however, the Australian chanteuse is showing a more lighthearted side to her sound on “Unready.” An ode to life taking you by surprise in the best and most unexpected of ways, “Unready” is a glorious burst of pop euphoria that quite frankly SLAPS.
ZAIA – INNERSTATE
This! Is! Gargantuan! Zaia is booking himself a one-way ticket to rap superstardom with “INNERSTATE.” We use the word “banger” a lot around here, but “INNERSTATE” really is the definition of the expression. With supermassive synths sawtoothing their way through the Atlanta native's low-altitude musings on toxic masculinity, “INNERSTATE” is Kid Cudi-level introduction to Zaia that nothing short of goes hard.
ROOSEVELT – SIGN
Germany's Roosevelt is returning to his club roots on the pulsating “Sign.” The follow-up 2018's Young Romance is a dance love affair that opens to a warmly intimate blanket of synths, before 808 beats, a throbbing bassline, and house-like vocal samples unleash the song into the nightlife. Roosevelt: “I found it really inspiring to make something that's initially made for listening alone on your headphones, but that hopefully can come alive in the near future when played out at a dance club or festival and create a form of unity again.”
GORILLAZ (FEAT. OCTAVIAN) – FRIDAY 13TH
Gorillaz's Song Machine project has been one of the few highlights of 2020, with the animated crew making it four out of four with the Octavian-featuring “Friday 13th.” It's a hazy, druggy slow-burner that cruises along at just the right pace for vibin', with Gorillaz's reggae riffs surrounding Octavian's substance-induced musings like a thick cloud of pot smoke.
DIRTY PROJECTORS – INNER WORLD
Humankind is descending into chaos and despair. Thank God for Dirty Projectors, then, who are providing us with a much-needed place of solace on “Inner World.” The latest single to be unveiled from the forthcoming Flight Tower EP is a charming lullaby-like composition as headed by Felicia Douglass, who together with band members Maia Friedman and Kristin Slipp, delivers a stunning three-part vocal harmony over the New York City outfit's signature production quirks. SO delightful.
JEAN DAWSON – POLICÍA
Jean Dawson takes aim at police brutality on the incendiary “Policía.” “As a Black and Mexican person I find it very important for black and brown solidarity to be emphasized and expressed in all forms of shared awareness,” writes Jean of the bilingual heater – all proceeds of which will be donated to a combination of bail funds and organizations fighting for racial justice. “Black and Brown is stronger than Blue and Red together we must fight for the abolition of a system that seeks to kill us / separate us / destroy us.”
RUN THE JEWELS – WALKING IN THE SNOW
Every damn song on RTJ4 swells with chillingly prescient unrest, although no track points to the terrifyingly recurrent realities faced by black people on a daily basis quite like “walking in the snow.” Originally written about the death of Eric Garner, the distorted bulldozer takes on new meaning in the wake of the brutal murder of George Floyd, with Killer Mike's verse proving hauntingly prophetic as he spits: “And you so numb, you watch the cops choke out a man like me/Until my voice goes from a shriek to whisper, 'I can't breathe.'”
PINK SKIES – I'LL BE HERE A WHILE
Introducing Pink Skies, the Oakland native also known as Arieh Berl, who's inviting us into his resplendent world of psychedelia on “I'll Be Here a While.” The closing cut from his recent album SPECTRA is the kind of song made for driving along the coast in the dead heat of summer, with his Kevin Parker-esque falsetto melting like silly putty into his exuberant breed of prismatic-pop. Tune in 'n' drop out.
FONTAINES D.C. – I DON'T BELONG
Fontaines D.C. are consumed by loneliness in all of its forms on “I Don't Belong.” Featured on the Irish outfit's forthcoming album A Hero's Death, it's a tempestuous brooder about the refusal to give yourself over to others – and the sense of sadness and liberation that can bring – with guitars gathering like storm clouds around frontman Grian Chatten as he declares: “I don't belong to anyone/I don't wanna belong to anyone.” Chills…
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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.