NEW INDIE MUSIC - WEEK 32
It's August, which means that – gasp – we're already two-thirds into 2017. There's no denying that it's been an incredible year for music thus far, with seemingly every week bringing us another song, album, or artist to lose our minds over. What the final four months of 2017 hold for our playlists remains to be seen, but if the latest edition of We Are: The Guard's New Indie Music is any kind of indication, we're in for some very exciting times ahead. Summer may be steadily drawing to a conclusion – a fact that was driven home by the massive storm that hit festivalgoers at Lollapalooza last weekend – but it feels like the best part of the year is only just beginning listening to the following songs by Iron & Wine, Belle and Sebastian, Tyler, the Creator, and more.
IRON & WINE – THOMAS COUNTY LAW
Ahead of the release his sixth album Beast Epic later this month, bewhiskered troubadour Iron & Wine has shared “Thomas County Law.” The song is – as ever with Iron & Wine – a modest, timeless, and unspeakably lovely piece of Americana-leaning folk music, with Sam Beam's warm dulcet tones gently leading the procession. Directed by J. Austin Wilson, the accompanying black-and-white video is also worth a watch, with Beam starring as both the priest and gravedigger at his own funeral.
BILLIE EILISH – MY BOY
Billie Eilish continues to slay ahead of the release of her debut EP Don't Smile at Me later this month with “My Boy.” The follow-up to singles including “Bellyache” and “Copycat” is yet another attitude-packed offering from the 15-year-old. Produced by Billie's brother Finneas O'Connell, “My Boy” starts off almost jazz-like, with the Los Angeles act crooning lines such as: “My boy loves his friends just like I love my split ends and by that I mean/He cuts 'em off.” It's once the chorus hits, however, that Billie really gets into her groove, with the tempo change giving the teenager a chance to showcase her killer personality.
BELLE AND SEBASTIAN – WE WERE BEAUTIFUL
Two years after the release of their eighth album Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance, indie veterans Belle and Sebastian return to “rise above the popular melee” on their latest single “We Were Beautiful.” Recorded in their native Glasgow alongside producer Brian McNeill, the song is a steel guitar-laced groove that builds to vastly anthemic heights, with timely lyrics about longing for older, better days: “We were beautiful before this went down/We were beautiful before the years came, turned it upside down/We were beautiful before we got wise/We were beautiful with sky and blanket laying low.”
KNOX FORTUNE – LIL THING
Having recently lent his talents to the likes of Chance the Rapper and Vic Mensa, singer-songwriter Knox Fortune continues his rise with “Lil Thing.” Produced by Knox alongside Carter Lang and Nico Segal, it's a gauzy slice of hip hop that you very much want to get lost in, with Fortune's weightless vocals meeting languid snares. Jackson James directs the 16 mm film-shot video, meanwhile, with Knox seen exploring “Chillers Paradise,” his former home in Chicago, which has since been demolished.
EVERYTHING EVERYTHING – DESIRE
Manchester's Everything Everything have shared another song from their forthcoming fourth album A Fever Dream, due out later this month. “Desire” is maximalist in every sense of the word, with the four-piece uprooting their math rock sound to a more stadium-sized setting. Featuring the blooming falsetto of frontman Jonathan Higgs meeting widescreen guitar riffs and uncompromising drums, it's an angular anthem that comes accompanied by a Dave Tree-directed music video that sees Everything Everything performing in the middle of a kaleidoscopic Rubix's Cube.
ZOLA JESUS – EXHUMED
In June, Zola Jesus – real name Nika Danilova – shared “Exhumed,” and this month, the exponent of doom-laden gothic pop returns with the official video. Directed by Jacqueline Castel, the black-and-white clip sees Zola channeling her inner Samara Morgan, raven tresses and all, with the singer at one point filmed crawling towards the camera lens in true The Ring style. Jacqueline: “Shot intimately in one day, in the exhausting heat within the woods surrounding Nika's Wisconsin home, we sought to capture personal apocalypse, utilizing experimental shooting techniques to further our emotional goals.”
TYLER, THE CREATOR – AIN'T GOT TIME
Tyler, the Creator is back to his bad-mouthing best on his latest single “Ain't Got Time.” The song, which forms the centerpiece of the Ladera Heights rapper's (almost) chart-topping fourth album Scum Fuck Flower Boy, finds him at his most candidly savage, with Tyler trash-talking everyone from imitators (“Nat Turner would be so proud of me/'Cause all these motherfuckers got they style from me”) to Vans (“Seven figure conversations with Converse finalized/'Cause Vans fucked up”) over a bed of warped electronics.
BØRNS – FADED HEART
Following on from the release of his decadent debut album Dopamine in 2015, Grand Haven's Garrett Borns, who records as BØRNS, returns with “Faded Heart.” The first single to be unveiled form his forthcoming sophomore album, due out next year, “Faded Heart” is a melodramatic piece of pop grandeur, with co-producer Tony Maserati – who's previously worked with both Beyoncé and Lady Gaga – providing a cosmic, glam-esque instrumental, over which BØRNS is able to bleed his soaring, Marc Bolan-indebted vibrato.
OSCAR OSCAR – HEY HO
Hailing from Brisbane, Oscar Oscar makes his debut on the blogosphere with “Hey Ho.” The song, which comes to us by way of Majestic Causal Records, is a dexterously crafted electronic opus. With its mixture of chopped up, luminescent vocals and glitched out, chiming beats, arranged and executed with absolute precision, Oscar Oscar succeeds in producing a positively vivid masterpiece that could fool even the most expert musicologist into thinking that it was the creation of a more established artist, such as Four Tet or Burial.
DVWEZ – SPACE
DVWEZ (pronounced “Dames”) concludes her recent sophomore EP Paradise on an appropriately rapturous note with “Space.” Produced by Kaixen, it's a plush, expansive piece of R&B-meets-soul majesty that drips with an emotional and atmospheric intensity. Featuring the Orlando singer-songwriter's vaporous vocals set against a backdrop of lustrous, 80s-style synths and bone-shaking beats, “Space” couldn't be a more ethereal climax to one of We Are: The Guard's favorite records of the summer.
Until next time. 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.