NEW INDIE MUSIC: THE 10 BEST BOPS OF THE WEEK
Photo by Julian Myles on Unsplash
While Kanye West still hasn't dropped Donda, rest assured there are plenty of bops and bangers to keep you busy in this week's dose of We Are: The Guard's New Indie Music! From the ever-groovy vibes of Unknown Mortal Orchestra, to the opulent orchestral arrangements of Sacramento pop star Spellling, to the life-affirming latest from Sipper, this playlist has something for all tastes and appetites! Enjoy it, and don't forget to follow We Are: The Guard on Spotify for even more!
UNKNOWN MORTAL ORCHESTRA – THAT LIFE
Having returned earlier this summer with the twanging lo-fi disco groove "Weekend Run," Unknown Mortal Orchestra is back this Monday with "That Life." According to UMO's frontman Ruban Nielson, "That Life" was inspired by "The Garden of Earthly Delights," a triptych oil painting by the Early Netherlandish maestro Hieronymus Bosch. Bringing together images of "luxury, reverie, damnation," Ruban set out to recreate this symbolism in "That Life," a perverse panorama of modern-day America that sounds like a long-lost Stones loosie.
BEN ZAIDI – BEN ZAIDI'S BLUES
Every once in a while, a song comes along that's so very raw, so very gutting, it feels like there are no words or sentences that can do it justice. Case in point: "Ben Zaidi's Blues." "Last fall, I sank into a pit of hopelessness. Politically, interpersonally, existentially. Shit was bleak. Since then I've been carrying this song around like a burden," says Ben. Sounding like a slinky remnant from Radiohead's The King of Limbs, "Ben Zaidi's Blues" is an unflinching array of vignettes about life's most painful realities that pierces incredibly deep.
HOLLY HUMBERSTONE – PLEASE DON'T LEAVE JUST YET
We Are: The Guard favorite Holly Humberstone continues her meteoric rise today with the release of "Please Don't Leave Just Yet." The follow-up to "The Walls Are Way Too Thin" hears the British artist teaming up with The 1975's Matty Healy, who helped to write and produce the song. Matty's voice can also be heard swimming in the distance of the murky breakup ballad, which is shot through with an unnerving electronic pulse. Holly: "The song is about wanting someone to stay so badly, even if only for five more minutes." Listen.
TY SEGALL – HARMONIZER
Ty Segall surprised fans and critics alike on Tuesday when he dropped Harmonizer with absolutely zero notice, with the album highlight no doubt coming in the form of the cosmic title song. With a runtime of five minutes, "Harmonizer" is a chunky, gargantuan garage banger that cranks up the phasers and then some. Combine that with some hot, sexy lyrics about getting up close and personal with a lover ("I wanna hear you touch my eardrum/I wanna hear our tongues make friction"), and we have ourselves a certified space jam.
SPELLLING – ALWAYS
Spellling's Chrystia "Tia" Cabral captures love and heartache in all of its opulent grandiosity on her latest single "Always." The highlight from the Sacramento singer-songwriter's recent album The Turning Wheel is an expertly arranged piece of orchestral-pop that sounds like the work of Phil Spector, as channeled through a darkly haunting lens. "So please, don't steal my heart/Don't make me start over again/Please, don't hurt my pride/Don't make me hide my love away," sings Tia, her voice piercing like the moon in the night sky.
PURITY RING – SOSHY
Just over a year on from the release of WOMB, Canada's Purity Ring is back today with "Soshy." Written and produced by Megan James and Corin Roddick, "Soshy" is the first single to be released through the duo's newly founded label The Fellowship. Described by Megan as "a wraith to descend the summer stairs with," "Soshy" is a kind of glacial, crystalline ice sculpture fans have come to expect from Purity Ring. Pairing Megan's choral vocals with a glitching, degraded synthscape, "Soshy" is a Purity Ring classic in the making.
HAND HABITS – AQUAMARINE
Coinciding with the announcement of Fun House – an 11-song collection as produced by SASAMI and engineered by King Tuff – Hand Habits has shared the dizzy "Aquamarine." "What originally started as a minimally arranged acoustic ballad, 'Aquamarine' evolved into the story of certain events in life, what informs my identity, the silence in the questions left unanswered that become the shape of understanding who I am," says Meg Duffy of the sequel to "4th of july," which twirls and spins like a heady carousel in the dead of night.
REMY – EVERYTHING ABOUT ME
New York City's remy continues to immerse us in his wistful, melancholy cinematic universe on "everything about me." The follow-up to "Should I Get My Ears Pierced?" hears remy reckoning with the fact he's deeply unhappy in a seemingly picture perfect relationship. "'everything about me' is about the feeling that you can't shake when you're with someone who doesn't really fill the hole of who you really want to be with," says remy of the cut, a plaintive guitar bop that hears the emo auteur playing with our rhythmic feels.
SPENCER. – MYLUV
Spencer. continues the countdown to his debut album Are U Down? this Monday by sharing "MyLuv." Like "Lonely as I Ever Was" before it, "MyLuv" hears Spencer. once again embracing a kind of wonky, off-kilter breed of contemporary jazz. "I realized I didn't have any trumpet on the album and had been picking that up again. This is like a celebration of my love so the trumpet felt perfect for that," says the New York City act of the cut, a careening ode to his girlfriend that hears Spencer. declaring: "No one can come between my love."
SIPPER – BABY
Sipper is quickly becoming our favorite band here at We Are: The Guard. From "Fuck June" to "Half Young," the New York City act has provided us with consistently life-affirming bangers over the last few months, with Joe Beerman and co delivering once again with "Baby." The opening cut from their recent album Half Young appears to be about the experience of bringing a child into the world, with Joe sounding genuinely wide-eyed with love as he sings: "'Cause you know I don't believe in anything/But I'll believe in you."
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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.