NEW INDIE MUSIC - WEEK 33
Fall is fast approaching, and with it, it's bringing a whole bunch of new indie music releases. If you didn't hear, some dude called “Bon Iver” dropped his album last Friday, so it's safe to say that we audiophiles have been a little busy this past weekend listening to what's already shaping up to be one of the best records of the year. Justin Vernon wasn't the only artist releasing fresh sounds over the last seven days, however, as we're about to find out in the latest edition of We Are: The Guard's New Indie Music. Headphones at the ready, then, as it's time to check out the following songs from Lana Del Rey, Phantogram, James Blake, BROCKHAMPTON, Bat for Lashes, and lots more.
BON IVER – NAEEM
Over a decade on from the release of For Emma, Forever Ago, Bon Iver is finally emerging from the fog on “Naeem,” the highlight from his recent album i,i. “I can hear, I can hear/I can hear, I can hear crying,” bellows Justin Vernon on the call-and-response cut, a stadium-sized exercise in raw catharsis that hears the Eau Claire native reaching for a kind of roaring clarity not heard on his previous records.
LANA DEL REY – LOOKING FOR AMERICA
With just over two weeks to go until she releases Norman F*****g Rockwell!, Lana Del Rey returns today with the devastatingly emotional “Looking for America.” The acoustic ballad was written in response to the back-to-back mass shootings that took place at the beginning of the month, with Lana spending much of the song plaintively dreaming of a better place for both her and her fellow countrymen: “I'm still looking for my own version of America/One without the gun, where the flag can freely fly/No bombs in the sky, only fireworks when you and I collide.”
PHANTOGRAM – MISTER IMPOSSIBLE
Following on from the release of “Into Happiness” earlier this year, Phantogram continue to emerge from the shadows on “Mister Impossible.” It's a typically electrifying affair from the New York City duo comprising of Sarah Barthel and Josh Carter, with both member's robotic vocals coming cut through by chain-sawing synths and driving, trip-hop-style drums. “Banger” doesn't cover it.
MONTAIGNE – LOVE MIGHT BE FOUND (VOLCANO)
Montaigne is nothing short of a force of nature. Ahead of the release of Complex later this month, the Australian singer-songwriter returns today with the ruthless spectacle that is “Love Might Be Found (Volcano).” It's an all-conquering ode to the power of love that the 23-year-old reveals was inspired by Björk's “Enjoy,” with Montaigne positioning her colossal vocal pyrotechnics front and center as she declares in the chorus: “I could get some thunder now/I could get some rain or snow or a volcano/Keep me from leaving now.”
JAMES BLAKE – CAN'T BELIEVE THE WAY WE FLOW
“Can't Believe the Way We Flow” is, in my not-so-humble opinion, one of the best love songs of the decade. It goes without saying, then, that I'm stoked that James Blake has decided to not only release it as a single, but also make a video for the Assume Form cut. Directed by Frank Lebon, it's an equal parts surreal and mundane clip that features footage of 30 real-life couples, with James also making an appearance in the visual (unfortunately Blake's girlfriend, The Good Place actress and all-around feminist badass Jameela Jamil, is nowhere in sight).
BROCKHAMPTON – IF YOU PRAY RIGHT
BROCKHAMPTON have done it again. Following on from the release of “I BEEN BORN AGAIN,” the self-described “boy band” return today with “IF YOU PRAY RIGHT.” The latest single to be unveiled from GINGER is a brass-laden banger that features vocal contributions from Dom McLennon, Kevin Abstract, Matt Champion, Merlyn Wood, and Joba, with each member riffing on the theme of religion over a thudding beat that aims straight for your inner subwoofer.
BAT FOR LASHES – THE HUNGER
Bat for Lashes continues to build up to the release of Lost Girls today by sharing “The Hunger.” The follow-up to “Kids in the Dark” and “Feel for You” is another deeply atmospheric piece of 80s synth-pop that hears the British artist once again delivering on the cinematics, with “The Hunger” also showcasing what is perhaps Natasha Khan's most richly textured production to date. “There's nothing like this feeling of translating something that's in your DNA, part of who you are energetically, coming out in music,” writes Bat for Lashes. “Like it matches a thumbprint inside of you.”
NASTY CHERRY – LIVE FOREVER
The Charli XCX-approved Nasty Cherry are back and sounding more attitude-packed than ever on “Live Forever.” The follow-up to the previously featured “Win” and “What Do You Like in Me” is an 80s-indebted belter that Nasty Cherry say is an ode to “being yourself and dancing through the sadness of life,” with pulsating synths and new-wave-style guitars giving way to an irresistible gang-vocal chorus that Charli circa SUCKER would be proud to call her own.
JUDAH & THE LION – LET GO.
It's only been three months since they released Pep Talks, but Nashville three-piece Judah & the Lion are already returning this August with “Let Go.” The song – which is set to serve as the official musical accompaniment to ESPN's upcoming coverage of the college football season – is the definition of an “anthem,” with marching-band drums and bombastic horns backing Judah Akers as he declares in the epic chorus: “I think it's time to let go.”
THE BIG MOON – IT'S EASY THEN
Every once in a while, I stop to ask myself: “Was life always this hard, or did I just get older?” The Big Moon are questioning the same thing on their latest single “It's Easy Then,” a sprawling ode to the difficulties of adulting in 2019 that still left me with a feeling of hope. “'It's Easy Then' is really just about how life feels very complicated these days,” writes frontwoman Jules Jackson. “Life is one big panic attack. This song is me just trying to find some relief from all of that.”
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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.