NEW INDIE MUSIC - WEEK 43
In the words of reality-television star, self-made billionaire, and future Grammy Award-winner Kylie Jenner: RiIIIse and shiIIIne. It's Monday, which can only mean one thing: It's time for the latest edition of We Are: The Guard's New Indie Music! Even if you don't consider yourself a morning person, trust me when I say that the songs in this week's column are *totally* worth waking up for. Just grab a Pumpkin Spice Latte to go and enjoy the following tracks from Beck, Matt Berninger, Rex Orange County, and more.
BECK – UNEVENTFUL DAYS
“Uneventful Days” is a light, enchanting ballad that floats to the firmament like a sky lantern. That's to say, it's nothing like the thwacky slacker-rock of Beck's previous single “Saw Lightning,” with Mr. Hansen instead mining a more introspectively synthy sound that's legitimately disarmingly gorgeous.
MATT BERNINGER (FEAT. PHOEBE BRIDGERS) – WALKING ON A STRING
Matt Berninger and Phoebe Bridgers possess two of the most beautifully weary voices in all of indie-rock. It's safe to say, then, that the duo make for a perfect match on “Walking on a String,” a lovely, Americana-leaning duet that hears Matt and Phoebe trading melancholy lines against a dusky, moonlit sky.
REX ORANGE COUNTY – PLUTO PROJECTOR
“10/10” was a charming carousel ride of a song, but Rex Orange Country is back to showing real flashes of genius on “Pluto Projector.” It's an at once grandiose and intimate rumination on the existential matters of love, with the cut concluding with a magical string coda that almost knocked me off my feet.
GHETTO SAGE – HÄAGEN DAZS
Ghetto Sage was always an exciting prospect, but Noname, Saba, and Smino completely knock it out of the park on their debut single “Häagen Dazs.” Over a lush, eerie jazz beat, listen as all three MCs bring their A games on the cut, with Noname stealing the show with her verse binding sexuality and activism.
FRANK OCEAN – DHL
PETER BJORN AND JOHN – RUSTY NAIL
It's been 13 years since the release of “Young Folks,” but Peter Bjorn and John prove that they're still the kings of quirk-pop on “Rusty Nail.” With jaunty, retro guitars hammering away beneath PB&J's sweetly signature harmonies, it's a catchy, infectious groover that'll happily conquer your cerebral cortex.
CAROLINE POLACHEK – LOOK AT ME NOW
“Look at Me Now” is the latest in an exquisite line of singles from Caroline Polachek, whose album Pang dropped on Friday. A wistful acoustic ballad, it's perhaps the closest that we get to hearing Caroline in full “songwriter” mode, with the track's Lilith Fair-like lilt really allowing her infallible vocals to shine.
DENAI MOORE – TO THE BRINK
British-Jamaican soulster Denai Moore's “To the Brink” is the perfect song for these post-When I Get Home times. Experimental, socially conscious, and stunningly, stunningly gorgeous, this ode to the tumultuous demands a multitude of listens to truly appreciate the rich complexity at play here.
SUDAN ARCHIVES – GLORIOUS
Sudan Archives continues to practice radical genre-defiance on “Glorious.” Listen as Gaelic strings meet crunching guitars on the cut, with Brittney Parks acting as a kind of binding agent amid the bombast as she sings with mantra-esque precision: “Focus on the bottom line/Where they call a dollar sign.”
PERFUME GENIUS – POP SONG
Perfume Genius has always operated on the fringes of pop, and it's there that he stays orbiting on the ecstatic “Pop Song.” It's a carnal hymn that Mike Hadreas describes as “a joyous communal sacrifice of the physical,” with the track swelling like an orgy of flesh as it looks to the sky with rapturous intent.
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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.