NEW INDIE MUSIC - WEEK 51
It's around this time of year that we tend to start winding down for Christmas, but don't worry, my little fwiends – I'm not planning on leaving you hanging for the next couple of weeks with only Bing Crosby, Kanye West's Twitter feed, and your drunken grandma for company!
Sure, things may be relatively quiet on the music front, but there are still some decent tunes to be found if you look close enough. Not that you NEED to, of course, because We Are: The Guard has once again done all of the hard work for you as part of the latest edition of New Indie Music.
Grab your headphones and an Eggnog Frappuccino to go, then, as it's time to check out the following cuts from HEALTH, Portugal. The Man, White Lies, and more!
BENNY BLANCO, JESSE & SWAE LEE – BETTER TO LIE
We love indie, and we love hip-hop here at We Are: The Guard, so it's been genuinely awesome to watch the rise in guitar-driven rap over the last few years.
One of the producers leading this movement is benny blanco, who delivers another crossover smash hit this week in the form of “Better to Lie.”
Featuring Jesse Rutherford of The Neighbourhood and Swae Lee trading melancholy bars over a bedrock of chugging riffs and 808s and heartbreak, “Better to Lie” is nothing short of an essential addition to your alternative playlists.
HEALTH – SLAVES OF FEAR
Produced by Lars Stalfors, the five-minute song hears HEALTH continuing to sweat out their existential angst over an exhilarant blend of industrial guitars and basement-club beats, with Jake Duzsik finding strength in vulnerability as he sings through the strobe lights: “Slaves of fear/Till we're dead in the ground/Why do we waste our years?/When there's nothing to fight about.”
MORMOR – PASS THE HOURS
Coinciding with the announcement of his 2019 tour, We Are: The Guard favorite MorMor returns this week with the easygoing, otherworldly “Pass the Hours.”
The song hears the Toronto indie artist picking up where his debut EP Heaven's Only Wishful left off, with Seth Nyquist's pillowy soft falsetto giving itself over to a cottony bed of ethereal, carefree guitars and drums, resulting in the kind of track that you'll want to get lost in for days.
PORTUGAL. THE MAN – EASY TIGER
Portugal. The Man wrap up their whirlwind of a year and album cycle with a video for Woodstock highlight “Easy Tiger.”
Following on from the runaway success of “Feel It Still” – a song that featured on more commercials than I care to mention over the last 12 months – it's great to see another cut from Woodstock getting its chance to shine, with this abstract clip courtesy of animator Lucie Mullen really complimenting the track's experimental vibes.
OXEN – POSTPONE
It may be the first day of winter on Friday, but Swedish duo Oxen are introducing some much-needed vitamin D to our lives with “Postpone.”
Taken from their recent debut album Postpone and Forget, this sanguine groove will immediately make you forget about the December rain that's currently battering down on your bedroom window, with Erik Hases and Stefan Söderqvist directly teleporting us to festival season with their blend of sing-along vocals and tropical vista guitars.
WHITE LIES – FINISH LINE
Purveyors of grandiose gloom White Lies return this week with “Finish Line.”
The follow-up to the previously featured “Believe It” is among the British trio's most ambitious offerings to date, with symphonic strings giving way to an opulent prog rock odyssey as presided over by frontman Harry McVeigh's booming baritone.
“It's up there as one of our best songs and we hope our fans think so too,” say the band. Listen.
MXMS – CAROL OF THE BELLS (MYKOLA LEONTOVYCH AND PETER WILHOUSKY COVER)
Featuring frontwoman Ariel Levitan's vocals levitating in the manner of the Ghost of Christmas Present over producer Jeremy Dawson's hauntingly propulsive beats, this darkly gothic take on the Mykola Leontovych and Peter Wilhousky classic is for Ebenezer Scrooges and Jack Skellingtons alike this holiday season.
RATIONALE – 73
Can Rationale do any wrong?!
No, no he can't.
The British crooner isn't just tugging at the heartstrings, but pulling them out with his bare hands on his ascendant latest single “73.” Closing his recent EP High Hopes, the song finds Rationale singing about growing old with his lover, with Tinashe Fazakerley's vocals soaring to newfangled heights on the ballad.
WAFIA – I'M GOOD
“I'm Good” by Wafia is like a gift that keeps on giving.
Having closed out We Are: The Guard's summer in oh-so-confident style, the female empowerment groove is back on our playlists this week thanks to the release of this vertical video.
Starring Wafia and her younger sibling Hibba dancing around a room to the song's funky-fresh basslines, this clip is a truly joyful watch that you'll most definitely relate to if you grew up with a baby sister.
MATT MAESON – THE MASK
There's something almost mythological about Matt Maeson's music.
Like it exists on a fabled faraway plane.
Case in point: “The Mask.”
The first single to be unveiled from the artist's debut album, due out next year, is a truly powerful song about love, loss, and death, with the Arcade Fire-esque anthemicness of the instrumental only serving to elevate Matt's affectingly raw vocal performance and symbolic lyrics alluding to tombs, wounds, and inner demons.
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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.