TOP INDIE SONGS – WEEK 1

1/2/17
“Photo” by Ian Schneider

Happy New Year! Let's face it – 2016 was totally fucking shitty, and I'm sure that I'm not the only one who's pleased to see the back of it. That isn't to say that there won't be challenges in 2017 – a misogynistic reality television star is due to be the President Of The United States in less than three weeks – but together we can overcome them, right? I mean, January is already getting off to a pretty good start with the following edition of Top Indie Songs. Music was basically the one thing that saved 2016, and 2017 is definitely sounding as though it's going to be even better. On that note, grab your brand spanking new AirPods and enjoy a taste of what's to come this year by hitting play on the latest tracks from Gabrielle Aplin, Fickle Friends, Run The Jewels, Abra, Francis And The Lights and lots more.

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GABRIELLE APLIN – NIGHT BUS

English singer-songwriter Gabrielle Aplin travels beyond her folk roots on her latest single “Night Bus.” Featured on recent EP Miss You, “Night Bus” is an uptempo slice of electronic pop that hears Gabrielle coming to terms with a breakup (“Suddenly I know/That I'm on my way home/To you for the last time”) over neon-laced synthesizers and a driving beat.

 

FICKLE FRIENDS – BROOKLYN (ACOUSTIC)

In November, Fickle Friends unveiled their breakthrough disco gem “Brooklyn,” and this month, the British five-piece return the acoustic version. An intimate piano ballad that surrenders all focus to lead singer Natassja Shiner's voice and deeply personal lyrics, dare I say that I prefer this rendition to the original? Natassja: “The whole song is metaphorical and kind of talks about anxiety as someone you don't understand or recognise. It's probably the song that means the most to me because one year on, I look back at how panicked I was by it all and now, although it's something that affects me most days, I feel like I've got more of a handle on what's going on in my head.”

 

RUN THE JEWELS – LEGEND HAS IT

Run The Jewels – the hip hop duo comprising of Killer Mike and El-P – are back in business this January with “Legend Has It.” The latest single to be shared from their third album RTJ3 is a bombastic rap juggernaut that hears Killer and El trading bars over a skronking beat co-produced by Little Shalimar and Wilder Zoby.

 

BLVTH (FEAT. NOVAA) – OCEAN

Dive into the force of nature that's “Ocean” by Blvth. The German producer – who counts Hudson Mohawke and Mura Masa among his influences – collaborates with BitCandy favorite Novaa on said tsunami of a song, which finds Blvth and Novaa's atmospheric vocal harmonies drifting atop clattering percussion and earth-shattering basslines.

 

DYAN – LOOKING FOR KNIVES

Stop what you're doing and dedicate the next six minutes of your life to “Looking For Knives,” a slow-burning electronic pop masterpiece from the rising Dyan (Alexis Marsh, Sam Jones and Daniel Dorff Jr.). Built around tremulous synthesizers and siren vocal calls, over which a guitar echoes in the distance, “Looking For Knives” is a melancholy-steeped lamentation that culminates in a truly cathartic saxophone solo.

 

ABRA – BOUNTY

Following the announcement that she's set to make her acting debut later this year in the thriller Assassination Nation alongside Suki Waterhouse, Odessa Young and Hari Nefi, Awful Records signee Abra returns this January with “Bounty.” Clocking in at just over five minutes, it's a sultry, brooding piece of electronic R&B from the self-described Darkwave Duchess that comes packed full of late-night vibes.

 

MOSA WILD – SMOKE

British four-piece Mosa Wild make the statement with their yearning debut single “Smoke.” Opening with an emotionally intense spread of lush synthesizers, driving percussion and frontman Jim Rubaduka's compelling, Matt Berninger-esque baritone before surging up into something positively, emphatically life-affirming, “Smoke” is a stadium-sized indie anthem that bristles with potential. More please?

 

TEN FÉ – BORN SLIPPY .NUXX (UNDERWORLD COVER)

Ahead of the release of their highly anticipated debut album Hit The Light in February, Ten Fé have shared a cover of Underworld's club classic “Born Slippy .Nuxx.” Listen as the British duo transform the 90s banger into a guitar-driven, New Order-indebted indie anthem that's sure to leave you covered in goosebumps. Ten Fé: “We jammed this at our office Xmas party last week and enjoyed it so much! So here she is, reborn and recorded as a Christmas special: Underworld's 'Born Slippy.'”

 

FRANCIS AND THE LIGHTS – MY CITY'S GONE (FEAT. KANYE WEST)

After the glimmering, thoughtful “Friends,” New York City future pop crooner Francis Farewell Starlite aka Francis And The Lights is back with yet another Kanye West-collaboration in the form of “My City's Gone.” Featured on his recent album Farewell, Starlite!, “My City's Gone” is a dreamy, Bon Iver-esque piano ballad that hears Kanye contributing backing vocals by way of 808s & Heartbreak-era AutoTune.

 

BRUNO MAJOR – HOME

One of my favorite discoveries of 2016 was without a doubt Bruno Major, the English singer-songwriter who continues his majestic streak this January with “Home.” The follow-up to the previously featured “Wouldn't Mean A Thing,” “There's Little Left” and “The First Thing You See,” “Home” is an indescribably beautiful acoustic ballad that truly stopped me in my tracks with its Leonard Cohen-esque charm.

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2017, what's good? x

Photo” by Ian Schneider is licensed under CC0 1.0 (cropped and resized).

About Jess Grant

When Jess Grant isn't writing on music, she can be found playing it – on her guitar, on her ukulele, and on her recently acquired mandolin. Playing it hideously, she ought to add. Jess also studies. She studies the English language, to be precise. Jess is currently on her way to a degree in the subject, and enjoys starting and never finishing novels, screenplays, and poetry in her spare time. She also likes dogs. Lots of dogs.