THE 10 TOP INDIE SONGS IN THE WORLD THIS WEEK
Can you believe August is almost over already? It’s certainly been a summer to remember – which is kind of a weird thing to say considering we’ve spent it sitting at home doing literally nothing. It’s okay, though, as we’ve had some incredible tunes to see us through life during quarantine – and I’m pleased to announce the bangers are continuing throughout today’s edition of We Are: The Guard’s Top Indie Songs. Headphones at the ready, then, as it’s time to check out the following sounds from The Japanese House, Sufjan Stevens, A. G. Cook, and lots more.
THE JAPANESE HOUSE (FEAT. JUSTIN VERNON) – DIONNE
Just one week on from the release of “AUATC,” Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon returns to our ears today by way of The Japanese House’s “Dionne.” Feature on Amber Bain’s recent EP Chewing Cotton Wool, it’s a mournful ballad replete with The Japanese House’s signature heavily processed vocals and specklings of digitalia, with Justin delivering the song’s impassioned chorus atop a steep canyon of drums.
SUFJAN STEVENS – VIDEO GAME
Sufjan Stevens goes pop on “Video Game.” The follow-up to the 13-minute polemic “America” hears the indie legend embracing everything slick and synthy, with warm, glowing electronics and digitally processed drums acting as a vehicle for Sufjan’s lyrics about conformity: “I don’t wanna be your personal Jesus/I don’t wanna live inside of that flame/In a way I wanna be my own believer/I don’t wanna play your video game.”
A. G. COOK – TODAY (THE SMASHING PUMPKINS COVER)
The Smashing Pumpkins meet PC Music on this cover of “Today” by A. G. Cook. Featured on from the British producer’s recent album 7G – which clocks in at 49 songs in total – this reinvention presents the Siamese Dream cut like none of us have ever heard it before, with A. G. Cook’s 100 gecs-channeling vocals and fluorescent synths lending an unexpected amount of heart to Billy Corgan’s ode to despair.
FUTURE ISLANDS – THRILL
Having recently made their comeback with the affirming anthem “For Sure,” Future Islands are retreating to their emotional core on “Thrill.” The second single to be unveiled from the indie outfit’s forthcoming album As Long as You Are is a somber, quiet meditation on addiction and loss of self, with woeful synths sighing out behind Samuel T. Herring as he delivers one of his most affecting vocal performances to date.
SYLVAN ESSO – ROOFTOP DANCING
Ahead of the release of their album Free Love in September, Sylvan Esso return this Monday with “Rooftop Dancing.” The follow-up to “Ferris Wheel” is an unhurried reverie about the joys of losing yourself to dance, with plucky guitars and other organic found sounds interweaving with the purring vocals of Amelia Meath, who does a fine job of teasing out the song’s leisurely “New York City at sunset” vibe.
ALICE GLASS – NIGHTMARES
It’s been a while since we last heard from Alice Glass, but the Canadian is making her detonative comeback to our column today with “NIGHTMARES.” “If this was ever a part of me/Then I’ll rip it out/You’re not a part of me/Cause I don’t want it,” screams Alice into the crumbling industrial digital void on the song, which manages to slap while also serving as a moment of fierce catharsis for the former Crystal Castles frontwoman.
HOLLY HUMBERSTONE – DROP DEAD
She recently proved she was one to watch with the thrilling “Overkill,” and this Monday, British musician Holly Humberstone is continuing to position herself as the next big thing with “Drop Dead.” Written about the heady pull of toxic relationships and the struggle of letting go of someone who’s objectively bad for you, “Drop Dead” is a tempestuous brood that genuinely left me covered in chills.
JÓNSI (FEAT. ELIZABETH FRASER) – CANNIBAL
Following on from the release of the pulverizing “Swill,” Sigur Rós frontman Jónsi is returning to his more ambient roots on “Cannibal.” A collaboration with Elizabeth Fraser of Cocteau Twins, “Cannibal” is a beautifully weightless listen, with lush atmospherics forming behind Jónsi as he uses the metaphor of a cannibal to describe a vulturisic love: “You know I’m a cannibal, cannibal/I remove your breathing heart.”
BENEE – SNAIL
BENEE continues to capitalize on the success of “Supalonely” with the release of the playful “Snail.” Written while the New Zealand musician – who recently teamed up with Kenny Beats and Bakar for “Night Garden” – was in quarantine earlier this year, it’s an ode and tribute to the common garden variety of mollusks, with BENEE fizzing like a shaken-up can of soda over the song’s old-school, catchy hip-hop production.
JIM-E STACK (FEAT. DIJON) – SWEET SUMMER SWEAT
Jim-E Stack is seeing summer out in dream-inducing style with his latest single “Sweet Summer Sweat.” Clocking in at just over three minutes, it’s a nostalgic haze of a song about small-town summer love, with psychedelic guitars and Madchester-esque synths accompanying guest vocalist Dijon as he sings in his ever-lucid tones: “Just keep your hand in my pocket/Sweet, sweet, sweet, sweet, sweet summer sweat.”
Follow We Are: The Guard’s Weekly Chart on Spotify for lots more. xo
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.