TOP INDIE SONGS: THE 10 BEST BANGERS OF THE WEEK
Photo by Molly Daniel
Fall is officially upon us, and with it comes a string of must-hear indie releases. I'm not even kidding when I say this is probably my favorite column I've written in a long while, so I'm going to keep this introduction as short as possible so we can get straight to the music. Just don't forget to give our Weekly Chart a follow on Spotify after checking out the latest edition of We Are: Guard's Top Indie Songs, featuring Nilüfer Yanya, MorMor, Magdalena Bay, and plenty of other favorites!
NILÜFER YANYA – RID OF ME (PJ HARVEY COVER)
Back in March, Nilüfer Yanya established herself as one of the best indie-rock titans in the business with PAINLESS, and this September, the British star is paying tribute to another heavyweight of the genre: PJ Harvey. "'Rid of Me' haunted me for many years after I first heard it, but in a comforting kind of way," Nilüfer notes in a statement. "I actually think it's very romantic despite what some of the lyrics get at." With its use of tension and release, Nilüfer's cover is pure, undiluted femme catharsis.
MORMOR – CHASING GHOSTS
Coinciding with the announcement of his forthcoming album, Semblance, Canada's MorMor is back today with "Chasing Ghosts." The follow-up to the previously featured "Far Apart" and "Seasons Change" hears Seth Nyquist's spectral upper reaches consumed by a thick black sludge. The final result makes for MorMor's darkest offering to date, underscoring the lyrics about living fast and dying young: "You're chasing ghosts/And you keep running/You say you know/That the world's/Not enough."
MAGDALENA BAY – UNCONDITIONAL
Having closed out summer with the sweeping "All You Do," Magdalena Bay is returning this September with "Unconditional." The latest single taken from the forthcoming deluxe edition of Mercurial World is described by the art-pop duo as the "weird little cousin" to their former single "Secrets (Your Fire)." "Just like 'All You Do,' we loved it when we made it but it didn't quite fit the flow of Mercurial World," Magdalena Bay adds of the slap-bass-laden elastic-band groover.
TOLEDO – HOW IT ENDS
They recently touched on the trauma caused by absent fathers on "Flake," and today, TOLEDO's Jordan Dunn-Pilz and Dan Álvarez de Toledo are continuing to explore the emotional complexities of being brought up by a single mother on "How It Ends." "Watching my mother struggle in love, it planted a seed deep down that keeps me afraid of love and hesitant about marriage," Jordan says in a statement of "How It Ends," an unspeakably sad confessional as folded in a glam-rock lurch à la David Bowie.
ALVVAYS – BELINDA SAYS
From one ode to single mothers, to another (Sidenote: As the child of a single mother, I very much approve of this genre of songwriting). Ahead of the release of their forthcoming album, Blue Rev, Canada's Alvvays is sharing "Belinda Says." A deliriously jangly, affecting piece of power-pop that most definitely earns its titular nod to Belinda Carlisle of The Go-Go's, "Belinda Says" hits different in these post-Roe times: "Moving to the country/Gonna have this baby/See how it goes/See how it grows."
WET LEG – DAISY (ASHNIKKO COVER)
The British duo has taken on everybody from Madonna to Steve Lacy, and this Monday, Wet Leg is adding to their collection of ridiculously fun, guitar-centric covers with their version of Ashnikko's "Daisy." "I remember going to stay with Rhian around the time we recorded 'Chaise Longue,'" Hester says in a press release. "She sang and played 'Daisy' on the guitar in the morning while we had coffee. It feels like another little circle coming round in our Wet Leg world getting to make this cover."
HANNAH JADAGU – SAY IT NOW
Meet Hannah Jadagu, the Sub Pop signee making her debut on We Are: The Guard this fall with "Say It Now." A startingly emotional shoegaze gesture complete with a Chorus with a capital C, "Say It Now" is pure pop perfection. Hannah: "'Say It Now' is my sort of inner reflection on where things have gone wrong in my past interactions and relationships with other people. Sonically and lyrically, I feel as though this song signifies me venturing into a new world that is even more intense and vulnerable."
SLEATER-KINNEY & COURTNEY BARNETT – WORDS AND GUITAR
In October, Sleater-Kinney is celebrating the 25th anniversary of Dig Me Out with Dig Me In: A Dig Me Out Covers Album. Before all of that, however, Carrie Brownstein and company are sharing Courtney Barnett's spin on "Words and Guitar." While the original plunges like an epinephrine auto-injector, Courtney repackages the riot-grrrl anthem as a typically dry, drawl piece of slacker-pop, with the Australian musician noting she recorded the song in Joshua Tree alongside Warpaint's Stella Mozgawa.
Q – STEREO DRIVER
Just over two years on from making his breakthrough with "Take Me Where Your Heart Is," Q is back today with "Stereo Driver." The follow-up to 2021's The Shave Experiment EP is a heady, intoxicating swirl of psychedelic-soul as cut from the same cosmic cloth as Steve Lacy's critically acclaimed Gemini Rights. Q: "I wrote 'Stereo Driver' during a time of despair, and I had to lean on a higher power to help me through it. I wanted the lyrics to come off as a dialogue, and help people self-reflect."
PEPPERMINT PATTY – A CUCKHOLD'S REFRAIN
Snail Mail's Lindsey Jordan takes time out from promoting the critically acclaimed Valentine to share the Mac DeMarco collaboration "A Cuckhold's Refrain." Uploaded under the name "Peppermint Patty," "A Cuckhold's Refrain" is a goofy piece of slacker-pop that hears Lidnsey and Mac trading sweet nothings over off-kilter, careening riffs. "I got the beef/You got the cheese/I'll be the cuck/You be the tease," sings Lindsey on the cut, which also features DOMi & JD BECK and Deaton Chris Anthony.
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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.