TOP INDIE SONGS - WEEK 40
Can you believe that it's October already?! Before we know it, Pumpkin Spice Lattes will be making way for Red Cups, and we'll be dusting down our ironic Christmas sweaters. *Shivers.* Still, let's not get ahead of ourselves. We Are: The Guard is super stoked for what October has in store for us, music-wise, having recently brought you the five artists that you NEED to see at The Echo over the next four weeks. It's also looking as if it's going to be a month to remember in terms of releases, with the latest edition of Top Indie Songs shaping up to be one of our best yet. Don't take our word for it, though. Hear it for yourselves by hitting play on the following tracks from Radiohead, Björk, Hammock, Barns Courtney, Cults, and plenty of others – because who needs TRL anyway?!
RADIOHEAD – LIFT
Having appeased listeners the world over by finally releasing long-term live favorite “Lift” on OKNOTOK, their recent reissue of 1997's OK Computer, Radiohead treat fans once again this month to the song's hysterically surreal video. Directed by Oscar Hudson, the clip finds a groceries-wielding Thom Yorke having some serious personal space issues in what starts out as a nondescript elevator, with an ever-revolving gaggle of passengers disembarking to increasingly Dalí-esque scenes.
BJÖRK – THE GATE
Following on from 2015's Vulnicura, a gaping wound of an album written after her separation from her partner Matthew Barney, Björk “rediscovers love” on the radiant “The Gate.” The first single to be unveiled from her forthcoming “Tinder record” Utopia, it finds Björk taking a bold, courageous step towards inner fulfilment, with Venezuelan producer Arca framing her declarations of hope with celestial harp flourishes. The otherworldly video, meanwhile, was directed by Björk's long-term collaborator Andrew Thomas Huang, with the artist coming adorned in an iridescent winged gown as custom designed by Gucci.
HAMMOCK – THIS IS NOT ENOUGH
Hammock find space to reflect on “This Is Not Enough.” Appearing on the Nashville post-rock duo's eighth album Mysterium, an hour-long collection that was written after the death of band member Marc Byrd's nephew, it's a sweepingly profound meditation on pain and loss, with lofty walls of ambient guitars and drums providing a chamber in which Byrd is able to process and make sense of his deep sense of grief: “There is not enough/This is not enough/We float away/There is not enough.”
BARNS COURTNEY – KICKS
Introducing Barns Courtney, the British firecracker who positively explodes onto We Are: The Guard's Top Indie Songs this October with the attitude-packed “Kicks.” Featured on the 26-year-old's recent debut album The Attractions of Youth, the track is a high-octane slab of blues rock doused in equals parts sweat and swagger, with a blistering, fuzz-caked chorus that'll burn its way into your very beings.
CULTS – I TOOK YOUR PICTURE WITH MY EYES CLOSED
With the band gearing up to release their third album Offering on Friday, New York City duo Cults have shared the video for dream-weaving “I Took Your Picture With My Eyes Closed.” Directed by Elliott Sellers, the clip begins in a well-lit living room, in which we find lead singer Madeline Follin feverishly headbanging in time to the song's neo-psych swirl. She then relocates to an enchanted forest for the second half of the video, where Follin is seen encountering an inexplicable beam of light to the sound of a Beatles-esque coda.
OLIVER TREE & WHETHAN – ENEMY
Oliver Tree and Whethan bring some much-needed anarchy to dance music on their latest collaboration “Enemy.” Pairing Tree's snotty, Ad-Rock-esque snarl with Whethan's low-slung electronic production, it's a genre-blending chugger that, in true punk style, manages to disrupt the sonic lansdcape in less than two minutes. “We wrote and recorded 'Enemy' last year in my walk-in closet while I was finishing college and Whethan was finishing high school,” Oliver reveals to Billboard. “This song is how I imagine rock 'n' roll and EDM will merge together over the next couple of years.”
FARR – REBEL SOUL
Hailing from Los Angeles and London, FARR offer up a titillating blend of neo soul and future R&B on their latest single. Citing Aretha Franklin, Otis Redding, and D'Angelo among their influences, the transatlantic duo bring a serious dose of seductive vibes to “Rebel Soul.” With frontman Roméo's satin sheets falsetto draped over a set of throbbing beats, it's an alluring listen that makes for an essential addition to most bedroom mixtapes.
ALICE BOMAN – DREAMS
Alice Boman returns from her “self-imposed musical exile” to go in search of “Dreams” this October. A hushed lullaby that hears a bleary-eyed Boman questioning “Is there a place we can go where dreams begin?” atop a bed of soothing atmospherics, it comes accompanied by a Jeanne Lula Chauveau-directed video as shot in Sweden's Vårhallarna. “Vårhallarna is such a special place to me. I have spent so much time there, because my grandmother has a house there, and when I go there I always feel calm and inspired,” reveals Alice. “I wanted Vårhallarna's magic and beauty to be the core of this video – as a homage to the place and to all the memories.”
NILÜFER YANYA – BABY LUV
To coincide with the announcement that she's signed to ATO Records – the New York City label founded by Dave Matthews – Nilüfer Yanya has shared “Baby Luv.” The follow-up to the London artist's Plant Food EP is simple in execution, with an urgent grunge line acting as the skeleton for much of the song. It's within this that Yanya brings out most of the tension of “Baby Luv,” however, with the 22-year-old capturing that often masochistic nature of young love as she repeats in the chorus: “Again/Again/Again/Do you like pain?”
POM POKO – YOU'LL BE FINE
As they continue to make waves across Europe with their technicolor live shows, Norwegian four-piece and all-round purveyors of fun Pom Poko add another feel-good anthem to their ever-growing oeuvre this month. “You'll Be Fine” is an inspiring blast of indie pop led by vibrant frontwoman Ragnhild Jamtveit, who uses the song to turn what was once a rejection into a full-blown celebration. “This one is a modern love song to yourself, not anyone else,” Jamtveit tells NME. “It's about having someone who doesn't want to be with you and you're like 'OK, that's fine.'”
Thanks for tuning in! See you next Monday! x
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.