TOP INDIE SONGS - WEEK 45
Hello, everyone! How are you? How was your Halloween? Did you spend it screaming “Helena” by My Chemical Romance at the top of your lungs, because SAME? My inner emo has been officially reawakened by the news that Gerard Way and company are getting back together, and I'm not sure about you, but I can't WAIT to dig out my kohl eyeliner ahead of their gig on December 20th. Anyways! Alongside reliving my youth, I've also been busy over the last seven days compiling the latest edition of We Are: The Guard's Top Indie Songs for your listening pleasure. Just grab your AirPods Pro, as it's time to check out the following tracks from HAIM, Tame Impala, Frank Ocean, Deerhunter, Michael Kiwanuka, and more.
HAIM – NOW I'M IN IT
Following on from the release of the saxophone-laced “Summer Girl” earlier this year, HAIM return today with “Now I'm in It.” Described by the Los Angeles sisters as the most “HAIMy HAIM” song ever written, it's an intensely gorgeous hymn to depression and mental illness, with a staccato guitar reminiscent of “Edge of Seventeen” chugging away with purpose beneath Danielle Haim as she searches for an exit from her downward spiral.
TAME IMPALA – IT MIGHT BE TIME
There's nothing quite as depressing as watching your friends grow up, move out, get married, and – *shiver* – have kids, while you're still busy working out how to cover rent for the next month. Just ask Tame Impala, who are capturing that feeling of watching the world spin on without you on “It Might Be Time,” a glimmering, Supertramp-esque prog opus that hears Kevin Parker singing over perhaps his heaviest drums to date.
MXMS – DEATH ROW
Halloween is over for another year, but funeral-pop duo MXMS are keeping it creepy in the video for the previously featured “Death Row.” Directed by Felicity Jayn Heath of THE PREATIVE, it's an eye-catching clip that sees singer Ariel Levitan playing a kind of psychotic fashionista with murder on her mind, with brightly colored, 60s-style sets really allowing Ariel to tap into her deranged alter ego. “Killer visual” doesn't cover it.
DIJON – CRYBABY :*(
Dijon continues to push the boundaries of R&B music as we know it with the release of the cathartic “CRYBABY :*(.” The follow-up to “Good Luck” finds the We Are: The Guard favorite coming to terms with his emotional vulnerability over an experimental blast of bombast, with lo-fi style drums underpinning Dijon as he lets loose his rawest and most gut-wrenchingly liberating vocal to date: “Hard to be somebody that you want me to be/Sometimes it's too hard to read/Well I don't mind if you see me cry.”
GOODY GRACE (FEAT. BLINK-182) – SCUMBAG
If the announcement that My Chemical Romance are reuniting isn't enough to convince you that emo is back this 2019, then wait until you hear “Scumbag” by Goody Grace. The rising Canadian artist teams up with the iconic blink-182 for the anthemic follow-up to “Wasting Time,” with Goody Grace bleeding his heart out over chugging guitars before passing the microphone to Mark Hoppus, who takes us back to 2001 or so as he sings: “I know, I know that she hates me/I know, I know she can't take me.”
FRANK OCEAN – IN MY ROOM
Just two weeks on from making the Internet collectively lose its shit with the release of “DHL,” Frank Ocean returns today with “In My Room.” It's a late-night piece of synthwave that sounds fit for an after-dark drive through the city lights – top down, volume up – with a metallic electronic motif revolving behind Frank as he spits rhymes about a new lover that's come into his life: “Every night you were in my room/My room, my room with me/I guess I can't state my feelings too soon/I don't know you.”
DEERHUNTER – TIMEBENDS
It's not even been 10 months since they released Why Hasn't Everything Already Disappeared?, but Deerhunter are already making their return today with the 13-minute “Timebends.” Recorded in one evening at Bunker Studio in Brooklyn, “Timebends” is a searching psychedelic-rock opus that's replete with fuzzy guitars and grand pianos, with Bradford Cox presiding over the whole thing with an affecting stream of consciousness.
MICHAEL KIWANUKA – SOLID GROUND
Michael Kiwanuka builds tension and emotion to a masterful degree on “Solid Ground,” the latest single to be unveiled from the British singer-songwriter's recent album KIWANUKA. Opening with Michael's soulful vocals reverberating out across an empty space, “Solid Ground” is steeped in a kind of candlelit atmosphere from the off, with sweeping, “Eleanor Rigby”-esque strings eventually leading the ode to loneliness into a gospel choir-laced climax that hits like a sucker punch to the chest.
NEW POLITICS – UNSTOPPABLE
New Politics are here to remind you that anything is possible on their latest single, the triumphant “Unstoppable.” “We'll never stop, never stop, no/We'll never stop, unstoppable,” sing the Danish trio over bombastic blasts of brass on the An Invitation to an Alternate Reality opener, which makes use of both punk and reggae sections in order to deliver its empowering message that you can accomplish whatever is it that you put your mind to.
TACOCAT – RETROGRADE
Coinciding with the final Mercury retrograde of 2019, the ever-entertaining Tacocat return today with “Retrograde.” The follow-up to This Mess Is a Place – which dropped earlier this year on Sub Pop Records – is a spiky little piece of pop-punk that clocks in at just under two minutes, with the whole thing making for a super-fun listen that'll hopefully help you to dance your way through this astrological recipe for disaster.
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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.