Indie music has grown to include so much. It’s not just music that is released on independent labels, but speaks to an aesthetic that deviates from the norm and follows its own weirdo heart. It can come in the form of rock music, pop, or folk. In a sense, it says as much about the people that are drawn to it as it does about the people that make it.
Every week, Uproxx is rounding up the very best of the indie releases from the past seven days. This week we got new quarantine demos from Gerard Way, the incredible and dreamy debut from Ellis, and yet another new track from The 1975, this time featuring Phoebe Bridgers.
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Yves Tumor — Heaven To A Tortured Mind
The latest in a series of efforts that forced all eyes on Yves Tumor for his brash — yet inviting — experimentation, Heaven To A Tortured Mind feels like an urgent addition to our current moment. Across its twelve songs, according to Philip Cosores for Uproxx, “Tumor takes another huge step forward, and one that puts him at the forefront of musicians that can stand deftly stand in the worlds of art and pop at the same time.” Heaven To A Tortured Mind is a staggeringly impressive feat, one that cements Yves Tumor as an artist that will not be leaving the spotlight anytime soon.
Ellis — Born Again
There is a certain beauty to conciseness: when an artist is very good at their craft, sometimes they can get cocky and the work can become overblown. The opposite is the case on Ellis’ debut full-length Born Again. Linnea Siggelkow is at the top of her songwriting game, and she “doesn’t need much time to pack emotional depth and formidable insight into her deft, brilliant songwriting,” Caitlin White writes for Uproxx. Born Again is a shimmering collection of devastating dream-pop tracks, one that is instantly impressive in its composition and delivery.
Crisman — Crisman
If you’re into artists like Florist or Lomelda, then Crisman is set to be your new favorite band of 2020. On their debut self-titled album, Crisman show their impressive dynamic range, anchored by Madeline Dowd’s entrancing vocal stylings. While Dowd was previously focused on her visual art, Crisman makes the case for pushing forward in the music world, and marks another stellar release from Topshelf Records.
Violent Soho — Everything Is A-OK
It’s always interesting how bands with massive appeal in their home country are still categorized as “up-and-coming” in other parts of the world. Australia’s Violent Soho fit this bill perfectly — their most recent LP peaked at Number One on the Australian charts and earned them a handful of ARIA awards. However, their new album Everything Is A-OK marks their first release with esteemed American punk label Pure Noise Records. The record features the Aussie quartet’s most anthemic tracks to date, with heavy riffs and Billy Corgan-esque vocals that are sure to make any punk fan’s ears perk up.
Charmer — Ivy
Michigan strong! Ivy is Charmer’s sophomore album, and one that is set to take them out of the DIY world onto larger stages. Where many bands in the underground scene are vocal about their internal struggles, Charmer takes a different approach, promoting optimism while not avoiding the brutal honesty that has drawn fans to the band. Ivy emphasizes making the best of your present moment and not relishing in nostalgia, a message that we can all probably try internalizing.
Yaeji — What We Drew
After collaborating with Charli XCX and Clairo on “February 2017,” Korean producer Yaeji has unleashed an upbeat new mixtape to keep your spirits up in the quarantine. The tracks showcase Yaeji’s knack for expansive production, and deal with themes of “friendship, family, gratitude and support – support that I’ve felt, that I’ve given, and that we all share,” according to a statement announcing the record.
Gerard Way — “Phoning It In”
Later this year, My Chemical Romance are scheduled to embark on their first North American tour in nearly a decade, although Rolling Stone is now reporting that those dates might have been postponed. Either way, MCR frontman Gerard Way took to Instagram to share four new solo tracks in their demo form as part of a project called Distraction Or Despair. The standout here is “Phoning It In,” which, as Derrick Rossignol notes for Uproxx, is “a song he said he planned to originally release as a single, and ‘may still do that at some point when I finish them.’” In typical Way fashion, it features a rousing chorus that quickly gets stuck in your head.
The 1975 — “Jesus Christ 2005 God Bless America”
The bad news: The 1975 have delayed Notes On A Conditional Form another month. The good news: they also shared a new track, and it features vocals from Phoebe Bridgers. “Jesus Christ 2005 God Bless America” sounds more like a Bridgers or Sufjan Stevens song than anything The 1975 have released in their career, making for another interesting turn from the British outfit. On the serene track, according to Derrick Rossignol for Uproxx, Bridgers and Matty Healy “address forbidden loves.” Based on the singles we’ve heard so far, it looks like Notes On A Conditional Form is going to be a true, massive hodge-lodge of different sounds and inspirations.
Hayley Williams — “Over Yet”
Following the experimental Boygenius-featuring track “Roses/Lotus/Violet/Iris,” Hayley Williams’ latest Petals For Amor sampling is more of an ’80s-inspired anthem. Perhaps that’s why she decided to accompany it with an aerobics video. On “Over Yet, “Williams blends down-tempo electric guitar with bright percussive elements to craft an empowering anthem,” writes Carolyn Droke for Uproxx.
Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever — “She’s There”
After the disillusionment that set in after this Australian outfit returned from a lengthy tour supporting their debut album Hope Downs, they decided to turn the uneasiness into inspiration. “She’s There” is the first preview of the band’s upcoming sophomore effort Sideways To New Italy, a straight rocker that epitomizes the band’s mission on the record. Throughout the album, they “tried to convey that feeling in a dream where you need to be somewhere, and you don’t really know why, but you are determined to overcome every obstacle to get there,” according to a statement.
Some artists covered here are Warner Music artists. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.