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.
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Nicole Dollanganger — Married In Mount Airy
Nicole Dollanganger’s music never seems to lose its power. Married In Mount Airy successfully haunts and endears its listener, with her striking, high-pitched voice feeling hypnotic against sparkling sonic backgrounds. Each song feels like an intense scene from a movie.
White Reaper — “Pink Slip”
White Reaper’s mischievous Asking For A Ride arrives at the end of this month, and each single has been a fiery treat. “Pink Slip” is no less catchy and intense than the previous singles; the riffs are heavy and infectious with the texture of recklessness is at an all-time high. The energy is contagious and the LP is sure to be a rollercoaster.
Mount Eerie — “Huge Fire”
On the Colors compilation album, “Huge Fire” by Mount Eerie is a haunting song with a powerful atmosphere of grief. It’s packed with vivid, cinematic lyricism: “I carry it into the night / I walk, and there’s a fire, but it’s at my back,” Phil Elverum sings.
The Hold Steady — “Sideways Skull”
“Sideways Skull” is the compelling first single from The Hold Steady’s just-announced new album The Price of Progress arriving in March. It kicks off strong: “She ordered me Newcastle / And handed me a Marlboro,” frontman Craig Finn sings against snarky riffs.
Runnner — “NYE”
Runnner’s Like Dying Stars, We’re Reaching Out is set to be one of the most subtly devastating albums of 2023. Similar to Elverum, Noah Weinman’s songs reckon with wreckage: “New Year’s Eve at home recording / Thinking: ‘how’d I get so boring?’ / And how I miss my friends, my loves / Am I choosing what’s important?” he sings on “NYE.”
Black Belt Eagle Scout — “Nobody”
A pink sunset glows in the video for Black Belt Eagle Scout’s transcendent new song “Nobody,” and it looks as comforting and evocative as the music is. The guitars soar and Katherine Paul’s breathy vocals are poignant as she sings poetic lines: “Yeah I feel it in my bones / And I find it through my home.”
Belle And Sebastian — “I Don’t Know What You See In Me”
Belle And Sebastian didn’t hold back on their exuberant new song “I Don’t Know What You See In Me.” It’s a big, buzzing anthem fueled by determination and refusal to relent: “I don’t know what you see in me / But I know I’m not about to give you up.”
Faim — “Opus”
Is there a better way to start the year than with an abrasive, clamoring hardcore song? “Opus” by Faim abides by no rules, moving to its own (incredibly fast) pace. It’s cathartic, only intensifying as it goes on. Also, there are two vocalists yelling together, making them a powerful force.
Bratty — “Continental”
“Continental” by Bratty is a breezy track. She teamed up with Nsqk and Méne, and the song bounces with a feel-good vibe, reminiscent of the summer. Still, it hits in the winter and only helps us look forward to days of sunshine and dancing.
The New Pornographers — “Really Really Light”
The New Pornographers just announced their ninth studio album Continue As A Guest arriving in March. “Really Really Light” is the first single as well as the opening track. Off the bat, it’s a noisy, jangly song full of memorable melodies and entrancing harmonies. It’s a promising preview.