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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Manchester Orchestra — The Valley Of Vision
Following enticing singles “Capital Karma” and “The Way,” Manchester Orchestra have unleashed the seismic project The Valley Of Vision, an album with a VR short film. Even without the visual accompaniment, the songs themselves breathe life like movie scenes. The tracks bleed into each other organically and dynamically, moving the listener through their sonic world with ease.
Joanna Sternberg — “I’ve Got Me”
Joanna Sternberg’s new single “I’ve Got Me” comes with the exciting announcement of an album of the same title. Self-reflection makes the song glow with inimitable insight: “And all my faults and flaws and lies / Are no one’s fault but mine / Between self-hatred and self-awareness / Is a very small, thin line.” Inspired by a Bukowski poem, “I’ve Got Me” is a thoughtful treat that previews a powerful LP.
Ratboys — “Black Earth, WI”
At eight and a half minutes, it could be easy for “Black Earth, WI” by Ratboys to lose the listener’s attention. However, the ruminative, enchanting track glimmers throughout with breezy guitars and hypnotic vocals painting a vivid story: “Oh, I was hypnotized / Caught up in the northern lights / Driving around in circles,” Julia Steiner sings.
Bartees Strange — “Daily News”
Bartees Strange’s songs always have a magnetic force to them that pulls the listener into an immersive place. “Daily News” does this exceptionally well as sweeping, twinkly guitars conjure an emotional whirlwind that his earnest vocals only amplify. The build-up is as powerful as you’d expect, bringing the song into an unforgettable catharsis.
Indigo De Souza — “Smog”
Indigo De Souza’s “Younger & Dumber” was a memorable first preview into her forthcoming album All Of This Will End. It moved delicately yet with an undeniable sharpness. “Smog” shows the singer playing with a dancey, upbeat atmosphere as the backdrop to her painfully relatable confessions: “I eat too much when I’m lonely / I bury everything / I wanna face it head on / But it’s so easy to turn it away,” she sings. Even in this more lighthearted setting, her lyricism hits just as hard.
Angel Olsen — “Nothing’s Free”
The aptly-titled Big Time was a special album for Angel Olsen. The singer’s twangy, visceral record confronted colossal emotions against stunning sonic landscapes. It turns out a lot was cut from that LP, so an EP called Forever Means is arriving next month, and “Nothing’s Free” is a beautiful peek into it. Right off the bat, the vulnerability is palpable and impactful: “Here it comes feel it break that old cell / The one you thought had kept you safe / But nothing’s free,” she sings achingly.
Hot Mulligan — “Shhhh! Golf Is On”
Hot Mulligan never miss. The Lansing, Michigan-based group always have invigorating pop-punk anthems with unpredictably funny titles to make up for the inconceivably depressing lyricism. “Shhhh! Golf Is On” is catapulted forward with sharp riffs and Nathan Sanville’s angsty vocals: “Can’t stand the fact I know where you are / Ten years, I still try to spot your car / When driving past your house / The taste of iron in my mouth.”
Tame Impala — “Wings Of Time”
For the upcoming movie, Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves, Tame Impala shared the new song “Wings Of Time.” In typical Kevin Parker fashion, the track is dreamy and hallucinatory. His vocals glow as he sings poetic lines: “Do you see the wings of time? / Do you feel a sense of pride now?”
Unknown Mortal Orchestra — “Meshuggah”
We’re only a few days away from the release of V, the double album from Unknown Mortal Orchestra. “Meshuggah” is a compelling taste, warbling forward with distorted vocals and a warped, dizzy ambiance. The idiosyncratic sound pulls the listener into a new world; V is sure to be a rollercoaster.
The Hold Steady — “Understudies”
In January, The Hold Steady announced their forthcoming album The Price Of Progress with an unveiled the fiery lead single “Sideways Skull.” It’s only a couple of weeks before the release of that highly anticipated album, and they’ve unveiled “Understudies,” a more cinematic cut that shows off their storytelling: “This is showbiz / Hit the spotlight / If you really want to dance then put your shoes on,” Craig Finn narrates, telling a tale of artifice and dissatisfaction.