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All The Best New Indie Music From This Week

Best New Indie
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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 best new indie music from the past seven days. This week, we got new music from MGMT, Cloud Nothings, Sharon Van Etten, Sen Morimoto, and more.

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Sen Morimoto – Diagnosis

Sen Morimoto, the Chicago-based multi-instrumentalist and Sooper Records co-founder, is known for his potent mix of acid jazz, hip-hop, and indie rock. Morimoto’s third album, Diagnosis, makes stellar use of his eight-piece touring band, an ensemble that features frenetic drums, horn blasts, and, of course, Morimoto’s pithy manifestos against the music industry’s powers that be.

Hotline TNT – Cartwheel

Scuzzy and discordant yet sweet and melodic, Hotline TNT’s Cartwheel is unequivocally one of the best albums of the year, indie rock or otherwise. The recent Third Man Records signee deserves the brighter spotlight, and songs like the instantly anthemic “I Thought You’d Change,” the gravelly, stomping “Beauty Filter,” and the fuzzy, serrated “Son In Law” are a convincing showcase of why Hotline TNT, to put it simply, rip.

MGMT – “Mother Nature”

On MGMT’s last album, 2018’s excellent Little Dark Age, the duo of Andrew VanWyngarden and Ben Goldwasser revivified their hook-heavy brand of synth-pop. If “Mother Nature,” the lead single for the upcoming Loss Of Life, is any suggestion, then MGMT have sold their synthesizers and bought guitars. But they haven’t lost their edge; “Mother Nature” is a welcome refinement on the psych-pop they explored on 2010’s Congratulations. Producer Dave Fridmann is back behind the boards, too. Whatever MGMT has in store for us, it seems to have been worth the wait.

King Isis – “Make It Up”

When you listen to the Oakland-born songwriter King Isis, you might not think they were raised on classical piano lessons. Their music is pop-heavy, brimming with punchy drums, distorted guitars, and Isis’ enrapturing voice. But that foundation is crucial; King Isis contains multitudes, and that much is apparent on her latest single, the buoyant yet harrowing “Make It Up.” And Isis’ lyrics suggest as much. “Will you kiss me when the world ends,” they ask in the memorable opening couplet. Even with the world heading toward an ever-closer collapse, we may as well enjoy the time we have left.

Cloud Nothings – “Final Summer”

The first few moments of Cloud Nothings’ new single, “Final Summer,” build up to a simmer. Mixed by Illuminati Hotties’ Sarah Tudzin, “Final Summer” marks a new era for the Cleveland indie rockers. Like an idyllic sunrise, it conjures the beginning of something. When Dylan Baldi’s voice comes in, wondering “what’s the use in trying to be undercover,” it’s easy to believe him. Cloud Nothings’ latest reminds us of an important axiom: appreciate your final summer, whenever it may be.

Empty Country – Empty Country II

Joseph D’Agostino is taking after rap titans like Lil Wayne, Jay-Z, and Run The Jewels. Not that the former Cymbals Eat Guitars frontman is pivoting to hip-hop; his new project Empty Country is adopting the numerical-title approach. Empty Country II, much like its 2020 predecessor, consists of vignettes and character studies that unearth the hope and despair threading through American life.

Wisp – “Once Then We’ll Be Free”

Wisp, the shoegaze project of an anonymous teenager, blends the gauzy vocals of Yeule and the ‘90s hooks of Soccer Mommy. Based in San Francisco, the shoegaze savant hasn’t shown her face anywhere, but she runs the humorously titled Instagram account whirrwhoreforlyfe to solidify her shoegaze fandom. Recently, she has shared the sterling, riveting single “Once Then We’ll Be Free,” which includes a video that draws inspiration from the found-footage horror classic The Blair Witch Project.

Sharon Van Etten – “Close To You”

The new Apple TV+ series The Buccaneers has garnered quite the indie rock soundtrack. It features Bully, The Kills’ Alison Mosshart, Warpaint, Lucius, and plenty more. Count Sharon Van Etten in, too, who, alongside Aussie songwriter Courtney Barnett, wrote “Close To You” for the brand-new drama show. “Put your best dress on, and get outta your head,” Van Etten urges in the chorus. Like her best work, it’s tender and heart-wrenching in all the right places.

Drop Nineteens – Hard Light

30 years after their last record, shoegaze legends Drop Nineteens are back and in top form. Their new album, the sprawling, gorgeous Hard Light, shows that the influential Boston group has lost none of its luster. From start to finish, Hard Light is a tour de force, abounding with all the vital Drop Nineteens signifiers: rich guitar tones, soothing vocals, and bewitching layers of sound.

Spiritual Cramp — Spiritual Cramp

The 2000s garage/dance-punk revival is now getting, well, its own revival. Spiritual Cramp’s eponymous debut album is a masterful mingle of the aggressive riffs of The Hives (“Better Off This Way”), the deadpan delivery of Interpol (“Herberts On Holiday”), and the danceable sensibilities of Franz Ferdinand (“City On Fire”). This San Francisco band, however, doesn’t sound like an ersatz imitation of this era; they strike a balance of all three modes that sounds thrillingly idiosyncratic.