In order to stay informed, we listen to so much new music here on a consistent basis. Each month we’re sharing with you our recommendations for the best new indie + alternative music we come across. Put this playlist on Re:Play > and enjoy the best recently-released songs that we can’t stop listening to.
Read on below to find out why we chose some of our favorites tracks.
The Marias – I Don’t Know You
Los Angeles’ own The Marias have continually been captivating me with their debut single “I Don’t Know You.” The quintet is rapidly gaining traction around the LA music scene, with coverage from buzzbands.la and a recent Echo Park Rising set. We get a treat of their self-described psychedelic-soul with this track’s smooth, sultry, self-assured attitude. There aren’t a lot of frills, it’s perfectly reined-in making you conscious of every element at work, its simplicity glistening every so lusciously. A wonderful pulsing groove drives the song like an enamored yet coyish heartbeat.
There’s a subtle tension between the dual vocals lines, nicely capturing the searching tone of the track: a couple trying to define their feelings, their intimacy, and whether they know each other enough to take the next step. Are they head-over-heels? Are they getting in the way of their own feelings? Only they know.
The song lives in the reminiscing-glow of the morning-after, it’s slight atmospherics forecast a nostalgia of what could-be in their connection, daydreaming after a late-night in. A playful guitar hook comes in towards the end that will just have you addicted; it’ll have you retracing the whole song, and remind you that not only do you not mind the sounds that you’re hearing, you’re actually infatuated by them. This is a song that makes me want to know The Marias better.
Car Seat Headrest – War Is Coming (If You Want It)
I think it’s safe to put Car Seat Headrest in the slacker-rock segment of indie-rock proper: the laid-back mood, loose scratchy guitars, off-center yearning angst. We get all that and more in the follow up single to 2016’s incredible Teens Of Denial. ‘War Is Coming (If You Want It)’ is Car Seat Headrest’s most anthemic song to date, a call to action to not stand by the sidelines and let violence and stupidity happen. Highly relevant. Earlier this month, the band released an alternative mix of the track and donated the proceeds to the Transgender Law Center in response to the current US administration’s executive order to ban transgender people from serving in the military.
The track is fervent and ferocious, reminiscent of Beck at times, releasing pent out anger in pensive words and guitars. To put it simply, it’s a battle cry that demands that we all stop slacking off, and instead break free to stand up what we believe in. After all, “now is the time to cast the screenplay aside, and try to create some space between the lines, to lift up your voice and change someone’s mind.” If you take anything away from this review, listen to slacker-rock, have a conversation on Slack, sure, but don’t slack off in making your voice heard. Get out there and make the world a better place in the way only you know how, because you gotta want it.
Destroyer – Sky’s Grey
The work of Destroyer is something I always enjoy, almost to the point where it is difficult to describe. I always think of it as some sort of carefully measured chaos. Dan Bejar’s band definitely knows how to make the most out of less, creating complexities full of emotion scenarios. There are well-thought ideas in the music they create, economical, where nothing feels randomly included; every element is part of a larger discourse, like a scene in a movie that is slowly built.
‘Sky’s Grey’ will make your life go into slow motion from the very first second. As Bejar’s voice starts singing you think, is he talking to us or are we just hearing his inner dialogue? We get trapped into his stream of consciousness, haunted by the words that come to us like a riddle; we get a glimpse of a story there–or perhaps, many stories–that never get fully revealed, like a David Lynch movie. We find a strange catharsis in his words, repeated like a mystical mantra: “Bombs in the city, plays in the sticks”. As the song moves forward, the sounds of an atemporal beauty surround us and we get this warm feeling, maybe some relief? Has he found the inspiration he was looking for? Maybe not inspiration after all, but the liberating acceptance of knowing that it really doesn’t matter, there’s nothing to prove, just raw emotions that flow as he euphorically, yet ironically tells us, “I’ve been working on the new Oliver Twist.” The sky is still grey but now there is something to hold on to. Bring it on, I can’t wait.
The Octopus Project – Mendoza
Memory Mirror is The Octopus Project’s sixth album. The band from Austin, TX has come a long way in refining and evolving their sound. When revisiting their last two albums you can see them gathering all the experience from their past work into a perfected, more defined sound–an important accomplishment given the experimental nature of the band, but it should also set new milestones for them.
In Memory Mirror, they make use of all their talents as multi-instrumentalists to create psychedelic textures through powerful guitars, playful synthesizers and crazy drum beats; it almosts feels danceable for moments yet at other times introspective. ‘Mendoza,’ the song featured in this month’s Re:Play, is probably the most ‘pop’ sounding track on the album. It will make you feel like you’re on a quest across space watching supernovas explode, only to wake up and realize everything was a dream.
Best of IndieBeat Featured Artists
The Yorks – Liaison
Their latest single “Liaison” shows off the more yearning, cerebral quality of the band’s music, where anxious vocals and guitar lines wind about. The trembling breakdown and turn to falsetto perfectly captures “the story of an individual struggling as he comes to terms with the end of a relationship. The lack of humility spins out of control as he desperately tries to justify his own self-reflection.”
Western Jaguar – Lake Placid
It’s a song that makes you wander in your pensive wonderment, just as Wayfarer made you do, but with a more refined nature. Dynamically shredding guitar developments weave about as we get the existential twinge of the lines “We bury our hearts, we strain our hearts, but why do we?” Overall there’s an “afterglow” in this song that captures the energy of this album perfectly: a calmness in confidence, a radiance in interplay, and just a pleasurable experience that “stops the grieving” and explores “the way I feel.”
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