James Blake, Mitski, The Big Thief and more


Independent music has grown to include so much. It’s not just music that comes out on independent labels, but it caters to an aesthetic that deviates from the norm and follows its own bizarre heart. It can take the form of rock, pop or folk music. In a sense, that says as much about the people who are drawn to it as it does the people who make it.

Every week Uproxx brings together the best new independent music from the past seven days. This week we had the awesome new single from Mitski, the intense new album from The World Is…, and another wonderful single from Big Thief. Check out the rest of the best new indie music below.

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James Blake – Friends who break your heart

Two years after the release of Assume the form, James Blake is back with his fifth studio album. Friends who break your heart is an impressive new entry in Blake’s catalog, packed with contributions from his famous friends including SZA, Finneas and his girlfriend Jameela Jamill.

Porches – Soft hold all day!

Porches has been more or less prolific over the past decade, with each version building on the previous one. Aaron Maine’s last effort, Soft hold all day!, might just be his best yet, incorporating all of the sounds that generated the hype around the project while channeling all the influences and sonic experimentation into an incredibly succinct 25 minute album.

Madeleine Bay – Mercurial World

After gaining a cult following following their 2020 EP, A little beat and a nasty feeling, Magdalena Bay has set her sights on a first feature film. The resultant Mercurial World finds Mica Tenenbaum and Matthew Lewin reveling in the madness of isolation as they create a musical world in which they can fully live. It’s an impressive start for the duo, who set the bar high enough for what is to come.

The world is a beautiful place and I’m no longer afraid of dying – Illusionary walls

It’s been four years since we’ve heard from the legendary emo group The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die. Now the band is back with Illusionary walls, which Steven Hyden called in a recent Indie Mixtape newsletter “their most intense effort yet”. With two tracks lasting over 15 minutes, it’s clear the band has a lot to say, and they’re not going to hesitate.

Mitski – “Working for the knife”

After years of silence, Mitski suddenly returned last week with the new song “Working For The Knife”. Hopefully our first taste of a new album, the song is built on asynchronous beats and Mitski’s signature vocal style as she sings what she described in a statement as “passing from a child with a dream to an adult with a job, and feeling that somewhere along the way you’ve been left behind.

Gang Of Youths – “The Man Himself”

Gang Of Youths has popped up here and there over the past few months, creating an expectation for their next studio album. “The Man Himself” seems to be the appropriate first glimpse of this still-untitled album, which Adrian Spinelli describes for Uproxx as opening with “blank strings unfurling in a drum and bass beat before Le’aupepe does deliver the song’s chorus with a Bono-like emotional tour de force.

Big Thief – “Change”

Just days after announcing that their new album was going to be a massive 20-track double LP, Big Thief shared another new single. “Change” fits Adrianne Lenker’s description of the new album as featuring “raw and fat free, just song and acoustic” tracks. After ditching the soaring “Little Things”, almost shoegaze-inspired, the latest single shows the wide range of sounds that will appear on the new record.

Tears for Fears – “The Tipping Point”

For the first time in 17 years we have new music from legendary English dream pop group Tears For Fears. “The Tipping Point” incorporates all the intensity and melodrama that made the band famous in the mid-1980s, channeled through a modern lens. The timing of the new song couldn’t be better, as fans (like me) have revisited albums like Songs from the great chair to celebrate the spooky season ahead.

Tonstartssbandht – “Death”

Florida-based Tonstartssbandht has been brewing debut album since 2017 and next Petunia “smells like a potential breakthrough,” wrote Steven Hyden in a recent Indie Mixtape newsletter. The new single “Pass Away” features vocal styles reminiscent of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young on dreamy 12-string guitars as the track picks up speed and moves into an extended melodic guitar solo section. Everything I just described is something we need more in 2021.

Diners – “The song of the brain”

Arizona solo actor Diners is preparing to announce a new record to close 2021, but so far Tyler Blue Broderick has given us one of the simplest and most infectious hooks in recent memory. . Layering groovy, twittering instrumentals with a simple vocals, “Brain Song” will be a staple on the fall playlist.

Talker – “Sad little chick”

Talker’s “Suck Up” was one of my favorite tracks of 2020, and it was really exciting to have new music from Celeste Tauchar in my inbox last week. “Sad Chick” is another excellent pop punk inspired track that is built on drum machines and soundscapes, vulnerable in its writing but stimulating in its delivery.

Bent Knee – “Queer Gods”

Bent Knee makes a kind of avant-garde alternative music reminiscent of Glass Beach, that is, it resists genre conventions and creates a universe of its own. “Queer Gods” preview of the next album Icing, and has flourishes of horns, synths, and mellow vocals that will sure make Bent Knee stand out from the crowd.

Close to tears – “Love under surveillance”

“Love Under Surveillance,” the latest track by Southern California artist Near Tears (aka Justine Dorsey) is inspired by the classic era of new wave bands that performed at CBGB in New York City. Inspiration is clear in Dorsey’s vocal delivery and clear guitar arrangements, echoing greats like Blondie and The Pretenders. “I grew up in a very neat place, learning to be wild,” Dorsey said in a statement. “Even if it was just to stay indoors, watch hours of footage from my favorite bands on YouTube.”

Some of the artists covered here are artists from Warner Music. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.


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