5 New Indie Releases That You Should Listen To

By Rebecca Hsu, Staff Writer

When it comes to innovation, indie music constantly seeks to push the boundaries within the genres they explore. Whether it’s indie rock, pop, folk or any other number of genres, a core tenet of the indie scene is experimentation. Here are five new releases from various indie artists that bring new sounds to the table.

Portrait of a Blank Slate – Lovejoy

The first track on their recently released EP, “Wake Up & It’s Over,” British indie rock band Lovejoy ups its alt rock tone with “Portrait of a Blank Slate.” The song introduces itself with an energetic bass riff and gritty vocals, setting the tone for what’s to come. The lyrics center around a protagonist who is obsessively in love with a girl who has fallen for someone else. 

The verses and pre-chorus in particular carry many of Lovejoy’s stylistic markers — aggressive guitar playing that punctuates certain lines, distinct bass lines and vocal melodies that mimic speech patterns. When the chorus hits, however, Lovejoy not only alters the tone of the song but that of the band in general. The bass and guitar become layered in distortion, the drums carry the same intensity but with a more spaced-out, dreamy feel and a lead guitar riff gets introduced. The vocals ride this wall of sound as the main character pleads with the girl, “Let me stay.” Other highlights include a lively drum solo and a short bridge that manages to use the word “hypoglycemic” in the lyrics.

Pills – James Supercave

In its new single “Pills,” LA-based indie band James Supercave employs its usual use of electronic beats to write about unhealthy devotion. The song has a mellow, dreamlike feel, with a pulsing, synthesized bassline, minimal percussion and layered, harmonizing vocals in the chorus. The lead singer’s drawling tone pulls the listener through romantic lyrics tinged with codependence, such as, “If there’s a God then it’s you/ I follow your every move.” 

Also worth noting is the various electronic embellishments James Supercave adds, including a light synth riff, high-pitched whirring noises, or a zapping noise similar to that of an electronic device turning off. These contribute to the band’s psychedelic vibes while also contrasting nicely with the more acoustic instrumentation, such as a distorted electric guitar solo.

Never Ending Song – Conan Gray

One of the biggest indie pop artists, Conan Gray is teasing his third album through the release of the single “Never Ending Song.” The song focuses on lingering feelings for past relationships that never fade entirely, like a “never ending song.” Contributing towards the lyrics’ theme of nostalgia, the track has all the qualities of an ‘80s hit. Upbeat synths, tumbling drum lines and a vocal tone reminiscent of greats such as David Bowie, Gray is exploring a new soundscape by taking listeners back to the past. 

This single introduces a new era for the artist, however it still contains many elements that are quintessentially Gray. The song’s explosive energy contains all the playfulness seen in past works, just within a different genre. The lyrics also contain the same nostalgic musings on childhood and coming-of-age characteristic of Gray’s writing.

Prescription – Remi Wolf

Indie pop artist Remi Wolf infuses various musical genres into her work, including soul, funk and jazz, and her latest single “Prescription” is no exception. The laid-back track highlights all that makes Wolf’s music great; powerful, soulful vocals, funky bass, bright horns and overall good vibes. Wolf’s instrumentation is lush from the varied percussion, the harmony formed by the keys, bass, guitar and horns and, of course, Wolf’s voice cutting through it all with her characteristic grit and charm.

Contributing to the feel good sounds of her music are feel good lyrics about giddy, uncomplicated love. She describes the feelings of butterflies in your stomach, holding hands and wanting to be wherever the other person goes. She also incorporates humor within her lyrics with lines such as, “Even my mother approves.” Harkening back to her jazz and funk inspirations, she incorporates a scat-like bridge as she jams out with the rest of the band.

Wasted – Rob Moose and Phoebe Bridgers

Known for his work arranging and performing strings for major artists Bon Iver, Paul Simon and Taylor Swift, Rob Moose collaborates with indie folk sensation Phoebe Bridgers to create this introspective track. The song describes the main character drinking to cope with the idea of getting old. Moose’s arrangement is stellar with all of the harmony formed by strings and voice. Because of this, the song feels distinctly delicate and is a fascinating display of the range of techniques that can be used to write a string section. 

The verses are characterized by sliding, sustained pitches from the violins, contributing to the feeling of time slipping, a theme also present in the lyrics. As the chorus begins, so does a soft, plucked melody from the violins that is both playful and melancholic at once. As the song continues, the bass line becomes more intense and rapid, reflecting the main character’s rising bitter feelings. These are only some of the ways that Moose transports his listeners through his character’s headspace. Bridgers’s light, emotive voice accompanies the strings perfectly, floating atop their harmonies as she brings the lyrics to life.

No matter what vibe you are looking for, from head banger to melancholic ballad to upbeat ‘80s-style track, indie music has it.