Featuring tracks from Suki Waterhouse, Jimi Somewhere, Shura, and more.
This week's new indie music selections oscillate between nostalgia and a resolute desire to embrace the present and future. While Jimi Somewhere, Suki Waterhouse and Rae Isla miss bygone times, Tierra Whack is done with bullshit and ready to power into her strength, and Holly Herndon is basically already living in the matrix.
Each of these songs grapples with the reality of change in a completely different way—but ultimately, each is guaranteed to remind you that you're not alone in feeling a lot of things about it.
1. Jimi Somewhere — "I Shot My Dog / 1st Place"
JIMI SOMEWHERE - I SHOT MY DOG / 1st PLACE www.youtube.com
Jimi Somewhere's newest release is a harmony-laden, sun-drenched tune in the vein of Kevin Abstract and Roy Blair. It's an angsty and expansive track that seems meant for lying on the floor of your mom's basement, staring at the vomit stain from one of your high school parties, questioning everything and missing your childhood dog. But it also has enough energy to propel you off that floor, out onto the highway and into a dramatic running scene that ends with you kneeling down in a wheat field and suddenly deciding to change your life, dedicating yourself to love rather than self-pity. "I Shot My Dog" is a mixed bag of emotions, and it's a promising taste of the Norwegian up-and-comer's first EP.
2. Suki Waterhouse — Good Looking
Suki Waterhouse - Good Looking (Official Video) www.youtube.com
The English singer returns with an almost luxuriously vapid single that sounds like a ripoff of a
Twin Peaks trance-ballad. But the fluorescent guitar and opulently dramatic ending give the song a trippy, relaxing warmth, making it feel kind of like a sonic hot spring. It's a saccharine, glistening tribute to superficiality, and it feels kind of like wandering through Sephora, fully aware that you're being sold exorbitantly expensive products that will benefit you in absolutely no way—but not letting that stop you from lingering over the latest colorstay vegan moisturizing face-rejuvenating turmeric-infused eyeshadow palate, $75. Fortunately, listening to "Good Looking" is free and will give you the same rush of bittersweet joy you would receive from any overpriced cosmetics.
3. Rae Isla — "American Paradise"
Rae Isla - American Paradise (Official Audio) www.youtube.com
As long as humans have existed, we've dreamed of paradises—a certain garden, nirvana, and heaven are only a few of the perfect worlds we've imagined and clung to in times of duress. In "American Paradise," Rae Isla pays her tribute to a haven of her own—our ever-idealized California dream. Vaguely reminiscent of old Irish folk songs, full of seasonal imagery and lit with a spacy kind of innocence, this nostalgic ballad is ultimately about fear of change. "Oh this country, so divided with its science and faith. Give me freedom in the valley / that is where I'll find my place," she sings. "California, do you love me?" It's unclear whether she's singing to California the state, a lover, some lost sense of happiness and peace, or a combination of all three, but regardless, "American Paradise" is about the all-too-human longing for escape.
4. Shura, "BKLYNLDN"
Shura - BKLYNLDN www.youtube.com
Since the release of her debut album
Nothing's Real in 2016, British songwriter and producer Shura has been quiet, but her new single "BKLYNLDN" breaks the silence with an intoxicating beat and expertly delicate orchestrations. Shura moved from London to Brooklyn to be with her girlfriend, and the song reflects the fear and excitement that defines major life changes. "We could take the subway to the beach where there's a breeze, cause we're in America," she sings, making it clear that she is, indeed, new to Brooklyn. Just wait, Shura, the bedbugs will find you. But for anyone who's ever made a long-term move or sacrifice in pursuit of love, this song will resonate—and plus the video is a sultry tribute to queer love, sure to engage the attention of everyone who's ever been attracted to a woman, or felt the sting of a difficult romance.
5. Holly Herndon, "Eternal"
Holly Herndon - Eternal (Official Video) www.youtube.com
This erratic work of electronica is a collaboration between Herndon and an A.I. she created called "Spawn." Herndon, a longtime computer musician, has thought long and hard about the implications of making music with an inhuman partner. "I don't want to live in a world in which humans are automated off stage," she said in a statement. "I want an A.I. to be raised to appreciate and interact with that beauty." While these are important discussions to be exploring, "Eternal" sounds a little bit too synthetic to feel like an actual expression of emotion or a cohesive composition. It's a little too caught up in its lofty ideals, a little too close to the uncanny valley—but maybe that's the point.
6. Tierra Whack — "Wasteland"
Tierra Whack – Wasteland (Audio) www.youtube.com
#WhackHistoryMonth just keeps getting better and better. On "Wasteland," the rising star laces aggressive lyrics over a mellow beat and churchy organ motif. She shows off her singing voice alongside effortless bars as the tune sways and swells at just the right times, echoing sentiments shared by any woman who has simply been Done with a man's shit. True to her innovative release style, Whack has been releasing one new song each week this month as a prelude to her upcoming 2019 LP.
Eden Arielle Gordon is a writer and musician from New York City. Follow her on Twitter @edenarielmusic.
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