Music Features

Sunday Selects: This Week's New Indie Music Picks Shatter Convention

You'll find comfort in SASAMI's universal messages, joy in Sundara Karma's exuberant classic rock, and innovation in Silvia Pérez Cruz's rendition of an old classic.

Each of this week's selection of brand new songs is drawn from a series of daring and genre-bending projects. They all explore unexpected themes, pull from poetry or ancient rituals, or somehow rail against structure and convention.

1. SASAMI — Turned Out I Was Everyone

Sasami has long been a fixture of the indie music scene, playing synths in the ultimate indie girl group, Cherry Glazerr, for years, but this week saw the release of her long-awaited debut solo LP. "Turned Out I Was Everyone" rides on the strength of its only lyric, which could be indie music scripture: "Turns out I was everyone / thought I was the only one / to be so alone in the night." The song is a sparkling blend of synths and looped vocals, starting mellow and building to a multilayered climax that drives home its message of unity.

Turned Out I Was Everyone

2. Foals — Moonlight

Foals' new album, Part 1 Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost, is an ambitious project. The band sounds like it's trying to craft stadium-level soundscapes, with dark-eletronica tracks like "In Degrees" calling to mind bands like Passion Pit or MGMT, though sometimes they wind up sounding like new Mumford & Sons on mushrooms. On occasion, all of the different instruments can make the songs feel cluttered. But it works in a dramatic, cinematic way on songs like "Moonlight," a psychedelic dreamscape that grows nightmarishly surreal by the end.

Foals - Moonlight [Official Lyric Video]

3. Sundara Karma — Rainbow Body

This uplifting rock song forms the centerpiece of an exuberant new album from UK-based indie art rock band Sundara Karma. The young band sounds a bit like The Killers, and their songs are equally pumped-up and electric, with hints of 1970s peace and love sensibility thrown into the mix. "Rainbow Body" is an energetic highlight on the band's latest release, Ulfilas' Alphabet.

Sundara Karma - Rainbow Body (Audio)

4. The Sound Of Silence — Silvia Pérez Cruz

The Spanish singer has long been creating innovative arrangements of classic songs (check out Pequeño Vals Vienés, her Spanish-language rendition of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" mixed with lines from the poet Federico García Lorca, for full-body chills). This version of the iconic Simon and Garfunkel tune is eerie and impressionistic, almost visionary in its resistance to structure and repetition. It completely deconstructs the song, only to build it back up, starting with a cappella vocals, then adding rolls of Spanish guitar and bone-chilling violins. It's a long journey, but more than worth it when Pérez Cruz's voice boils over from a whisper to a full-throated scream at the end.

Silvia Pérez Cruz - The sounds of silence

5. The New Revelations of Being — SoundWalk Collective & Patti Smith

Prolific Instagrammer and 1960s icon Patti Smith has teamed up with her daughter Jesse and the SoundWalk Collective, a group of experimental sound artists based in New York and Berlin, and their first collaborative effort is a spoken-word collage inspired by the poet Antonin Artaud. Though the song is largely about Artaud's experimentation with peyote, Smith clarified that creating the song did not require any actual drugs. "The poets enter the bloodstream; they enter the cells. For a moment, one is Artaud," Smith stated of her recording experience. "You can't ask for it; you can't buy it, you can't take drugs for it to be authentic. It just has to happen; you have to be chosen as well as choose."

With Patti's deep, magnetic rasp laid over Jesse's drumming and a mystical array of fond sounds, the song swirls in abstractions until getting to the point with its last line: "the guns and the guns and the guns," Smith repeats, a clear political statement. We wouldn't expect anything less from the godmother of punk.

Soundwalk Collective with Patti Smith - The New Revelations Of Being

6. Bonus Track: Vampire Weekend — Sunflower

No, this, unfortunately, isn't a cover of the chart-topping Post Malone hit, but it is the latest release from everyone's favorite undead rock band and the prolific guitarist Steve Lacy. Though the garden imagery and beginning moments hint at the band's masterpiece "Hannah Hunt ," it's actually not a great song, or even a good song; even Lacy's dextrous shredding can't make up for the amazingly awkward scatting in the middle; but it's an entertaining listen, if only because it's so absurd.

Vampire Weekend - Sunflower ft. Steve Lacy (Official Video)

Eden Arielle Gordon is a writer and musician from New York City. Follow her on Twitter @edenarielmusic.

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