What a weird thing for 4th of July to happen on a Tuesday, amirite? I had a guac and Moscow Mule filled weekend down at the Jersey Shore, had to work Monday, and then had a Tuesday off for the first time in maybe ever. So I felt the need to exercise my freedom in the only way I know how: packing my day to the brim. I ran to counteract my gluttonous sins, used my Met yearly membership for the first time, tried to fill my stretched out stomach at East Village institution Frank, and saw a wedding band perform live at Red Lion while J-Lo swiveled her hip-high slits on the TV screen and firecrackers reverberated around the buildings. It was discombobulating, confusing, chaotic and perfect. And I felt that even though the Summer Solstice is in June, it’s on America’s birthday that summer truly commences.
I sat on this month’s playlist way too long so some of these songs are a month young. But all are wonderful, weird, and will inspire popping off Pringle tops, beer tabs–or bottle rockets if that’s your thing.
Not totally “indie” because Zane Lowe's Beats 1 debuted it, and Rolling Stone covered it but I love Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, and therefore also fully support frontman Alex Ebert’s second solo cameo after a six-year furlough. “Broken Record” is a sparkler of a track, with glittery synth and a heavy dose of sax––so suit up, sit back and dip your toes into the “totally alive shit” that this barefoot genius loves (& does) best.
gabriel black debuts with “sad boy” a track that sounds a little classic rock, a tad Brand New, a dash of electro, with a foundation of R&B. His SoundCloud bio says, “I make music in my bedroom. alone. at night.” Which elicits in me pity, before I realize that could easily be my bio replacing “make music” with “write words that no one will ever read.” Either way, from his lack of capital letters to the childish album artwork, I’m digging the guy’s vulnerability cloaked in mystique.
Ontario alt-pop singer-songwriter Wollfe (b. Jazzmyn Bradshaw) released “Lover’s Lullaby” a track that initially, lyrically/melodically sounds like Lana Del Rey. And while it’s a beautifully predictable piece of prose, the chanting and key change at 2:33 make me see the originality, and prove this 22-year-old artist can bare her teeth via minor key.
I tried to convince my fiancee on a recent road trip that folk/roots duo Twin Bandit’s “Everything Under the Sun” should be our wedding song. I mean take the chorus, “Through the highs, through the lows, wherever this road goes / I want you to know… you give me strength, you give me life, give me truth, give me time / ooh you give me love, everything under the sun.” Could the lyrics be more perfect? And when sung in Hannah Walker’s pure, hopeful soprano, they really feel like happily ever after. Also, their album is out August 18, the date of our future anniversary. But unlike the consistency of this great track, I keep changing my mind about our first dance. So the jury is still out.
Berlin-based producer Andrew Applepie and Swedish crooner Bjurman presented their first collaboration "Drowning World" last month, which blends so many things and feelings I don’t even know where to begin. The press release describes it as a yin and yang of pop and emotion, and that’s pretty on point so we’ll start there. It’s somehow both sad and upbeat, a conundrum, both catatonic but catapulting – a tug-of-war between sadness and madness that I could listen to on repeat. Especially that drop at 1:14.
JW Ridley’s “1990” is just a gorgeous, heaving breath of track and please play it through to 2:45 because once you get there synth and strings attack, while the vocal waves erode everything back into silence. The four girls currently taking over the world AKA The Aces dropped “Baby Who” and you can hear that here if you didn’t already read my ode to this group of childhood friends who also happen to be a damn great rock band.
So shine bright and summer hard you indie darlings, and check back here next month for the last dose of the muggy, manic and overall excellent audible offerings popping off all over the internet. And tag us using #IndieSkim if there’s anything that strikes your fancy.