What is the state of indie music today? What constitutes an independent band anymore when there’s little distinction left between the mainstream and the underground? Two of American’s best indie bands, Dirty Projectors and Fleet Foxes, are back with songs from their first albums in a while. Each track boasts a refreshing experimental sound that demands repeated listening. Where do these and other songs fit in the discussion about contemporary indie music? The Projectors frontman has taken to social media to address the question.
“Cool Your Heart” feat. D∆WN
The latest from the Projectors is a series of heartbreak letters from frontman Dave Longstreuth, who broke up with the group’s Amber Coffman since the band’s last album five years ago. As a breakup record, it’s full of painful disclosures about the demise of their relationship. But Longstreuth’s vision turns those dark confessions into thrilling experimental sounds. This track, featuring singer Dawn Richard (aka D∆WN), is full of off-kilter rhythms and quirky dub effects, giving it a cool, glitchy dance sound.
Dirty Projectors’ Dave Longstreth kicked off a debate on Instagram about the state of indie music, wondering whether it’s become “both bad and boujee.”
“Third of May/Ōdaigahara”
With their first new music in six years, Seattle’s Fleet Foxes have gone big, releasing a nine-minute track from their new album, Crack-Up, which gets released in June. It’s the group’s longest and most experimental number to date. The Foxes stick with their winning sound of grand, acoustic orchestration and sweeping choruses filled with bucolic imagery. But as the epic song builds, it morphs into a chaotic swirl of tension and confusion before resolving into a calm, transcendent finish.
Hello! music columnist Nicholas Jennings surveys the pop landscape each week to find the most dynamic tracks to add to your playlist.