The summer is nearing a close, but how can you let it end without paying tribute to some of the best indie songs of the summer? This is why Indie Discotheque is here - to filter through the mediocre and find you everything that's tops within this vast, horizonless sea of music.
1. DD Walker - Malibu
This is an uptempo jam with beautifully written rhythm guitar lines that really keep the momentum flowing, and when I say uptempo, I mean it - this thing clocks in at 184 BPM. There are similarities to recent works by Twin Shadow, which I compared to Bruce Springsteen in a previous chart, but DD Walker's sound is decidedly more open to the sky. It's beautifully produced with a simple arrangement of instrumentation. "Malibu" is his solo debut. He's been a part of a number of other bands, but he's ready as a solo artist. The coast is clear and DD Walker is taking us out of here.
2. Sea Moya - The Long Run
He's finally caught up to her. He's made it through. It's her, how could it be anyone else? It's a love song, but the lyrical content is so overshadowed by the intricacies of the music. The percussion arrangements in this song are complex and satisfyingly compressed. The vocals are stuffy-headed but mesh really well with the tone and groove of the track, which is an absolute pleasure to listen to.
3. Oh Sees - C
I love the falsetto vocal in this song with this progressive rock groove, backing organ, a guitar feature that sounds saxophone-like, and the ebb, flow, and pacing of an anthem. And the cover art, holy moly, what a masterpiece. "C" is the height of an album that is a mixed bag overall, but for Oh Sees that might be fine. At the rate they're releasing albums, we'll have even more to look forward to next year.
4. The World of Birds - Open Up
An easy listing track with a satisfying bass groove, organ accents, and very clear production. I've got this one on the list because it's well made, upbeat, simple to enjoy music. They're a relatively new band from Cape Town, South Africa with only this song released to date on KuduKudu Records. Lyrically, the song is really simple, with phrases like, “if you open up, I’ll open up, we’ll open up, we’ll be in love” which are all I can describe as cute. The innocence works well with the sound.
5. Art Brut - Wham! Bang! Pow! Let's Rock Out!
Art Brut is always looking for a party. The dance-punk band that brought us classics like "My Little Brother" and "Formed a Band" are back, and this one is a floor filler to keep that girlfriend-stealing party going. This is Art Brut's first new material released since 2011's Brilliant! Tragic!. In many ways, I feel like they still haven't been able to break out of the favoritism of their debut album, 2005's Bang Bang Rock and Roll, but if the forthcoming album can keep up with the pace of this single, we're in for a treat.
6. Raised on TV - Caroline
The guitar that we're introduced to on this track has such a classic feel. This is alternative at its finest, with a danceable rhythm and a smooth vocal to keep us transfixed. This is a song about Caroline, where we can't forget to remember who we are, and can't lose sight. And if it's a dream, we don't want to wake up. The track is out now digitally on the major platforms.
7. The Beths - Great No One
This is an uptempo, danceable indie jam with an innocent-sounding, filtered vocal. The arranging on this track is tops, with the right instruments coming forward when they need to be. The percussion is clean and discernable. The guitar solo is smokin' hot. Their new album, The Future Hates Me, is out now on Carpark Records.
8. Nvdes - Ou La La La (All Eyes On Us)
What a fantastic song for a party! We've certainly got all eyes on Nvdes, who keeps releasing one amazing track after another. This track has its foundation on some massive beats and repetitive vocal accentuation across the song that will make you want to sing along on the dancefloor.
9. Spinn - Shallow
I love how the song prepares us with muffled percussion and swell before hitting us with some beautiful jangle guitar. Spinn, from Liverpool, is pushing the BPM's this time around with "Shallow," a song about keeping relationships simple, not getting too deep into it, and just enjoying time together for what it is, doing whatever, and keeping your head full of flowers.
10. Dev Ray - Can't Hide
We're dancing in a massive, dreamy cavern here, and we definitely can't hide. The vocals are open and full of echo. This is a big room sound. The synth accents in this track keep with the theme, but the bass guitar is grounded and directional. Out now on Dangerbird Records.
11. The Kooks - Four Leaf Clover
The Kooks are back with new material only a year after releasing their Best Of. "Four Leaf Clover" is my favorite of the tracks on the 15-song album Let's Go Sunshine. Lyrically, the song is fascinating. It's about a trainwreck of a love columnist who lives a lonely, drug and boozed life, and keeps a four-leaf clover in her coat pocket.
12. Ecstatic Union - Let It Be Love
It's dance-punk time. Ecstatic Union is here with their new single "Let It Be Love," and I'm both in love and ecstatic. It's a simple song, and we've heard this song before. But why is it so fun when it isn't breaking any new ground? Aside from just loving the sound, the production is clean, the guitar is clear, and the vocals keep you engaged.
13. Thrill You Kill You - Riding on Your Misery
A swirling introduction leads us into a deep, driving bassline. Thrill You Kill You is here with "Riding on Your Misery," and it's dark, well-arranged, beautifully mixed indie pop, produced by Fei-Fei herself. While her vocals seem a bit too raw on the verses at times, the chorus blends amazingly well with the backing instrumentation. This is a song about trusting your instincts when you're being cast aside by others and stepping out and doing your thing the way you want.
14. Ben Taimi - Coming Soon
This is such a lighthearted, feel-good song with wonderful piano arpeggiation introducing us into some really sunny arrangements. The accent percussion during the chorus makes the song for me, singing along with the lyric, "your time is coming soon!" This is an ultra-positive message about believing in yourself, and it really feels good.
15. Rathbone - Break the Rule (Summer Version)
Never heard of New Orleans' Rathbone before? Neither had I, until I stumbled upon this summer version of his track, "Break the Rule." The vocals in falsetto, paired with this throw your hands in the air with a smile on your face dance party beat, are so much fun. The "oh yeah" samples drive home the indirect nods to Yello, but this is even more on point when paired with Gorillaz' "Feel Good, Inc."