If you’re anything like us, you’re probably overwhelmed by the sheer number of albums being released on a weekly basis.
Popdust’s weekly column, Indie Roundup, finds the five best albums coming out each week so that you don’t have to. Every Friday, we’ll tell you what’s worth listening to that might not already be on your radar.
Dawes, Good Luck with Whatever
The seventh album from Dawes, Good Luck With Whatever, sees the Los Angeles indie veterans come to terms with impending aging while grasping for the last remaining memories of their youth. The album was recorded not long after frontman Taylor Goldsmith’s marriage to Mandy Moore and not long before the couple announced they were expecting their first child. Over rousing pianos and gang vocals, songs like “Still Feel Like a Kid” examine the strange coexistence between grown-up responsibilities and still finding the whimsy in life.
Still, it’s an alienating experience: On the closing “Me Especially,” Goldsmith howls, “Why am I the youngest guy my age? / Why am I still reading the same page? / I know it’s hard for everyone, but me especially.”
For fans of the Strumbellas, the Avett Brothers, and the Felice Brothers.
Laura Jane Grace, Stay Alive
As the singer of neo-punk mainstays Against Me!, Laura Jane Grace is by no means a newcomer to the rock world. On her first solo release under her name, Stay Alive, Grace takes a folksier approach. Having recorded the album during quarantine, her intent was to create something that would leave a lasting impact outside of the live streams that have come to take the place of live music.
“I wanted to make a record that was the antithesis of a Zoom call,” she told Rolling Stone. The raw sound calls to mind that of Against Me!’s early days when Grace was the sole member, though with the polish of a seasoned musician.
For fans of the Menzingers, AJJ, and Defiance, Ohio.
Bartees Strange, Live Forever
Just a few months after releasing a covers EP nodding to the National, one of his favorite bands, singer-songwriter Bartees Strange is putting himself on the map with his debut album, Live Forever. Now based in Washington, D.C., the musician felt a discouraging sense of isolation growing up in his homogenous Oklahoma hometown.
“It took me a long time to realize that I could build whatever world I wanted. I didn’t have to wait for someone to pick me,” Strange recently told Stereogum. “That was something that I never believed about myself until I made this record.” Live Forever is a jarring, evocative collection of idiosyncratic rock, drawing from his late-2000s indie influences as much as today’s contemporary experimentalists.
For fans of Metric, TV On the Radio, and Silversun Pickups.
On his seventh record in five years, the 25-year-old Shamir Bailey proves he still has no intention of slowing down any time soon. After rising to prominence with his 2014 party anthem “On the Regular,” Shamir is returning to pop music on his own terms.
“Essentially this record is the pop record that I always imagined for myself because it doesn’t compromise who I am as an artist in pop music,” Shamir recently told AnOther. “I think people look at what is popular right now in music and bring that into their sound.” As a result, the self-released Shamir is built with an authentically DIY aesthetic, letting the hooks and lyrics shine.
For fans of U.S. Girls, serpentwithfeet, and Let’s Eat Grandma.
Model Home, SE
Model Home is a Washington, D.C.-based duo composed of lyricist NAPPYNAPPA and producer Pay Cain, who have been putting out tons of music together over the past couple of years. SE is the young duo’s latest collection of mind-altering, glitchy avant-rap, bending the rules of what hip-hop can be. Over heavy distortion and unconventional beats, Model Home are just the most recent example of great hip-hop duos that challenge the status quo.
For fans of Madvillain and Death Grips.