If you’re anything like us, you’re probably overwhelmed by the sheer number of albums being released on a weekly basis.
Popdust’s new weekly column, Indie Roundup, finds the five best albums coming out each week so that you don’t have to. Every week, we’ll tell you what’s worth listening to that might not already be on your radar.
Lomelda is the project of Los Angeles singer-songwriter Hannah Read. Her fourth album, Hannah, expands on her knack for poignant folk-rock, driven by thrumming acoustic guitars and her piercingly evocative voice. Recorded at her brother’s studio in her East Texas hometown, Hannah sees Read expand on the lo-fi roots of her earlier releases, with each of the album’s 14 songs feeling at once full andt startlingly intimate. She references herself on multiple tracks (“Say somethin’ sweet soft as she sinks into me / Why can’t I speak / Come on Hannah, please,” she croons on the album’s closer), making Hannah Read’s most transparent work to date.
For fans of Big Thief, Phoebe Bridgers, and Lucy Dacus.
Mike Huguenor – X’ed
San Jose-based guitar mastermind Mike Huguenor isn’t new to the rock scene by any means. He’s been around the block performing alongside punk acts like Jeff Rosenstock, Hard Girls, and Shinobu, just to name a few. But on his ambitious solo debut, X’ed, Huguenor uses his guitar alone to evoke a myriad of emotions. Blending elements of punk, tropicalia, and krautrock, X’ed is an instrumental study in experimental rock that says a thousand words.
For fans of Swans and Bomb the Music Industry.
Barely Civil – I’ll Figure This Out
Like all of their peers, Wisconsin emo band Barely Civil are feeling the weight of quarantine blues. While much of their second album, I’ll Figure This Out, is a grandiose, sweeping collection of pop punk gems, its lyrics embody a difficult relationship with home: “I’ll find myself getting lost on my front lawn shaking fists at my neighbors,” goes a line on “Graves Avenue.”
Though many of the album’s tracks were written years ago, the “home” depicted in I’ll Figure This Out relates to that of life on lockdown—”home” is uncomfortable and stifling. As Barely Civic carry the record through countless peaks and valleys of powerhouse guitars, the band offers a sense of comfort to anyone else just trying to figure this out, too.
For fans of The World Is a Beautiful Place and I Am No Longer Afraid to Die, Prawn, and Into It. Over It.
Declan McKenna – Zeros
Declan McKenna isn’t here to make friends. After emerging in 2015 with his viral FIFA-bashing single “Brazil,” the young Londoner quickly became known as an outspoken representative of the leftist youth. His second album, Zeros, is a less direct condemnation of climate change deniers, religious leaders, and corporate greed, with lyrics that instead speak on these topics from what appears to be a post-apocalyptic parallel Earth that’s been spared from the impending doom of 2020. His idolization of ’70s glam rock heroes like Queen, David Bowie, and T. Rex is evident in rousing tracks like “Be an Astronaut” and “Beautiful Faces,” though the album as a whole carries an air of futuristic ideation. Either way, if you’re hoping for an escape from the present, Zeros is your one-way ticket (on a rocketship, probably).
For fans of Wallows, Post Animal, and HUNNY.
Corey Flood – Hanging Garden
Philadelphia trio Corey Flood describe their debut full-length album as “a reckoning with internal discord.” While Hanging Garden reads as a pleasant stream of folksy indie rock on first listen, the album bears a looming sense of anxiety and unease. Fuzzy guitars and tense drum fills drive the album as double-tracked vocals and dark lyrics swathe each song in contemplation. Quietly unnerving, Hanging Garden mimics the feeling of sitting in emptiness, with no choice but to let your own deepest thoughts envelop you.
For fans of the Breeders and Throwing Muses.