Indie Current is an independent music blog and YouTube collective with a profound passion for all things music. We are a hard-working team of writers and music enthusiasts from around the world who are dedicated to uncovering the best independent music. They keep you connected to the independent music scene.
South London’s Arlo Parks is the newest in a sea of promising young R&B talents, but her striking sound has already drawn favor from the likes of Lily Allen. “She’s from Hammersmith–same as me… Honestly, this song just knocked me off my feet,” Allen praised in a BBC Radio 1 interview back in April after hearing Parks’ “Cola.” The 18 year-old taps into a rare vulnerability and painful honest, writing about love and identity-forming through her lens as a bisexual, Black woman.
Each single so far contains its own type of magic, but “george” is easily the most delicious track Arlo Parks has produced to date. Darker in demeanor and boasting a newfound swaggering, rhythm, Arlo Parks opens up “george” track with the line: “I’m so sick of being down and watching you get arrested.” Her lyrics continue in a similar fashion–simple, poignant and effortlessly poetic–tracing the sensation one feels once reminded of a toxic love. Arlo Parks treads through the uneasiness with perfect grace; you can hear the outline of a smile when she sings the hook, “I know that you’ve been here.” Listen.
Brooklyn solo musician Jachary returns just in time for spring with another round of funky, heartfelt tunes. Poised to be self-released later this summer, the ten-track Loops of Life LP builds upon the aesthetic Jachary so confidently presented in 2017 with his thrilling debut record There’s A Virus Going On. Spastic rhythms and bombastic beats are met with outrageous, innovative electronics, all at the whim and will of Jachary’s loose, unpredictable flow.
We’re ecstatic to premiere the lead single from Jachary’s new project, the first song on Loops of Life: “Raincheck”. The new Jachary is a ceaselessly exuberant pop-rock jam, nearly rebellious in its defiant outpouring of optimism. Elsewhere on the new LP, the producer and singer-songwriter is less straightforward and much more challenging with his ideas, but the intention remains the same. “‘Raincheck’ is a simple song about relationships and was very therapeutic for me to record,” Jachary said in an email statement about the single, “I’m trying to take confusing emotions around life circumstances and convert them into really digestible bangers.”
Puerto Rican genderqueer musician Xango/Suave returns from a brief hiatus following their 2017 LP, Equis, with a track and video under a new moniker: Bebé Machete. While continuing to pay tribute to their ancestral past, the name change might indicate a subtle shift in the solo artist’s process. Bebé Machete’s liberating explorations of salsa, jazz, bedroom pop and experimental rock were largely independent undertakings, rarely challenging one another. But on the lead single from their forthcoming album for Funnybone Records, Bebé Machete pulls out all the stops–distilling the vastness of their experience and style into one outrageous song.
“Ghazal” picks up like a lullaby, Bebé’s soothing baritone vocals leading gracefully into a mid-tempo jazz-folk arrangement. The track’s intensity waxes and wanes with relative ease, switching often between Spanish and English-sung verses before falling into a random swell of uptempo funk. The overall effect is disorienting and strange, closer to the form of two or three individual tracks, but here the stylistic oddity works. In previous songs as Xango/Suave, they wrote about queerness being at odds with whiteness, anti-colonialism at odds with American nationalism–and you can hear it on “Ghazal”. The disjointed, unconventional flow draws us in and leaves us wanting more.
We’re positively stoked to premiere the track and video, directed by Kelsey Sharpe and Mobey Irizarry. Watch it above!
There’s more to Jon Bryant‘s new album, Cult Classic, then just its name. Inspired by Bryant’s own experiences with a cult (NXIVM), the album is as a much a cautionary tale as it is a reminder of our desire to belong. Slated for release on May 17th via Nettwerk Music Group, it marks the fourth full-length release for the Halifax-born musician, who spent the better part of two years writing the new album between Nova Scotia, Seattle, Los Angeles, Australia and his current home of Vancouver.
Following the release of the album’s lead singles, “Cultivated” and “Did What I Did,” Bryant returns with the third glimpse of his new record in “Ya Ya Ya Ya.” Where his two previous releases espoused a cinematic quality, this latest single finds Bryant opting for a more feel-good sound. With its low-slung beat and playful melody, it finds a balanced mix between pop, rock, folk and jazz, calling to mind the work of Electric Guest and Broken Bells.
Speaking of the new single, Bryant had this to say: “There comes a time in all relationships where communication breaks down and seemingly harmless situations become straining. Sometimes these small vessels of chaos result in disaster. We develop auto-responses to deal with these awkward moments all the while allowing the monster to devour whatever good is left of the relationship. We long for the old days, before the chaos when it was so easy and passionate… a cherished memory now fading into extinction as ‘real life’ locks in. ‘Ya Ya Ya Ya’ is a reminder to talk things through out loud before shit hits the fan.”
Five-piece ensemble Bells Atlas shared “Belly”, the lead single to their forthcoming album the mystic, just last month, and it quickly became one of our favorite tracks of the year so far. Nigerian-American lead singer Sandra Lawson-Ndu lends a frantic, nerve-wracked cool to the playful dance hit, carving out a unique space for the band to flourish.
Geographically sequestered from R&B hubs like Chicago and New York, Oakland might provide the isolation necessary for creating truly fresh, original music. And while traces of psych-fusion acts like Crumb, Grizzly Bear, Tame Impala and Hiatus Kaiyote remain on their brilliant new record, the ingenious art-rock savants of Bells Atlas firmly occupy a lane of their own.
We’re positively thrilled to premiere the new Bells Atlas single “The Khamsa”, another offering from the mystic before it drops on April 19th via Tender Loving Empire. The forthcoming full-length plays as a sci-fantasy, where two first-generation Nigerian-American women confront a mental health diagnosis. The stuttering, avant-garde funk of “The Khamsa” might be a meditation on the importance of controlling our perceived realities. Listen below.
Read a quote from Bells Atlas’ Sandra Lawson-Ndu:
“The Khamsa drifts between images of dreams, spirituality, and imagination, and the space they share in connection with the intangible. Who’s to say what’s true? This song is about making space for each other’s beliefs and being open to varied lenses of experience.
I often use the word magic, and sometimes I sit with Tarot as a way to organize my thoughts. I think that some of the closest people in my life are truth-seers. The surrealist writings of Akwaeke Emezi and the sci-fi fantasy of Octavia Butler sometimes provide the clearest, most beautiful ways for me to process what’s going on in my life. Again, who’s to say what’s true and how truth manifests.”
Watch the striking music video for “Belly”, directed by Max Taeuschel, below.
Bells Atlas - Belly (Official Music Video) - YouTube
Brooklyn solo artist Ashni first discovered her passion for music as a student of classical piano and North Indian Kathak dance. Marrying these distinct influences in a similar practice to cosmopolitan, cross-pollinating musicians like Alice Coltrane and Arthur Russell (whose use of eastern theory and drone music helped introduce foreign, forward-thinking concepts to pop), Ashni released her sweeping spiritual jazz mantra “Weave” back in 2017. Ashni uses a wavering drone on “Weave” to elicit meditation and calm, while her voice and piano playing usher us into a state of bliss.
The first-generation Indian-American musician revisits the track through a newly released music video directed by Remy Fink. In an email, Ashni shed light on the powerful, female-focused imagery: “The video highlights community–women of color in particular–to explore the self, the systems we are raised in and how we communicate within, across, and in spite of them.”
Ashni | Weave - YouTube
Casting the video with close personal friends, Ashni also managed to put her person touch on these new visuals by co-choreographing movements with Candace Taylor and editing the final product with Shravya Kag. Watch the stunning visuals above.
The last offering from singer-songwriter and beat maker Alem Worldwide was the glittery synth-pop ballad “Goodnight,” which tapped into lo-fi R&B aesthetic of acts like Homeshake and ABRA. The Brooklyn-based musician sheds skin on her latest project, NOBLE ELECTRIC ALI BEY, focusing on an alternate side of her artistry with a sprawling beat tape. Featuring rapper-producer Pink Siifu on one of its five tracks, the newly premiered instrumental EP glides through dub, electro, dream-pop, chillwave and celestial beat music.
Paying homage to the medium’s history, NOBLE ELECTRIC ALI BEY is fuzzy, imperfect and, consequently, timeless–produced to sound like a diamond-in-the-rough gem from the golden era of cassette tapes. And while considerably weirder than her previous one-off singles, this new style comes with a maturity and fearlessness that’s absolutely refreshing. One can only hope these sonic experiments will inevitably be paired with Alem Worldwide’s own imposing voice.
Formerly known as Your Gay Thoughts, Slovenian electronic jazz and trip-hop trio YGT are poised to release their new album and accompanying film Sinking Ship tomorrow, February 15. We’re thrilled to premiere “Paradoxical Relaxation,” a new track from the forthcoming album, in anticipation of Friday’s release. The most recent YGT effort fuses analogue rock arrangements with roiling electronics that at once resemble the guitar atmospherics of Tycho and the progressive beat music of Shigeto and Shlohmo. Listen.
Read a statement from YGT’s Gregij Kocijančič about the ephemeral, meditative genesis of their new song “Paradoxical Relaxation”.
I was writing the song during summer of 2017, completely zoned out from heavy painkillers while dealing with a nasty chronic disease at the time. During those days, I was reading about a method of relief called “paradoxical relaxation” that would help me deal with the chronic pain I was facing. The method is two sided because I was supposed to relax my body by actively not trying to relax it. I only had to focus on observing the feelings within my body while avoiding all verbal thought, so the process is meditative; I could only relax if there were no words running through my mind.
After I recorded the bassline (which I constructed from pitched down vocals of one of my favorite Portuguese singers), I started tracking the vocals, all while trying to “paradoxically relax”. Actively trying not to have any words running through my head, I would sing and record what lyrics did manage to spontaneously run through my mind. The lyrics consequently don’t make much sense so I buried them with tons of reverb, but they still have meaning to me, because soon after this song was finished I managed to defeat the disease, at least for now.
Any devout fan of Melbourne, Australia’s acclaimed experimental soul outfit Hiatus Kaiyote will surely share a deep emotional connection to the solo music of drummer Clever Austin (aka Perrin Moss). Over the past seven years–in between studio sessions and international tours with the band–the self-taught musician and electronic producer has released four mixtapes of brilliant instrumental music, expanding upon the ethereal, more experimental side of Hiatus Kaiyote.
Last week, Clever Austin announced his debut album, Pareidolia, with a brand new single featuring soul artist on-the-rise Jon Bap. Bap’s own productions and solo tracks closely mirror the jazz-addled rhythms and broken beat flow of Clever Austin’s current sound–so this collaboration is one for the ages. The forthcoming full-length, due out March 15 via Wondercore Island, will also feature rapper-producer-vocalistGeorgia Anne Muldrow and local Melbourne artists CAZEAUX OSLO and Laneous.
Following a four-track collaborative EP with producer and singer-songwriter Nelson Bandela, rapper Nappy Nina made a proper return last week with her new album The Tree Act. The thirteen-track record is the biggest undertaking yet from the Oakland, California transplant, who moved to Brooklyn several years back to jump start her career in rap.
Nappy Nina’s newest effort culls outside production and vocal talents from a wide range of collaborators she’s worked with in the past. Beatmakers Abhs, Stas Thee Boss, and Norvis Junior (aka Nelson Bandela) have all been supplying the skilled MC with fodder for inspiration since her debut effort Naptime dropped in 2015. Pink Siifu, Melanie Charles, Benjamin Earl Turner and J Hoard also make guest appearances on the exceptional new LP. The high-powered chemistry between Nina and co. make the cast of The Tree Act appear less as players and more like family members.
The Tree Act opens with Nappy Nina brashly unafraid to make herself vulnerable and expose her realest insecurities on “Might Not Make It.” She takes a particularly uncomfortable thought (like her potential failure to succeed as an artist) and flips the negative energy into something constructive enough to resemble a song. And it bumps! Elsewhere on the album Nina deconstructs what it is to be black and queer in Brooklyn while navigating the precarious, quickly changing landscape of marijuana that unjustly persecutes people of color.