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12 New Indie Songs For Your Summer Playlists

You needed some new tunes, right?

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1. Wolf Alice, "You're A Germ"

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This whole song is built like a roller coaster, but the bit where Ellie Rowsell shouts “1! 2! 3! 4! 5! 6! 7!!!” before launching into the chorus is the part of the ride where you get to the very top before plunging down the other side. It’s such a rush, every time.

2. No Joy, "Everything New"

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Before their new album More Faithful, the Montreal quartet No Joy were a pretty standard shoegaze band. This time around, they’ve stepped up their game considerably, and tracks like “Everything New” have a dimension, delicacy, and beauty that transcends their genre.

3. Teen Girl Scientist Monthly, "Games"

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Teen Girl Scientist Monthly have their roots in hyperactive twee indie pop, but with new songs like “Games,” they’ve found a way to sharpen their edges. “Games” has a charming, playful melody that’s framed by tight, tense rhythms, and that contrast is echoed in the lyrics, which conflate sexual passion with violent hunger.

4. Gardens & Villa "Fixations"

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This sounds a bit like Tame Impala trying to do a Warm Jets/Tiger Mountain-era Brian Eno song, but the arrangement is richer than either. It’s basically a song about inspiration, and trying to resist anything that could compromise your creativity.

5. Destroyer, "Dream Lover"

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Dan Bejar is an old veteran of indie rock, with nearly a dozen records as Destroyer under his belt, not to mention his work as a key member of The New Pornographers over the past 15 years. “Dream Lover,” the first single from the forthcoming Poison Season, is classic Bejar – casually glam and anthemic, but also effortlessly erudite and clever.

6. Beach House, "Sparks"

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Beach House’s music tends to be rather chilled out and spacey, but “Sparks,” the first single from their upcoming record Depression Cherry, is actually quite abrasive. There’s loud, ugly noise throughout the track, but don’t worry – there’s still a pretty, mellow Beach House underneath it all. It’s just been scuffed-up in an interesting way.

7. The Mynabirds, "Semantics"

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Laura Burhenn is a restless talent, and her three albums as the singer and songwriter of The Mynabirds all have very different tones. Lovers Know, out in August, is Burhenn’s version of a glossy, synth-rock record. “Semantics,” the lead single, is essentially a mature, lucid appraisal of a difficult relationship set to a song that starts out rather tense, but builds to a cathartic peak.

8. Bed Rugs, "Specks"

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This Belgian band specialize in stoned psychedelia, and even when they ground themselves with hard riffs and Beatlesesque melodies, the music feels like it’s floating out into the cosmos.

9. Ratboys, "MCMXIV"

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“MCMXIV” is a travelogue song, with Julia Steiner jotting down bits of experiences and observations in a trip through the midwest. It doesn’t really add up to a coherent narrative, but there’s an emotional through line in the chorus – “I had no idea what to think about you / you had no idea how much I needed you.” The whole song is built around that sort of confusion, of knowing a feeling is incredibly powerful and important, but not really having a sense of what that feeling actually is.

10. Damaged Bug, "The Mirror"

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Damaged Bug is John Dwyer from Thee Oh Sees, and the main difference between the two bands is that in Damaged Bug, he’s playing synthesizers instead of guitars. Dwyer’s melodic and rhythmic sensibility is still the same, but with keyboards as his main instrument, he veers off into futuristic rock sounds pioneered by the Silver Apples in the ‘60s and Can in the ‘70s.

11. Deradoorian, "A Beautiful Woman"

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Angel Deradoorian is best known as a singer in Dirty Projectors and a member of Avey Tare’s Slasher Flicks, but she’s a talented songwriter in her own right. “A Beautiful Woman,” the first single from her forthcoming The Expanding Flower Planet, is a moody, highly rhythmic tune that perfectly frames her gorgeous singing voice.

12. Astronauts, Etc, "No Justice"

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“No Justice” is somewhere in the middle of the continuum between ‘70s quiet storm R&B and ’00s post-Beach House indie music: It’s all rather sultry and tonally rich, but the romance is expressed mainly in a guitar tone that’s derived from ‘80s new wave. It’s a very romantic sound, and implies a lot of heavy emotions while taking up very little space in the mix.

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