by Henry Strickland
Listen, I know that the label “Indie Rock” is about as helpful as a retail employee exactly 0.03 seconds after the store closes. But seeing as these bands really are independent and really do rock, here are three new singles from some of my favorite artists, each of which has a new album out now or in the works.
Screaming Females – “I’ll Make You Sorry”
This New Jersey-based indie rock outfit, renowned for their excellent musicianship and high-energy live performances, recently released their seventh record, All at Once. Whereas I can barely get through “Smoke on the Water” without having an emotional breakdown, front-woman Marissa Paternoster belts out ferociously powerful vocals while shredding riffs catchier than a Carly Rae Jepsen chorus (some of the highest praise I can possibly give). This is easily my favorite song on their latest album, with a punchy bass line, tight drum fills, and a killer guitar solo to boot. When it comes to good, honest, cage-free and whole-grain rock n’ roll, what more could you ask for?
Courtney Barnett – “Nameless, Faceless”
This latest single comes from Barnett’s upcoming album Tell Me How You Really Feel. It marks a substantial departure from the more subdued singer/songwriter approach she took to Lotta Sea Lice, the collaborative album that she released with Kurt Vile last year. The song brings back the more abrasive, chaotic sound of Barnett’s best solo work (such as the stellar “Pedestrian at Best”), which makes sense, given that this single is an outlet for Barnett’s frustration with having to defend herself in everyday situations against men who react violently to being emasculated. Barnett has a knack for conveying potent, emotionally charged imagery through her songwriting, and the striking visual of clutching her car keys as a makeshift weapon to fend off male pursuers is no exception.
Parquet Courts – “Almost Had to Start a Fight / In and Out of Patience”
As fate would have it, we have another excellent single from a forthcoming album (Wide Awake!) which is set to come out on the same day as Barnett’s LP: May 18th. Beloved within the indie rock scene for their unique “Americana-punk” sound, Parquet Courts excels at capturing the oddities and frustrations of living in present-day America. This track continues the trend, describing the despondent nihilism we’ve turned to as a national coping mechanism for the aptly termed “chaos dimension” we live in. Until we find ourselves a government that isn’t run entirely by corporate interests, at least we’ll have some catchy tunes to help pass the time.