Each week, our staff consumes a ton of media (like: so much)—everything from the latest Netflix adds to our favorite new indie albums to the game we’ve been meaning to play for a year now. But because we listen and watch so much, we can’t always get to everything. Here, however, editors and writers from across our staff will share their listening recommendations in this column every week. Everything from every era is welcome, be it an album, song, playlist, podcast or some demo tapes your dad’s band recorded in college. This week, our collective playlist includes new indie-rock hits, some older indie-folk fare and a few of our favorite new summer listens. Now, more than ever, it’s important to share, to truly connect with people in a different way, and one way we can do that is through music. Here’s what our staff is listening to this week: May this music bring you a little dose of joy (or whatever it is you need) during another week in this new isolated world.
Shamir hath return, and the Philly artist sounds more at home in music than ever. “On My Own,” which premiered on Rolling Stone earlier in June in celebration of Pride month, wasn’t supposed to be a banger. Oops! It’s incredibly catchy and anthemic, despite being “originally written about the solace of being an introvert after a breakup, then morphing into an accidental quarantine anthem,” per a press release. Enormous synths and atmospheric drums kick off a summer heartbreak bop rivaling the peaks of Carly Rae Jepsen’s Dedicated. And lest we forget that Shamir’s rhyme game remains on fleek: “I used to think that love was fleeting / You’ll just end up hurt,” he sings. “But it’s a cosmic game of meetings / That may never work and I think / Maybe I deserve a little more.” I plan on keeping this song in rotation, not just for the melancholy hour, but all summer long. —Ellen Johnson
Leeds post-punk crew Fehlt dropped their debut single “Closure” last year, and its hypnotizing sulk has been on my mind ever since. Frontman Ewan Barr said he wrote the song after a long period of listening to Women, Iceage and Deerhunter, so he’s essentially speaking my language. It’s a gentle, gothic rock number, and it’s complete with otherworldly undertones thanks to Barr’s spacey, filtered vocals. The song’s lulling, machine-like pace will remind you just how infinitesimal you are, but it’s a realization of wonder—not fear, alienation or insignificance. —Lizzie Manno
I was so pleased to hear Kate Stables, aka This Is The Kit, is set to return with a new album this fall. If you were lucky enough to catch The National live in 2018 or 2019 touring their album I Am Easy To Find, you witnessed Stables’ soul-bearing vocal prowess. She also sings backup on the album. But fans of This Is The Kit have been privy to Stables’ abilities long before she began collaborating with indie-rock giants. Her debut album Krulle Bol arrived in 2010, but I’ve more recently been taken with 2017’s Moonshine Freeze, home to such majestic indie-folk ballads as “Bullet Proof,” “Easy on the Thieves” and “By My Demon Eye.” Old-time string-band elements mesh with modern-day indie-rock delivery like clockwork, making Moonshine Freeze a bewildering mix of Americana and roots-rock. It’s never very flashy, but that’s the beauty. I’ll be eagerly awaiting the new album Off Off On by listening to these beautiful songs. —Ellen Johnson
A few weeks ago, Purling Hiss frontman and Philadelphia singer/songwriter Mike Polizze announced his debut solo album Long Lost Solace Find, which he recorded with frequent collaborator Kurt Vile and producer Jeff Zeigler (The War On Drugs, Allison Crutchfield, Steve Gunn). Though Purling Hiss are known for their blistering lo-fi distortion, Polizze channels significantly mellower sounds with this acoustic solo album. If you’re a fan of Vile’s downtempo drawl and calming ballads, you’ll be all over “Cheewawa.” It’s the sound of floating in a pool inner tube with your eyes closed on a sun-kissed afternoon—you have no idea what time it is or whether you’re sunburnt, and you don’t care. —Lizzie Manno