Four Fantastic Indie Rock Albums So Far from 2018

Ally Waltemyer, Reporter

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Originating in the United Kingdom and the United States, indie rock has been protesting the dependency on record labels along with the political climate and singing about life’s rights, wrongs and minor inconveniences since the 1980’s. But what started 30 years ago with the Buzzcocks, R. E. M. and The Smiths has grown into much more with sub-genres within the sub-genre.

In today’s controversial political climate, indie songwriters have plenty of material. Here are four great indie rock albums so far from 2018.

 

The Wombats are a rock band from Liverpool, United Kingdom who released their fourth album, Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life, on Feb 9. [Photo by Sebastiaan ter Burg from Utrecht, The Netherlands via Wikimedia Commons.]

Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life by The Wombats

The Wombats have perfected the style of pairing dark and cynical lyrics with seemingly upbeat music. The greatest example of this album’s technique can be seen with the hit song, ‘Lemon to A Knife Fight,’ a song about being unprepared for a fight. The music video pictures a kidnapping that goes horribly wrong but is paired with ironically fast paced music.

“Beginning with the band’s signature jangly riffy guitar, there is a peppy melody to elevate the track as lead singer Matthew Murphy stretches his clear vocals up and down over intensely visual lyrics,” wrote Natalie Harmsen in an Atwood Magazine article. “It almost feels cinematic, as Murphy delivers a powerful and chilling description of colours and haunting imagery.”

The whole album is beautifully complicated, but some other stand out songs include “Turn,” “Cheetah Tongue,” and “Ice Cream.”

 

Ezra Furman is a gender queer indie artist who released a new album on Feb. 9. [Photo by By Paul Hudson from United Kingdom (Ezra Furman at Rough Trade) via Wikimedia Commons.]

Transangelic Exodus by Ezra Furman

From the psychedelic scene of indie rock comes Transangelic Exodus, an album based around a “queer outlaw saga.” With every song, singer Ezra Furman tells a story.

“I’m in love with an angel, and a government is after us, and we have to leave home because angels are illegal, as is harboring angels,” said Furman, according to a Billboard article by John Morris.

This complicated story is told with estranged lyrics accompanied with even stranger music that changes with each new chorus. Some of the music seems to draw inspiration from the past with a Springsteen guitar solo in “Suck The Blood From My Wound” to a 1950’s twang. Reviewers have even compared Furman’s style on this album as “Talking Heads-ish.”

 

The Portland, Oregon band Typhoon plays at a venue in Vancouver in 2014. Four years later, they released the album Offerings on Jan 12, 2018. [Photo By Orlandkurtenbach via Wikimedia Commons.]

Offering by Typhoon

After a four year hiatus, the band Typhoon blessed the world with an overtly ominous and dark album dealing with the theme of loss of meaning.

“Imagine yourself at the end of your life,” wrote the band on their official website. “Your once expansive mind now wrapped tightly, exclusively around the present moment, give or take a few seconds. Memories…dissolving now into the greater nothingness you strain with what’s left of your being toward one desperate thought: That somewhere in this jumble of pain and oblivion there is something essential; one simple truth that will pay for everything. You just have to remember it.”

The album is divided into four parts: “Floodplains,” “Flood,” “Reckoning,” and “Afterparty.” Each part is a representation of a man’s mental state as he realizes he is losing his memory, experiencing stress and devastation, then reaching acceptance to reveal his final gruesome fate. Typhoon uses the dark sound of the guitar, strings, and the eerie and emotional sound of Kyle Morton’s, the lead singer, voice to carry the story while making allusions to stories such as Flowers for Algernon to convey the meaning.

“This album of brilliant storytelling, clocking in at almost 2300 words, is worth dissecting and poring over,” wrote Bob Boilen in a NPR review. “…After listening to it, I texted my All Songs Considered co-host Robin Hilton the following: ‘good lord this Typhoon album is brilliant … haven’t cried listening to a record since [Sufjan Stevens’] Carrie And Lowell.’”

 

Jeff Rosestock is a famous name known in the indie world because he owns his own label and recently released the album POST- on Jan 1. [Photo by Cadwaladr, via Wikimedia Commons

POST- by Jeff Rosenstock

Jeff Rosenstock returns to the punk side of indie once again by delivering to his audience: POST-, an album fueled by anxiety, insecurity, anger, dissatisfaction and the other bummers of everyday life. But in addition to writing about his own problems, Rosenstock uses his power chords and angsty lyrics to pull a Green Day and denounce the current political climate like in the song “USA.”

“When ‘USA’ shifts around the midsection,” wrote David Anthony in an AV Club review article, “it establishes a theme that’s touched on in both the lyrics and music throughout POST-; this is an album that is chiefly concerned with losing hope in your country, yourself, and those around you.”

POST- can bring out the inner punk in anyone and is impossible not to head bang to.

“When Rosenstock starts to sing ‘We’re not gonna let them win, oh no’ during that final track, I feel like I’m 15 years old again,” reviewed Matthew Sigur in an article for The Advocate. “I have this music I relate to, blasting in my headphones, that I want to put on repeat until I know all the words.”

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Four Fantastic Indie Rock Albums So Far from 2018