The Guardian Indie

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  1. From unpromising beginnings, the indie band’s fifth album achieves an uncanny brilliance

    The list of mid-2000s indie bands that should have given up the ghost never stops growing. It’s hard to remember the last time that the Strokes, Interpol, Kings Of Leon or even Arcade Fire looked like they remembered why they got into this in the first place. Reading the press around Grizzly Bear’s new album, it’s tempting to suggest they should be cashing in their chips too.

    Having abandoned Brooklyn for upstate New York (co-frontman Daniel Rossen) and LA (the other three), they didn’t speak for a year after they finished touring 2012’s widely acclaimed album Shields. When bassist Chris Taylor’s pestering emails about a new record went unheeded, he started a cloud account for them to share ideas and taught himself guitar to get the ball rolling. Unsurprisingly, their fifth album didn’t take until fragments of the band met to write and they eventually started having fun. Roll on the making-of documentary.

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  2. (PIAS)

    It’s a depressing time to be alive, according to Ghostpoet. After years of heavy-hearted introspection, the twice Mercury-nominated Obaro Ejimiwe turns his gaze outwards on his fourth album, offering a sombre outlook on society with tracks such as the apocalyptic Karoshi (“stockpile food, panic button glued in place”) and harrowing Immigrant Boogie. There’s occasional soul-searching between the social commentary – Woe Is Meee, Ejimiwe’s second collaboration with Massive Attack’s Daddy G, is a bluesy highlight. Once again, Ejimiwe forgoes the disjointed electronic sounds of his first two records in favour of a hazy alt-rock backing, but he’s now at home in this style and his languid, sung-spoken monologues sound their most assured.

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  3. Silvertone

    “Anglo/Americana” they call it, this punch of diluted flavours: a teeny bit folky, a teeny bit country, a teeny, teeny bit blues-rocky. Really, it’s just MOR adult pop, and these two sisters and a cousin from Exeter are at their best when their three-part harmonies approach (from a distance) the gutsiness of Haim on Run, with its big, shameless heartbeat drums and hooky chorus. Less winning are the wafty Dove, with its off-the-peg alt-reverb, or the naff, stomping-Boudicca braggadocio of Warrior Daughter, weak chimeras of current stylings. Still, the swoop and swell of their voices together can’t help but please the ear, and they’ll likely go far.

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  4. In the last five years, members of Grizzly Bear have – among other things –campaigned to defeat Trump, retreated to the wilderness and interned at the world’s best restaurant. Somehow they’ve found time to make a new album

    ‘I used to have to clean three of these a day,” says Grizzly Bear’s Chris Taylor, pointing to the ox hearts set in front of us. “They’re huge, lots of silver skin and veins. It’s a 45 minute job, very intense.”

    Related:Grizzly Bear: Painted Ruins review – intricate chamber pop from a band shaking back to life

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  5. (Sub Pop)

    Despite having a title that suggests a new thrash metal direction, Sam Beam’s sixth album as Iron & Wine essays yet more romantic, Americana-tinged songwriting, and it’s cosier than ever. As Beam sings poetically in his goose-down voice, cadences resolve as contentedly as old married couples, even in songs of friction such as Bitter Truth. Call it Dreaming is the most robust thing here, and its emotional clarity – “For all the love you’ve left behind / you can have mine” – ensures it will soundtrack wedding photo slideshows for all eternity. But just as everything threatens to blur into a copper-coloured autumnal haze, Beam adds quirks to keep the beauty in sharp relief: the album’s most elegant vocal melody, on Last Night, is backed by the spartan, impetuous plink of violins and glockenspiel. These songs may be modest – none break the four-minute mark – and undemanding, but their sure-footed craft creates profound, 12-tog comfort.

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