Our favourite tracks from the month of June 2023, featuring: Blur, The Streets, The Skinner Brothers and more.
Welcome to the third edition of a blog which counts down the best new songs from the month that's just been.
In this article, we count down eight indie tracks worthy of attention from July 2023...
7. Cigarettes After Sex – 'Stop Waiting'
It’s easy to predict what a new Cigarettes After Sex song will sound like without actually listening! You can expect an enticing riff, luscious vocals from Greg Gonzalez as well as lyrics full of desire and yearning. And yet it’s a slowcore sound which can’t fail but win you over time and again. Their new one ‘Stop Waiting’ does exactly what you’d expect from a band whose streaming numbers are insane for one you’d still consider under the radar (only the 838 million listens on Spotify at the time of writing for 2017 single ‘Apocalypse’…).
6. James Blake – 'Big Hammer'
English singer James Blake returned with his first new music in two years with the release of ‘Big Hammer’ and the announcement of new album Playing Robots Into Heaven. His new one is incredible: an experimental club track with a chopped up dancehall sample. In fact you’d be forgiven for not instantly recognising it as a James Blake track – a far cry from his soulful and emotional hooks he’s made his name since his self-titled 2011 debut. A hectic four minute experience which can’t help but mesmerise and get you returning to the repeat button
5. Disclosure – ‘Higher Than Ever Before’
Can we call this tune "indie"? Definitely not but it was still an absolute banger. On Friday 14 July, brothers Guy and Howard Lawrence dropped fourth album Alchemy with only a few hours notice. Disclosure’s mammoth debut Settle celebrates ten years of existence this year and their new one re-establishes themselves as one of the hottest names in Dance. “This record is a celebration of us feeling liberated right now,” Guy would reveal in a statement. Alchemy is their first independently released record following their departure from Capitol Records and features no collaborations or samples. With the drum n bass inspired ‘Higher Than Ever Before’ being my hook after hearing it on 6Music on release day, it remains my favourite: a stunning piece of summery electronic music.
4. The Skinner Brothers – 'I’m Feeling It Now' ft. Jess Newby
Zack from The Skinner Brothers is never short of causing a Twitter storm with his forthright opinions on the current state of guitar music. But despite this rubbing people up the wrong way, its difficult to deny his band’s talent. I reviewed their debut album Soul Boy II last year and found it a refreshing listen full of grit and swagger. The new track, which features Newcastle singer Jess Newby, carries on the good work with a hooky effort which will make you make you feel that little bit taller and bolder.
3. Anthony Szmierek - 'The Words To Auld Lang Syne'
Anthony Szmierek is a spoken word and indie hip hop artist now suddenly gaining traction. BBC 6Music even featured new single ‘The Words To Auld Lang Syne’ as their best new music. His new song - which combines spoken word with a house beat – is described by the Manchester teacher as being about “not conforming to arbitrary dates and instead thinking about what really matters – your friends, your loved ones, and the moments of beauty you create alongside them”. If you were ever into Mike Skinner and The Streets older material, this is definitely one for you!
2. The Streets – 'Troubled Waters'
Speaking of The Streets, Mike Skinner announced earlier in the month that a new album called The Darker the Shadow, the Brighter the Light was on its way in October. The album will accompany a film of the same name, one said by The Streets rapper to be a “tripped out noir murder mystery based in London’s clubland”. The project is self-funded by Mike Skinner and sees him star and direct. The announcement also saw the release of ‘Troubled Waters’. The new single sounds like classic Mike Skinner; an ominous garage-rap track with The Streets man reflecting on past rivalries and mistakes (“It's part of human nature to hate the man you've hurt / You don't have to face up to how you ran him dirty”).
1. Blur – 'Barbaric'
Blur released their ninth studio album on 21 July, a record the critics were quick to pour overwhelming praise for its range of quality and mature melancholic songs. Third track ‘Barbaric’ is arguably the best of the tracks that we hadn’t heard prior to the albums release. It all begins with an industrial beat you could imagine hearing on a Joy Division record before moving in nostalgic jangly pop territory. An absolute delight of a track.
You can hear the above songs and more on our regularly updated Blinded By The Floodlights 2023 indie recommends playlist.