The once bountiful sunlight of spring and summer is now dwindling, and now it will be nearly absent from your life until March so that farmers can continue to not use alarm clocks unabated. It’s as tragic as it is horrifying, and seemingly there is nothing you can do to stop the impending darkness. Before you consider doing something drastic like waking up at 4 a.m. to get some extra rays like a deranged lunatic, you might want to delve into a new fad sweeping the nation called ‘music.’ Music has been scientifically proven to improve moods and increase stamina, which are two aspects of your life that aren’t up to par even during the warmer months. Without further ado, here are eight songs that might help you feel less like you have a vitamin D deficiency.
MGMT “Mother Nature”
In case you haven’t already heard from your most stoned friend, MGMT announced a new record “Loss of Life,” their first since 2018’s return-to-form “Little Dark Age.” Its lead single “Mother Nature” is their most straightforward stab at indie-pop since their nearly twenty-year-old debut album. This is not to say their style has been watered down, however. The production still offers a bevy of psychedelic fuckery to shock and confuse, leading your aforementioned stoner friend to say things like “woah… the strings are like… real melty dude.”
Cloud Nothings “Final Summer”
Never ones to shy away from experimentation, Dylan Baldi’s indie outfit Cloud Nothings runs the gamut of punk stylings from powerpop to hardcore. Their latest single, “Final Summer,” finds them treading into the land of psych-rock, blending soaring synths with droning guitar work and a catchy – as always – vocal hook nestled firmly in between the aforementioned swirling layers. If you want people to actually come to your shows this winter, take a page out of Cloud Nothings’ book and change things up every once in a while, you coward.
Fucked Up “Spot The Difference”
Twenty-two years into their storied career, Canada’s Fucked Up still sound like they’re just getting started. Their latest single ‘Spot The Difference’ combines their penchant for cathartic scream-along choruses with some serious early Clash-inspired guitars, keeping in theme with their previous single ‘Show Friends’ and proving that the old can always be made vibrantly new again. Before it inspires you to call up your former bandmates, try to remember that you still owe them thousands of dollars and reconsider the gesture.
Natural Sway “Ey You!”
As an infinitely evolving recording project for songwriter and Ohio Indie institution Ryan Eilbeck, Natural Sway has taken on forms as vast as Eilbeck’s hooks are endearing. From experimental drum-machine based solo iterations to full ensemble triumphs, the project seemingly has no shortage of avenues to explore. Its latest album, ‘& The Squished Lilies’ veers toward the latter as a bevy of musicians paints each dreamy arrangement with a warm Midwestern glow. Album highlight “Ey You!” showcases Eilbeck’s inimitable skill for structuring earworm choruses that burrow deep in your already damaged psyche.
Sloppy Jane “Cancer (My Chemical Romance Cover)”
As an inaugural signee of Saddest Factory Records, a label imprint started by the group’s former bassist Phoebe Bridgers, Sloppy Jane has been making their mark with intensely theatrical chamber-pop that brushes up against the world of shock-rock thanks to bandleader Haley Dahl’s inspired performances. Now, they are tackling the white whale of theater nerd indie rock with a cover of My Chemical Romance’s ‘Black Parade’ track ‘Cancer.’ It’s a bold move, but it seems to pay off, as the group manages to inject even more drama into an already devastating arrangement.
Marnie Stern “Earth Eater”
Math-rock legend and one of Rolling Stone’s ‘250 greatest guitarists of all time’ Marnie Stern has just released her fifth studio LP ‘The Comeback Kid,’ her first in a decade. Album highlight ‘Earth Eater’ showcases her frenetic arrangement style as she launches riff after dizzying riff, daring the backing band to keep up with her chaotic twists and time signature changes. Imagine if your failed ‘prog rock’ band had actual talent and the ability to count bars, and you’ll be somewhere in the arena here.
Mannequin Pussy “I Don’t Know You”
In case you missed it, Mannequin Pussy announced their follow-up to 2019’s firestarter of an album ‘Patience.’ The new record ‘I Got Heaven’ is due in March, and the recently shared shoegaze leaning ‘I Don’t Know You’ suggests that the group is steadfast on expanding their already massive sound. Atop a blissed out and droney soundscape, lead singer Marisa Dabice details a developing crush on a passerby, lamenting the fact that she may never cross paths with the stranger again. It’s a relatable concept, but you should be warned that it is not an endorsement for texting your ex again.
Cheekface “Largest Muscle”
Admittedly, Cheekface’s lead singer Greg Katz isn’t sure the heart is actually the largest muscle in a human body as the opening lyric of this song suggests. To stay on the safe side, he also gives several other organs the distinction. Still, the lack of anatomical correctness here shouldn’t stop you from enjoying this deliriously fun Cake meets Talking Heads romp. ‘Largest Muscle’ puts Katz’s wry speak-sing lyricism on full display, tackling personality flaws in a subject you might see yourself in if you had the will to practice self-awareness for even a second.
Were you aware that these songs are included on an official Hard Times playlist? Did you also know that we update it weekly? Click here to like, follow, and never worry about running out of relevant jams again.