The opening seconds of Harmony Woods’ new album Make Yourself at Home sound like Phoebe Bridgers singing over dreamy s/t-era Bon Iver guitar, while the second track sees her pivot to the rogue, monotone bass lines and shimmering guitars of Midwest emo acts like The World Is a Beautiful Place. As things progress, it becomes increasingly clear that both camps have provided an equal amount of guidance for Sofia Verbilla’s sophomore album under the moniker—even borrowing the sheet-ghost figure from Bridgers’ Stranger in the Alps for her own cover for the single “Ghosts,” not to mention TWIABP producer Chris Teti.
Although Home is set for release via Midwest emo hub Skeletal Lightning, Verbilla’s idea of the perfect song leans further in the direction of Bon Iver–offshoot indie rock, matching the emotional intensity of the emo tradition with the genreless songwriting techniques of whatever constitutes the term “indie” these days. Pulling from the somber chamber pop of The National, the shouty punk of Mannequin Pussy, and the unbridled ebullience of Lizzo, the perfect song for Verbilla apparently involves quite the gut punch.
Make Yourself at Home is out October 4 on Skeletal Lightning. You can pre-order it here.
Paramore, “That’s What You Get”
This song has been the ultimate bop since I was in fourth grade and it will never cease to be the ultimate bop. Can you believe this song invented the percussion instrument known as the “triangle”? I sure can!
Mannequin Pussy, “Drunk II”
I didn’t listen to this record until recently because I’m terrible at keeping up with new music (there is literally so much stuff all of the time), but this track messed me up in all the best ways. A song doesn’t have to be lowkey and quiet in order to be vulnerable; screaming your head off is just as valid.
boygenius, “Me & My Dog”
Whoever said there can be too much of a good thing has never listened to this supergroup. Perfect song, perfect EP, perfect band.
Mitski, “I Don’t Smoke”
You already know.
Land of Talk, “It’s Okay”
I feel like this song was kinda before its time, which just makes me appreciate it even more. One time a few years ago, my friend Jowan and I both recorded lo-fi covers of this song at pretty much the same time without telling each other. That’s the power of indie rock friendship!
Lizzo, “Cuz I Love You”
I don’t listen to much hardcore, but I imagine how I feel when I hear the beginning of this song is how hardcore kids feel when breakdowns happen. So sick.
Michelle Branch, “Breathe”
I wish everyone on Earth magically forgot about this song so that I could claim that I wrote it, like in that silly Beatles movie.
The National, “The Pull of You”
A few months ago I got so burnt out with music to the point where literally the only band I could listen to was The National. That sounds really dark but it was actually kinda nice! This band is everything I wanna be when I grow up and more.
Arcade Fire, “Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)”
This is my favorite Arcade Fire song by far, which is actually kind of a bummer cause none of their other songs sound like this (I think? I haven’t heard any new Arcade Fire since Reflektor). Perfect, lovely synth poppy goodness.
Here’s your lil’ reminder that Lorde was only sixteen when she changed the sound of modern pop music forever. That being said, as much as I love Pure Heroine, I’m a maximalist at heart and Melodrama crushes my soul like no other record (especially this track). Ugh.