Indie Music is So 80s: Part 3

So a little over three years ago I wrote a post detailing how I thought “indie” music was becoming very synth heavy and coming to resemble the musical aesthetic of the 1980s. In that post (written in October 2012) I joked that maybe Taylor Swift would start using a synth! I’m not claiming to be prophetic, but this is clearly a trend. Then a year after that I wrote “Part 2” where I included links to some synth heavy indie bands I was enjoying at that time. Well it’s been two years since so I thought I would do a Part 3! Below are bands/songs that I’ve discovered in the past two years that stay true to their 80s/hipster aesthetic:

Seasons” by Future Islands

Bulletproof Girl” by Letting Up Despite Great Faults

Diamond Mine” by Pillar Point

Scotty” by Pure Bathing Culture

Golden House” by The Bilinda Butchers

Falling in Love” by Crystal Bats

Memories of the Future” by Handsome Furs

Stumble Back on You” by The Limousines

I Want You Now and Always” by Ice Choir

I Wanna Take You Out” by Part Time

Close Your Eyes” by Bora York

Idea of Happiness” by Van She

Fifteen” by Goldroom, featuring Cheia

Dopamine” by DIIV

San Narciso” by Faded Paper Figures

To The Lighthouse” by Memoryhouse

Faces” by Electric Youth

Never a Woman” by White Sea

That Feeling” by DIANA

I Owe You This” by Chad Valley & Twin Shadow

If It’s True” by Tiny Fireflies

Dream About Me” by The Depreciation Guild

Kaputt” by Destroyer




Indie Bands With Female Singers, Part 2

About two years ago I wrote a post detailing all of my favorite indie bands with females singers. Since then I’ve discovered many new bands (and recalled several obvious bands that should have been on the first list). Below is a new list with indie bands (not listed on the first post) with female singers:

Annie Clark as St. Vincent: “Rattlesnake

Monica Birkenes as Mr. Little Jeans: “Fool 4 You

Laetitia Sadier of Stereolab: “French Disko

Karen Orzolek of The Yeah Yeah Yeahs: “Maps

Maja Ivarsson of The Sounds: “Song With A Mission

Carah Charnow of Shiny Toy Guns: “Speaking Japanese

Amelia Meath of Sylvan Esso: “Coffee

Sadie Dupuis of Speedy Ortiz: “American Horror

Emily Kokal and Theresa Wayman of Warpaint: “Biggy

Merrill Garbus of Tune-Yards: “Gangsta

Hannah Reid of London Grammar: “Strong

Nicole Yun of Eternal Summers: “Gold and Stone

Mary Timony of Ex Hex: “How You Got That Girl

Lindsey Minton of Football, Etc: “Goal

Caithlin De Marrais of Rainer Maria: “Atlantic

Laura Stevenson: “L-Dopa

Mackenzie Scott as Torres: “November Baby

Meredith Graves of Perfect Pussy: “Big Stars

Danielle Sullivan of Wild Ones: “Rivals

Casey Dienel as White Hinterland: “Ring the Bell

Ann Yu of Silver Swans: “Solace

Amber Papini of Hospitality: “Eighth Avenue

Lisa Lobsinger of Reverie Sound Revue: “Arrows

Phaedra & Elsa Green as The Casket Girls: “Ashes and Embers

Natalia Rogovin of Social Studies: “Charioteers

Brenda Malvini of North Highlands: “Steady Steady

Sarah Versprille of Pure Bathing Culture: “Scotty

Casey and Jennifer Mecija of Ohbijou: “The Otherside

Sarah Hall of Let’s Buy Happiness: “Six Wolves

Danielle “Danz” Johnson as Computer Magic: “Electronic Fences

Monica Martin of PHOX: “Slow Motion

Meghan Remy as U.S. Girls: “Damn That Valley

Katy Goodman of La Sera: “10 Headed Goat Wizard

Bobbie Allen as Young Summer: “Waves That Rolled You Under



Indie Music Is So 80s: Part 2

Read my first post and Part 3 on how indie music sounds like 80s music.

So 14 months ago I wrote about how I though the aesthetic of 80s music was “invading” modern indie music. Well I think the invasion is complete. Trust me, I’m not complaining, as my top tracks of 2013 is full of music that is clearly influenced by the sounds of the 80s.

Since my previous post was written in October of 2012, there’s a lot of music that’s been released since then, and I though I’d go through some of that music. If you like indie music with an 80s tinge, check out some of the bands below. Many of the bands appeared on my previous list, but these are new songs from 2013!

Whitby” by The Octopus Project

It’s a War” by Blackbird Blackbird

While I’m Alive” by STRFKR

So Strange” by Superhumanoids

Replicants” by MillionYoung

Closer Than This” by St. Lucia

Mosaic” by Fear of Men

In Vertigo” by Beach Fossils

A Dancing Shell” by Wild Nothing

Still Left With Me” by Craft Spells

No Stranger” by Small Black

Pretty Boy” by Young Galaxy

Oostende” by Keep Shelly in Athens

All I Wanna Do Is Live” by Flaamingos

The Mother We Share” by CHVRCHES

Indie Bands With Female Singers

Check out Part 2!

Many of my favorite indie bands have female singers, and I tend to prefer them over male leads. No real reason why, I just do. Maybe it’s because I grew up on classic rock, which is mostly devoid of female singers? Regardless, I’d like to share some of my favorite female indie singers with you, and give you a sample of their talent. This isn’t an exhaustive list of indie bands with female singers, nor is it a “best of” list in any way. It’s just a sample of the many great indie bands out there with female leads.

Sarah Barthel of Phantogram: “When I’m Small

Channy Leaneagh of Polica: “Amongster

Claire Boucher as Grimes: “Genesis

Alexis Krauss of Sleigh Bells: “Rill Rill

Yukimi Nagano of Little Dragon: “Ritual Union

Frankie Rose as herself: “Know Me

Jenn Wasner of Wye Oak and Dungeonesse: “Civilian” & “Shucks

Emily Haines of Metric: “Breathing Underwater

Megan James of Purity Ring: “Fineshrine

Samantha Urbani of Friends: “Friend Crush

Elena Tonra of Daughter: “Candles (Live)

Caroline Polachek of Chairlift: “I Belong In Your Arms

Natasha Khan of Bat For Lashes: “Horses of the Sun

Suzanne Aztoria of Trailer Trash Tracys: “You Wish You Were Red

Denise Nouvion of Memoryhouse: “The Kids Were Wrong

Molly Hamilton of Widowspeak: “Gun Shy

Victoria Legrand of Beach House: “Lazuli

Jana Hunter of Lower Dens: “I Get Nervous

Alaina Moore of Tennis: “Origins

Jonna Lee of iamamiwhoami: “; John

Sarah Chernoff of Superhumanoids: “Palm Springs

Chan Marshall as Cat Power: Ruin

Santi White of Santigold: “The Keepers

Jessica Weiss of Fear of Men: “Mosaic

Aleksa Palladino of Exitmusic: “The Night

Kristin Gundred of Dum Dum Girls: “Lord Knows

Jasmine White-Glutz of No Joy: “Lunar Phobia

Patience Hodgson of The Grates: “Turn Me On

Alejandra Deheza of School of Seven Bells: “Windstorm

Andrea Estella of Twin Sister: “Lady Daydream

Lauren Mayberry of CHVRCHES: “Recover

Chloe Chaidez of Kitten: “Cut it Out

Katie Harkin of Sky Larkin: “Motto

My Top Songs of 2013

My Top 10 Songs of 2013 (In No Particular Order)

Oostende” by Keep Shelly in Athens

Black Out Days” by Phantogram

Ironworks” by Baths

Hit Me Up Again” by Summer Hearts

Shucks” by Dungeonesse

A Dancing Shell” by Wild Nothing

Mute” by Youth Lagoon

In Vertigo” by Beach Fossils

The Beauty Surrounds” by Houses

You’re Not Good Enough” by Blood Orange


Honorable Mention (Also In No Particular Order)

Recover” by CHVRCHES

Nunca” by Trails and Ways

Cirrus” by Bonobo

Swapping Spit” by Big Deal

Let is Spill” by Los Campesinos!

Open” by Rhye

The Front” by Quasimoto

Best of Friends” by Palma Violets

The Aesthetic of the 80s is Invading ‘Indie’ Music

Check out Part 2 and Part 3 on this topic!

Am I the only one that has noticed that the 1980s are coming back with a vengeance? Everywhere I look in youth culture (my culture) I find remnants of and aspirations towards the aesthetic of the 1980s. This post will mostly focus on ‘indie’ music, but even outside of music you can see it everywhere. Mullets, skinny jeans, high pants, denim jackets, neon colors, teased hair, shoulder pads, leggings, headbands, aviators etc…go to any college campus (or Williamsburg) and you’ll easily find an example of the fashions listed above. Granted, it’s not all a copy of the 80s aesthetic, perhaps it would be more appropriate to say that it’s all “influence” by the 80s. Nonetheless, I can remember my grandmother telling me that fashions repeated themselves every 30 years, and many people in the 1980s said that their fashion was inspired by the 1950, so maybe the cycle is repeating itself in the 2010s?

However my only claim to hipster credibility is in regards to music, so that’s were I’d like to focus this post. When I was in high school and in my early college years (2005-2010), “indie music,” to me at least, meant mostly music coming out of the post-punk revival of the mid 2000s. Bands like Interpol, Bloc Party, Vampire Weekend, Arcade Fire, The Kooks, Bombay Bicycle Club, The Cribs, We Were Promised Jetpacks, The Maccabees, Razorlight, Cage the ElephantTegan and Sara, and The Strokes all came to epitomize this post-punk sound, and much of what has constituted “indie” music for the past several years has been largely (or at least partially) defined by this post-punk sound.

However over the past couples of years I’ve noticed a change in so-called “indie” music, specifically a shift towards music that is more reliant on electronic/synth-heavy/low-fi techniques and sounds. Instead of extolling upon what I’m referring to, I’d rather give you examples. Check out these bands/songs: MGMT, Animal Collective, Matt & Kim, Passion Pit, The Naked and Famous, Everything Everything, M83, The xx, Foster the People, Say Hi To Your Mom, The Radio Dept, Crystal Castles, Beach Fossils, Wild Nothing, Washed Out, WU LYF, Phantogram, Sunglasses, Youth Lagoon, Grimes, Deerhunter, Future Islands, Neon Indians, Craft Spells, The War on Drugs, Little Dragon, Frankie Rose, Mystery Jets, Diiv, Ice Choir, Big TroublesGeographer, Stranger Talk, Nightbox, Yeasayer, Hooray for Earth, Crystal Fighters, Purity Ring, Stars, Twin Shadows, Baths, Generationals, Hot Chip, Freelance Whales, The Limousines and Small Black.

You may have noticed that the list above is in a vaguely chronological order (or maybe you didn’t notice because it’s a stupidly long list and you didn’t listen to the songs)? Most of the songs on the latter part of the list have been released in the past 18 months, and those latter songs are where you really find the spirit of the 80s in full force. Many of them sound so much like 80s songs that I bet you could convince some people they were actually recorded in the 80s. The songs above by M83, Frankie Rose, Ice Choir, Twin Shadows and Small Black are strong examples.

Pinning down exactly where this “resurgence” of 80s-style music is coming from is not clear. It’s easy just to say it’s a cultural zeitgeist, a la repeating music/fashion styles every 30 years (thank you, wise old grandma). But it’s important not to overlook music from the early and mid 2000s that has influenced the music coming out today. The success of bands like The Postal Service, Daft Punk and The Killers certainly has help moved this style along. I even remember when The Killers came onto the scene and people were accusing them of being “just another 80s ripe-off band” (and the like). Now, almost 10 years later, bands that sound much more like 80s music are becoming very popular and are not garnering any criticism (at least that I’ve seen) for their stylistic resemblance to 80s music.

But what’s really interesting to me is that this music, while heavily emulating 80s music, is doing so unironically (and what have hipsters ever done that wasn’t ironic)? There’s no sense (at least among those consuming the music) that this style of music is meant to be an emulation or ironic replication of 80s music. Accordingly, it’s never called or referred to as music similar to 80s music. I may be describing it to you as similar to 80s music, but I almost never hear others refer to it in that way. The music is always called something like “electro-indie pop,” “synth-washed noise pop,” “low-fi electronic indie,” “indie electronic,” or just “indie.”

But how popular will this trend become? Will it swing into full force, perhaps helping to define the sound of the decade? Or will it last only a few years and remain mostly an underground thing? It’s too hard and too soon to say of course, but many of the bands mentioned above are becoming very popular, and could hardly be considered “underground” anymore. And if, at this time last year, you had told me that Mercedes-Benz would be using dubstep in their commercials, I would have told you there’s no way that dubstep would become that popular. So who knows how popular or widespread this aesthetic that’s influenced by the 1980s will become? Maybe we’ll soon see Taylor Swift playing synth? That will be the day…

Some More Midwest Emo and Post-Rock Bands

In the past few months I’ve discovered some great Midwest-Emo and Post-Rock bands. Some I’ve found through merely searching, but to my surprise several indie bands have sent me some of their stuff, and politely asked if I could review their music on my blog. I’m certainly not a music critic, but I’m happy to give them a spot on my blog, and give some thoughts on their music. They were kind enough to reach out to me, so I’m happy to help them spread their band’s name.

I’ve come across many bands over the past few months, and I’ve detailed as many as I could below. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how many of them have their stuff online for free 🙂

Snowing/Boyfriends/Street Smart Cyclist/1994!: On a few previous posts I mentioned a banded called Algernon Cadwallader. They are a great emo/math/screamo bands from Pennsylvania, one of my favorites! However, it turns out that Pennsylvania is an area outside the Midwest (at least how I define the Midwest) where this type of Midwest Emo has sprung up. Through my searches, it seems like Algernon Cadwallader has some “sister” bands.

The first band I found is Snowing. Snowing was formed in 2008, and broke up in 2011. In that time, they release one full album, and at least one EP. Here’s one of my favorite songs of there: “I Think We’re In Minsk.” Lucky for us, their album I Could Do Whatever I Wanted If I Wanted and their EP (at least I think it’s an EP) Fuck Your Emotional Bullshit are completely free! I definitely recommend downloading these guys and giving their albums a full listen!

If you like Snowing, then you’ll definitely like Street Smart Cyclists, mostly because it seems like Snowing is mostly ex-members of Street Smart Cyclists. They played from 2005 till 2008, and are a great emo/math rock band. I picked up their album for cheap on iTunes, but you can listen to there stuff here.

Snowing also had some ex-members of a band called Boyfriends. Again, another band right out of the same tradition. They seems to have made two EPs and a demo, and luckily for us once again, you can get them all, for free, right here.

Boyfriends also had members in it from the band 1994! (man, these bands are incestuous). 1994! is another great emo band (and at this point that’s all I really have to say). You can listen to their stuff here. I couldn’t find any of their stuff for free, but maybe I just wasn’t looking hard enough?

I did find this album on bandcamp that seems to be 1994! / Algernon Cadwallader / Snowing / Boys and Sex, all on some form of a compilation. What ever it is, it’s good stuff from some good bands! And if you’re curious who Boys and Sex are…they’re another great emo band related to the many I’ve mentioned above. You can find their stuff here, mostly for free.

Capillaries: The Capillaries are a post-rock, instrumental band from Atlanta, Georgia. Their music seems mostly straight up, ambient post-rock, of the Explosions in the Sky variety. I think they’re very good. You can check out their bandcamp here, and if you like them, pick up their album and like them on facebook.

Hitabaldaäs: Hitabaldaäs is a band from Barcelona, Spain. I would describe them as a post-rock band, but they’ve got a strong jazz/latin influence. It is a little avantgarde and occasionally psychedelic. It’s not really something I’ve heard before, but I really dig it! Check out their bandcamp here, and as always, if you dig, pick up their album and like them on facebook. Showing support for indie bands that you like is always important!

Più luce: Più luce, which mean “More Light,” is an Italian emo/math/hardcore band. They’re more hardcore then the emo bands I talked about above, but you can hear the emo influence. I like them, and you should check them out, and show them some support if you like ’em!

Hightide Hotel: I mentioned two songs by Hightide Hotel in a previous post. They’re a emo band from Philadelphia, and very similar to the bands from Pennsylvanian I mentioned above. However unlike many of those bands, Hightide Hotel had been around for a little while, produced several albums and EPs, and is still writing. You can get all their stuff on their bandcamp for cheap! Like all the bands I’ve mentioned before, if you like them, throw them a penny or two!

Finally, I’ve found a record company called Count Your Lucky Stars. It’s an independant label founded in 2007 in Michigan, and almost all the bands on the label are Midwest Emo type bands. Three of the bands I mentioned above are on the label, along with a plethora of superb emo bands, many of which I will probably talk about in the near future (once I listen to their stuff). As always, check out the label, and drop some cash for their bands to show your support!