WhoMadeWho - Dreams - Valcano/Darup Associates
This Scandinavian trio know their hooks and accompany them with synths that are so catchy that you can’t help but bob your head. The smooth bass lines and backing vocals accompany a very lovable male vocal. Check out the songs Dreams, Heads Above, Indian Summer which all faintly resemble a disco vibe in a current indie scene.
We Are Scientists – TV EN FRANCAIS - Dine Alone Records
This band literally has some of the most consistently catchy hooks in every song they have. The track What You Do Best has hooks for days. This indie rock duo definitely have perfected break up and love songs with their heart wrenching “ooos and ahh” harmonies. The track Overreacting, is a good example of their versatility with their uplifting guitar effects and catchy funk bass lines. They have a vast diversity of sounds throughout the whole album. The Return The Favor single represents them so well especially with the heart wrenching guitar solo at the end. Go listen to this album after a break up you should feel better afterwards.
Cerebral Ballzy – Better In Leather Single - Cult Records
One of the funniest band names I’ve come across, Cerebral Ballzy contains contrasting male and female vocals with a tinge of punk and surfer tones. They are straight to the point which is exemplified with their dirty guitar riffs and tantrum-like playing of drums. They sound like they could care less about you liking them or not.
Warm Soda –Young Reckless Hearts - Castleface Records
Warm Soda’s bass licks are so heavy and would definitely put anyone in the mood to drive and just go. The track Going in circles makes you just keep going down that road. The way the music was mixed everything stands out; the bass, drums, and guitar can be heard separately but they blend well as well. There is a slight droniness to the vocalists in the verses and chorus accompanied with catchy harmonies and a bit of old school hard rock. The song Stranger To me is a good example of this.
The Dandy Warhols- Thirteen Tales From Urban Bohemia Live At the Wonder - The End Records
This band as a slight tinge of psychedelic with their distorted guitars mixed with the crisp ring of acoustic guitar strings. The vocals resemble that of a 70s rock singer whose been exposed to shoe gaze music. If this could fall under any subgenre of psychedelic rock it would be neo-psychedelic at its finest.Check out their first track Godless.
Saintseneca – Dark Arc – Anti
Saintseneca has a heavier folk sound with all the features of what we love from folk music. This includes male crooning with a weird sense of nostalgia accompanied by soft female vocals. You will most definitely hear a banjo being played in this folk outfit. Check out the song Fed up with Hunger which is a really good example of the type of aural blend that can come from banjo, toe tapping drum lines, and acoustic guitars. Also listen to Falling Off.
The Coathangers – Suck My Shirt – Suicide Squeeze Records
This is an all-female Punk group so right of the bat you should like them because it’s not too often you come along something like that. These punk riffs that these girls deliver give you something to thrash to with blaring chords and throwing in some oohs and ahhhs they give you simple yet catchy and effective verses and choruses
Fenster – The Pink Caves – Morr Music
I’m going to describe this type of sound as atmospheric futuristic pop. Fenster’s music contains very spacey synths alongside with vocals that are too soothing. Distorting echo effects of the lead vocals makes you feel like you are in a dream. This is how pop music would sound like in 2155 because it just feels like these sounds are still too far out of our reach to comprehend or even fathom.
Teitur – Story Music – Arlo & Betty Recordings
Teitur’s album sounds literally like what the album title says a soundtrack to a movie. The songs on Story Music would fit perfectly within the transition scenes in a movie. The songs are like aural landscapes and consist of instruments you haven’t heard in awhile (when’s the last time you head a triangle played in a song). It’s like a giant story telling that can be heard not seen.
Iska Dhaaf - Even The Sun Will Burn – Brick Lane Records
Iska Dhaaf’s sound is very post punk which means his album consists of songs that are bass driven and has melancholy vocals. With surfer guitar riffs and descending notes that will leave you climbing back for more check out the song Everybody Knows. The bass lines tie together punk to post punk.
Modern Baseball - You’re Gonna Miss It All – Run For Cover Records
Modern Baseball’s album You’re Gonna Miss it All sounds like if the Seattle Grunge scene spilled over into the indie rock scene where teenage angst still lingers. I’d like to describe this as post teenage angst music. Check out the song Broken Cash Machine which contains a slight tinge of punk riffs and listen to Rock Bottom. As you can tell by the titles, kids these days still feel the need to be a rebel.
Daniel Ellsworth and The Great Lakes – Kid Tiger – Deer Head Music
Daniel Ellsworth was actually on the TV show The Voice so it is no wonder that his music is focused on his vocals which are very poppy and uplifting with the most notable thing to hear is the keyboards that are not in the background as most songs have them but in the forefront. Check Out the tracks Phantoms & Fits and Starts.
Real Estate – Atlas - Domino Records
Real Estate’s Atlas is like a map from where you are now in life that leads you back where it all started. The track Had to Hear has relaxing chords and reminds you of some walk on the beach you might have taken awhile back. This album makes you feel like taking a nice stroll on the side walk in search of a faint feel of nostalgia. The song Past Lives creates a sound that is exactly what the title entails; like you’re walking past your old house after so many years past.
Stone Jack Jones – Ancestor – Western Vinyl
This is not your typical boy from Nashville Tennessee nor can u expect Stone Jack Jones to sing you the same old country you might vaguely know about. His sound has eerie country melodies and chords accompanied with raspy voice. Some tracks contain harmonica tunes and who doesn’t like harmonicas. Check out the tracks O Child and Jackson and you’ll begin to get a taste of his dark and dirty country/folk music.
Vertical Scratchers – Daughter of Everything – Merge Records
The Vertical Scratchers’ album Daughter of Everything has a type of flow that keeps you on your toes track to track. The song Wait no longer has a punk, anarchy vibe to it and then is followed by a weird transition to unorthodox vocal crooning in the track Turn Me Out. The guitar playing style sound like they don’t have a care in the world. The nonchalant feel to the vocals can throw you off but keep you coming back for more.
Lushes – What Am I Doing – Felte
Lushes’ sound is hard to put a finger on which is not necessarily a bad thing. The guitars feel like off rhythm and not syncopated, but the vocals blend in the gaps alongside the guitar effects. There is a hint of math rock because it seems a bit erratic. Check Out the song One Right Word which shows how uncalculated yet connected Lushes’ music is.
Ages and Ages – Divisionary – Partisan Records
This is an exemplary album for all indie rock fans with the coinciding female and male vocals that have become staple in this scene but never ceases to get old. The song Light Goes Out makes you want to keep head bobbing and let the window down in your car with your hair in the wind.
Axxa/Abraxas - Axxa/Abraxas – Captured Track Records
This band by far has one of the trickiest names to pronounce (Good luck KUCI DJ’s if you have to back announce this).Their sound resembles 70’s rock sucked in the deep vacuum of space rock. It’s kind of like riding a VW van through the zero gravity outer space. Check out the beginning of Ryan Michalak (is Coming to Town) with spacey tones from guitar distortions and key boards
The War on Drugs – Lost In The Dream - Secretly Canadian
If you feel like you just heard a 80s keytar riff when you are hearing these songs, you’re probably right. Just think if the members of A Ha came back to make music in the indie pop scene and you have a general idea of what the War on Drugs sound like. And also don’t forget that trademark singular drum beat that we’ve come to all know in love in 80’s music.
Daniel Harnett – Under the Veil Unseen – Pleashabye Music
Daniel Harnett’s music sounds like a slightly happier yet still perpetually sad and melancholy Elliott Smith. One Ball up is a good example of what I’m talking about. Whether he’s just by himself with an acoustic guitar or entire band with violins, Harnett brings his troubles and woes into the light and uncovering the veil they fell behind.--