Best Indie Bands
Some think the heyday of indie rock is long past, but the best indie bands operating today are continually producing some of the most exciting music around. Even as films like "Garden State" and the success of the Grammy-winning Arcade Fire push indie into the mainstream, the best indie bands that are currently around still operate under the radar, their music not quite ready for everyone's consumption. Here are five of the best indie bands making music in 2011, touching on rock and roll's past but looking to the future.
- Spoon. Austin, TX's Spoon have been around for more than a decade, and after an abortive stint on a major label did not produce success, they made some of the best indie rock of the 2000s, with albums like "Kill the Moonlight," "Gimme Fiction," and "Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga" solidifying their mix of stuttering post-punk and blue-eyed soul. 2010's "Transference" was possibly their best album to date, combining all of their styles into one simple, raw and compelling package. Spoon is truly at the top of the best indie bands working today.
- White Rabbits. Brooklyn, NY band White Rabbits originated in the Midwest, members coming from in and around St. Louis, MO. Their debut, "Fort Nightly," brought back some very uncool sounds, referencing ska bands like the Specials and Fun Boy Three in their unique indie rock mix. The result was innovative, though, and caught the attention of bigger bands like the Walkmen, who took them on tour, where their live shows won crowds over across the United States. Their second album, 2009's "It's Frightening," streamlined their sound into indie pop perfection with a hint of darkness. This hint of darkness in their catchy songs helps to make them one of the best indie bands around.
- Best Coast. Los Angeles' Best Coast revive both sun-drenched Beach Boys pop and girl group sounds, running them through a blender of distorted, lo-fi guitars. Songs about boys, weed, cats, and being lonely come fully packed with sing-along hooks and personality. While Best Coast are not an ambitious indie band, they are one of the best indie bands around, gaining buzz and becoming more popular by the day without compromising their sound.
- Deerhunter. Atlanta's psychedelic masterminds in Deerhunter, led by songwriter Bradford Cox, spin soundscapes from guitars and effects pedals that transport listeners to another consciousness. But simple sound experimentation alone does not make them one of the best indie bands around; no, it's their songs, heartbreaking tales of the body breaking down, lost love, and trying to find an identity in a shifting world, that set Deerhunter apart from the rest of the shoe-gazing pack.
- Wolf Parade. The final entrants on our list of the best indie bands playing music today come from the Great White North of Canada, but their music is far from snowy. Instead, it is a warm mix of heartland rock a la Springsteen with synth-driven prog. Dueling frontmen Spencer Krug and Dan Boechner split the time singing and songwriting, creating a unique blend of straightforward pop and longer, more experimental songs. Wolf Parade are a truly unique band that has already spawned many imitators, both in Canada and beyond.