Good Indie Bands

If you're not familiar with indie music, here are some good indie bands to get started with. Indie music is, in a lot of ways, not that different from other types of rock and roll or guitar pop, and many good indie bands sound like they could be played on the radio, perhaps at a different time in history, or sometimes if tastes were just a little bit different. Here are some good indie bands for beginning indie listeners.

  1. Girls. A San Francisco band that, despite the name, is all male, Girls are one of the many good indie bands around today playing with sun-drenched California music of the past as an influence. Old rock and roll, Beach Boys harmonies, and a good bit of hippie sentimentality colors the beautiful, lush guitar-pop of Girls. Good indie bands should also have a good back-story, and Girls sure does, as a bonus: frontman Christopher White grew up in the Children of God cult, escaping when he was sixteen, and plays happy music as a way of coping with his troubled past. Their debut, simply titled "Album," is the perfect place to start.
  2. The Hold Steady. Another one of the good indie bands heavily influenced by classic rock, the Hold Steady sound like Bruce Springsteen if he'd taken MFA classes in poetry. Craig Finn's nasal voice and intricate, reference-laden lyrics may be a sticking point for some listeners, but the rock and roll muscle of the band can draw anyone in. Their third album, "Boys and Girls in America," is their most polished and, in many ways, their best overall effort, a good starting point for beginning listeners.
  3. The Gaslight Anthem. New Jersey's Gaslight Anthem are on the more punk-rock end of the indie spectrum, though there is plenty of "Anthem-ready" hooks in their songs about cars, girls, growing up, and growing old. This is music to get drunk and jump up and down to, and they are one of the good indie bands making such music in the 2000s.
  4. Spoon. Austin, TX's Spoon are an artful band with a wide discography, ranging from the keyboard-heavy "Kill the Moonlight" to the crunchy guitars of "Gimme Fiction" to the blue-eyed soul stylings of "Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga." A truly talented and versatile band, they have a little something for everyone, and are one of the good indie bands that draw in listeners outside of the typical indie rock audience.
  5. Surfer Blood. Weezer fans will love the final entry on our list of good indie bands for beginning listeners. Crunchy guitars, boisterous pop-hooks, and lyrics to make us all feel okay for being alone sometimes define the debut album, "Astro Coast," from these youngsters. This is indie rock that should be on the radio in every car during the summer. In a just world, it would be.
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