Indie Music for Beginners

Indie music, or independent music, originated as a music genre that was produced independently from major commercial record labels. Throughout the past few years, and because of the ease streaming services provides to listeners, indie music has been popularized, and diversified. Indie, or Alternative, is an interesting genre of music, because it doesn’t have one specific sound, and features artists that pull from many different genres of music; creating indie sub-genres like: indie-pop, indie-rock, and indie-folk. Because of its range and scope within the music scene, the indie/alternative genre can seem slightly unapproachable for newcomers. This post will encompass a list of a few of the most popularized indie music bands. 


Indie Pop:

Vampire Weekend


This New York band, formed in 2006, made a name for themselves with their breakout self-titled album ‘Vampire Weekend’ in 2008. Since then they have released two albums: ‘Contra’, in 2010, and ‘Modern Vampires of the City’, in 2013.




Phoenix is an indie-pop band originating in France. This group has been together since the 90’s, but didn’t release their debut studio album until 2000, ‘Untitled’. Since then, Phoenix has released 5 studio albums: ‘Alphabetical’, ‘It’s Never Been Like That’, ‘Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix’, ‘Bankrupt!’, and ‘Ti Amo’, released in 2017.


Portugal The Man


This indie pop/duo group originated in 2004 in Alaska. This indie boy-band has been releasing albums since 2006, and currently has 9 studio albums: ‘Waiter: “You Vultures!”’, ‘Church Mouth’, ‘Censored Colors’, ‘The Satanic Satanist’, ‘The Majestic Majesty’, ‘American Ghetto’, ‘In the Mountain In the Cloud’, ‘Evil Friends’, and ‘Woodstock’. ‘Woodstock’, released in 2017, featured hit track ‘Feel it Still’, which won awards in it’s alternative music category at this year’s 60th annual Grammy awards.


Passion Pit


Passion Pit may be one of the more popularized indie bands, their album ‘Gossamer’ debuted at number 4 on the Billboard 200 upon its release 2012 release. This Massachusetts band released its first studio album, ‘Manners’, in 2009, and has released three more albums since then: ‘Gossamer’, ‘Kindred’, and ‘Tremendous Sea of Love’. Although they continue to make new music, their newest project ‘Kindred’ released in 2017, their most popular tracks remain those of their first two albums.


The XX


The XX are a British indie band created in 2005. The XX have a very distinct airey, echoed, electric sound that has brought them to some popularity within the last few years. The band has three studio albums: ‘xx’, ‘coexist’, and ‘I see you’, the last of which was released in 2017.


Indie Rock:

Arctic Monkeys


Arctic Monkeys are a british indie rock band formed in 2002. Their music style is highly percussive, and tends to be a tad bit vulgar, one of their albums being titled ‘Suck it And See’, but of course in a charmingly british way. Arctic Monkeys currently have 5 studio albums: ‘Whatever People Say I am, Thats What I’m Not’, ‘Favourite Worst Nightmare’, ‘Humbug’, ‘Suck It and See’, and  ‘AM’. Arctic Monkeys haven’t released any new music since 2013, and are on a self-proclaimed ‘band hiatus’ beginning after their 2014 ‘AM’ tour.


The White Stripes












The White Stripes are an indie-garage rock duo from Michigan. The rock duo, starting in 1997, has released 6 studio albums: ‘The White Stripes’, ‘De Stijl’, ‘White Blood Cells’, ‘Elephant’, ‘Get Behind Me Satan’, and ‘Icky Thump’; each of their last three albums winning Grammy awards for best alternative music album. Unfortunately, The White Stripes are no longer together, circa 2011, but their music has certainly left a unique mark on the indie-rock genre.


Tame Impala











This Australian psychedelic rock band have quickly rose to popularity since their formation in 2007. The group has 3 studio albums: ‘InnerSpeaker’, ‘Lonerism’, and ‘Currents’. Tame Impala has also successfully crossed over many different music genres, collaborating with both Miguel, and Rihanna. Rihanna did a cover of the Tame Impala track “New Person, Same Old Mistakes”, on her 2016 ‘ANTI’ album.


Two Door Cinema Club


Two Door Cinema Club is an Irish rock indie band that got together in 2007. They have released 3 studio albums: ‘Tourist History’, ‘Beacon’, and ‘Gameshow’. Their first album ‘Tourist History’, released in 2010, holds their two most popular tracks: ‘Something Good Can Work’, and ‘What You Know’, and was awarded the Choice Music Prize for Irish album of the year.


The Black Keys










This American rock duo formed in 2001 in Ohio. This group has 9 studio albums: ‘The Big Come Up’, ‘Thickfreakness’, ‘Rubber Factory’, ‘Chulahoma’, ‘Magic Potion’, ‘Attack & Release’, ‘Brothers’, ‘El Camino’, and ‘Turn Blue’. Although this duo had an underground cult fan following since their very first album in 2002, their real commercial success came with the release of their 2010 album ‘Brothers’.


Indie Folk:

Local Natives


This American indie folk-rock band originated in California in 2005. The band has released three studio albums: ‘Gorilla Manor’, ‘Hummingbird’, and ‘Sunlit Youth’. Their first album ‘Gorilla Manor’, released in 2010, hit number 3 on the Billboard new artist chart.


The Shins


This indie-folk, New Mexico based band originated in 1996, and just released their newest studio album this year (2018). In total they have 6 studio albums: ‘Oh, Inverted World’, ‘Chutes Too Narrow’, ‘Wincing The Night Away’, ‘Port of Morrow’, ‘Heartworms’ and ‘The Worm’s Heat’. Their third studio album ‘Wincing the Night Away’, released in 2007, found its way to number 2 on the Billboard 200, and was nominated for a Grammy award.


Lord Huron


Lord Huron is a relatively new band, only being formed in 2010. This California based indie band currently has two studio albums: ‘Lonesome Dreams’ and ‘Strange Trails’. Lord Huron’s hit tracks ‘Ends of The Earth’, and ‘The Night We Met’, have met their fair share of on-screen cameos, most notably Showtime’s show ‘Shameless’, and Netflix Original series ‘13 Reasons Why’.


The Lumineers


The Lumineers are an American folk band originating in Colorado in 2005. The Lumineers basic instrumental sound is reminiscent of folk legends such as Bob Dylan, and Bruce Springsteen. This folk band currently has two studio albums: ‘The Lumineers’, and ‘Cleopatra’. Their hit track ‘Ho Hey’ is their most recognizable song, and even climbed to number 3 on the Billboard hot 100.

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