One of my great passions in life is music, particularly Indie Rock which is one of the most vague genres to ever exist. Indie covers quirky, childish pop with minimalist sounds and simplistic arrangements to a cacophonous symphony requiring more than fifteen musicians playing a complicated twelve minute opus. I thought that for my first post here at the gallery I would talk about a few of my favorite artists and explain why I love them. Operation Be Pretentious is a go:

The Decemberists

Literate, playful, and hyped from All Songs Considered on NPR to Stephen Colbert, these Washington State boys and girls play sea shanty pop music with more education than any impressed sailor could have dreamed of. With a catalog of songs with themes of revenge told in the belly of a whale to the longest “your mother is a whore” joke ever told, it’s no wonder that Colin Meloy and his wandering minstrels (as they refer to themselves) are one of the most hyped acts on the circuit today. Fans of the Apples in Stereo and Camera Obscura are poised to enjoy The Decemberists.

Animal Collective

Geologist, Panda Bear, Deakin, and Avey Tare make up the freak-folk, noise project known as Animal Collective. Originating in Baltimore, Animal Collective later moved to New York City. Following the long history of collectives in Indie (ie Elephant 6 and Saddle Creek), these old friends work together and separately with all works involving at least two people being released under the moniker Animal Collective. They aren’t the best choice for your initial dive into the trendy sea of music, but once you get an ear for the abnormal, check ’em out. Never has hooting, yipping, distorted vocal tracks and organic electronic music been blended so well. Fans of the Beach Boys and the Pixies especially tend to like them.

The Unicorns

Canada has a special place in the Indie scene; it’s a mystical place all of us hipsters wish we were from and it breeds some of the best musicians around such Broken Social Scene (including Feist who is best known for her solo album which garnered her some well-deserved attention), current darlings Tokyo Police Club, the well-known Arcade Fire, the noise thrash act AIDS Wolf, and the gone but not forgotten Unicorns. Releasing just two albums and an ep during their short career, although only “…and who will cut our hair when we’re gone” being worth a damn, this quirky unicorn head-wearing trio put out incredibly catchy pop records with some of the strangest lyrics I have ever heard in my headphones. They later went on to become Islands, a project with a new album due out sometime in the near future. Check ’em out if you like I’m from Barcelona, Daniel Johnston, and The Pixies.
(fan site as the official site is long gone)

Defiance, Ohio

What happens when some angry motherfuckers spend all their time listening to Woody Guthrey, MDC (Millions of Dead Cops for those who aren’t familiar with 80’s hardcore) and the Violent Femmes? You get folk punk trailblazers Defiance, Ohio. Although not Indie in the most pure sense, this band funds themselves, puts out all their records for free online, and helps run a record commune in Bloomington, Indiana. This ragtag group of starving musicians make some of the most emotional and clever songs I’ve heard in a long time. If you ever wondered what punk rock without electric guitar sounds like, give them a listen.

This is an incredibly small list that barely scratches the surface of what the genre contains; if anything here has caught your interest, give it a listen. If you are already a jaded hipster who has heard it all and been to all the best shows before these guys sold out, give them another shot because something about these bands once spoke to you.