Before I even begin, I apologize for using the word Indie to describe a variety of different music. But frankly, it has become a convenient umbrella term for any group that does not fall under what many would define as classic rock ‘n’ roll. I’ve compiled a list of 5 Indie groups, some more well known than others, that are all unique and deserve to be listened to.
When looking at a picture of the members of Real Estate, you may think you’re looking at a picture of your dad from the 1970’s. Big glasses and sweaters are plentiful. Although they’re from New Jersey, you can hear the sounds of California in their music. I would never define them as surf rock, but the perpetual up-down stroke on the guitar and graceful solos will definitely resonate with people who are attracted to surf rock. Martin Courtney’s vocals float gracefully through their music, with lyrics of nostalgia, love, and passion. They are phenomenal live, especially in a more intimate venue.
Song Recommendation: “Out of Tune”
If you’ve checked out Real Estate and you like their music, the next step would be Ray Barbee. Barbee is somewhat of a renaissance man. Former professional skateboarder, phenomenal photographer, and a great musician. Barbee often plays alone, or sometimes with a drummer and bassist. He plays an old, wood grain telecaster that is known for its rich, blues like sound. I saw Ray Barbee play alone in a Vans store at my local mall and promptly bought his album. His music is perfect for driving around on a beautiful summer day.
Song Recommendation: “Taking Liberties”
Jim James (Solo Album)
If you’re a My Morning Jacket fan, then you already know Jim James as the frontman with one of the most powerful voices in rock ‘n’ roll today. In the spring of 2013, Jim James released his solo album Regions of Light and Sound of God. This album is a cohesive musical experience. James found a way to combine the sounds of big band, various synthesizers and electronic sounds, standard rock instruments, and his powerful voice, into something fantastic.
Song Recommendation: “Of the Mother Again”
If you’re looking for a contemporary parallel to The Beatles, Cheers Elephant is your band. Their music can be defined as pop-rock similar to some of The Beatles more upbeat tracks, but they (fortunately) lack the kitschy, love song lyrics. I’ve seen Cheers Elephant five times in Philadelphia, their hometown, and they’ve never put on a bad show. They’re a band that will consistently get the whole crowd on their feet. Cheers Elephant recently headed out to California to try and advance their career, so they will be playing a lot of shows on the West Coast. If you have the chance, don’t miss one of their shows. Bring your parents or your little cousins; everyone will have a great time.
Song Recommendation: “Leaves”
Out of all the bands on this short list, Dr. Dog is easily the most well known. Their music covers many genres, including folk, psychedelic, pop, and straight up rock ‘n’ roll. The merging of all these genres results in a truly unique sound. Both vocalists, Toby and Scott, have distinct voices that compliment the rest of the bands musical talent. Dr. Dog uses a variety of interesting instruments: the omnichord, optigan, banjo, and a variety of electronic and percussion instruments. If you’re just getting into the Indie Rock genre, Dr. Dog should be the first band to check out.
Song Recommendation: “Where’d All The Time Go”
Written by: Jona Block