Five Alternative Indie Music Artists in America

Alternative music covers an expansive spectrum of genres. Its hallmark features are independent recording labels, thought-provoking themes and an eclectic fusion of musical styles; examples such as The Cure, Radiohead and Pixies have left an indelible mark on music scenes across the world.

Alt-J, an English rock band, also employs experimental methods in creating their music, such as experimenting with rhythm, song structure and percussion.

Death Cab for Cutie

Death Cab for Cutie have traveled far during 25 years and 10 albums. From local Seattle bands to an iconic American cult band, Death Cab have traversed an extraordinary path. Their latest album Asphalt Meadows pays homage to all the venues Death Cab have played across their career; their lead single “Rand McNally” references atlases being used before modern technology like Google Maps became widely used.

Death Cab for Cutie began as an intimate solo project started by singer-songwriter Ben Gibbard in 1997. Following an experimental cassette release called You Can Play These Songs With Chords that became a local hit, Gibbard eventually assembled his permanent lineup featuring bassist Nick Harmer, drummer Nathan Good and guitarist Chris Walla to release Plans in 2005; an album which gave birth to “Soul Meets Body” and caught major label executives’ eyes.

After the success of Plans, Death Cab for Cutie followed it up with Transatlanticism which further established them as one of the 00s’ acclaimed indie rock bands. Their signature sound of seductive hooks and melodic chords won over critics and music lovers alike and helped define an entire genre during its peak years.

While Death Cab for Cutie’s musical style has transitioned from its indie roots to more mature emo tones over time, their lyrics remain as relatable as ever – be it through old Tumblr posts or tattoos – 20 years after its debut. Don’t miss your chance to witness Death Cab live during their upcoming tour and reserve tickets before it’s too late!

The Decemberists

Colin Meloy and his band of multi-instrumentalists began touring extensively throughout the Pacific Northwest after self-releasing five songs in 2001. Early material by the band reflected theatrical folk influences from mid-1960s British folk acts such as Fairport Convention and Pentangle as well as college rock grandeur from R.E.M and Waterboys. Their 2003 Kill Rock Stars label release Her Majesty quickly built a substantial fan base; later that same year saw five part epic EP The Tain released followed by 2005 full length Picaresque albums Picaresque.

As soon as the band signed with Capitol Records in 2006, many observers anticipated that they might make artistic concessions in order to attract mainstream listeners. But The Crane Wife quickly put those concerns to rest by demonstrating how well the group could create elegant ballads about old world characters within expansive progressive-rock jams.

2011’s This King Is Dead was an independent release that marked both their return to rustic folk-influenced sound as well as an independent label, garnering many critical year-end lists and garnering rave reviews from critics alike. Although Meloy is currently taking time away from performing with the group, he continues to perform solo at venues nationwide – offering new covers EPs at each show and giving him an opportunity to try out some of his newest compositions!

Since 2000, The Decemberists have been making waves out of Portland, Oregon as one of the leading indie pop bands. Comprised of Colin Meloy (vocals, piano, guitar and keyboards); Jenny Conlee (vocals and piano); Nate Query (bass); Chris Funk (guitar); and John Moen (drums, backing vocals and melodica), their distinctive music has earned praise from critics for its poetic lyrics and diverse sound; including baroque instrumentation and narrative song structures that set them apart from more conventional indie pop acts.

Fleet Foxes

Fleet Foxes have made waves in indie folk music with their groundbreaking blend of traditional folk with elements of indie rock and other modern genres, earning critical acclaim from notable publications like The New York Times and Rolling Stone.

Fleet Foxes were formed in 2006, and soon attracted the notice of producer Phil Ek, who helped secure them a record deal with Sub Pop Records. Their debut LP Fleet Foxes debuted to critical acclaim in 2008. Their music features intricate guitar work and vocal harmonies while their lyrics often draw from Greek mythology for inspiration; an example is “Mykonos,” from their Sun Giant EP which repeats “You’ll never see my darkened door”, creating an air of mystery and longing in this song’s refrain “You’ll never see my darkened door”.

Over their career, this band has released three full-length albums and numerous EPs. Most notably in 2017, Crack-Up received rave reviews from critics at Esquire, Consequence of Sound and Uproxx as one of 2017’s best albums; furthermore it received Grammy consideration in 2022.

Fleet Foxes’ songs use nature as a powerful metaphor for life and love’s unknowable mysteries, often featuring Pecknoldian pairs like brothers, friends, or lovers as an embodiment of inconstancy in love and fear of separation – this also allows the band to express themselves via song in ways which show their insecurity as individuals as well. Beyond lyrics alone, Fleet Foxes music embodies melancholy longing.

Grizzly Bear

Grizzly Bear crafts songs meticulously to showcase intricate, hairline details without losing momentum. Their vocalists use vocals to create space within the mix, layering sounds such as floating icicles or wind overtumbling snow. Lead singer/primary songwriter Ed Droste has an elegant tenor voice that seamlessly transitions into falsetto without cracking, while Daniel Rossen, Chris Taylor, and Christopher Bear all bring their voices close to the microphone so their voices blend in and out seamlessly like one instrument in the mix.

Founded by Edward Droste in 2002 and taking its name from an ex-partner’s nickname, Grizzly Bear’s debut Horn of Plenty was released by Kanine Records in 2004. It featured home recordings compiled by its founder alongside multi-instrumentalist Christopher Bear, adding new life and sound to Edward Droste’s early demos. Since then, their subsequent releases have further refined and broadened Grizzly Bear’s vision, featuring elements of indie rock, folk music, and psychedelic elements in every release.

Painted Ruins is their fifth album and stands as their crowning achievement to date, featuring an array of instruments and styles such as acoustic saxophone and flute, hearthfire Wurlitzer organ and take-me-to-the-river vocals that have all been widely acclaimed by critics.

Even with their success in the indie scene, this band still has some detractors who consider their music too complex and self-indulgent. Nonetheless, it has become an indispensable part of American indie music scene, and the group tours extensively. Additionally, they have collaborated with numerous artists, such as Nico Muhly from contemporary classical composer and Beach House vocalist Victoria Legrand from Beach House vocalist. Additionally, they have composed soundtracks for films like Twilight Saga: New Moon and Inside Llewyn Davis as well as collaborations.


Interpol is a rock band hailing from Manhattan, New York. Established in 1997, its original lineup included Daniel Kessler (lead guitar and vocals), Paul Banks (rhythm guitar and vocals), Carlos Dengler (bass guitar), Greg Drudy (drums). Drudy left to pursue other projects in 2000; in his place Sam Fogarino joined to bring punk energy and rhythmic backbone into their recordings that was missing previously.

Interpol’s debut album Turn On the Bright Lights was widely received and they went on a prolific touring spree after its release. Two more studio albums followed before Interpol took a hiatus to focus on other projects before reuniting in 2014 to release El Pintor, their fifth studio effort.

INTERPOL is an international police organization with the purpose of combatting crime among its member countries in cooperation. Day-to-day operations are managed by its General Secretariat and reported back to its General Assembly – comprised of one delegate from each member country that sets strategic direction for the organisation.

Interpol’s song, “Obstacle 1,” offers an upbeat view: that even with all its faults, a city will always support you despite what life might bring. This optimistic outlook stands in stark contrast to their previously controversial image.

This song’s key is D natural minor and features an unusual chord progression: bass playing a C-natural for four measures before shifting to G-flat for guitar amplification; creating an uncommon sound from traditional minor key progression. Furthermore, no leading tone–C sharp–gives this song its distinct sound while drums perform a simple pattern for two and a half minutes of the song.