This 2000s classic brought shoegaze into mainstream culture, thanks to its soft vocal delivery and electric backing. It set the standard for indie rock throughout this decade.
Mac Demarco, an iconic figure in Slacker Rock music, showcases his signature guitar tones by using chorus effects for an expressive jangle.
LCD Soundsystem was an influential indie band for only three short years. Their blend of dance, electronica, post-punk, and Murphy’s sharp lyrics propelled them into one of the biggest-selling bands of the aughts. Their final show at Madison Square Garden on April 23, 2010, was widely seen as their grand farewell performance – an event worthy of such an accomplished band as LCD Soundsystem.
After their successful reunion in 2003, members took an indefinite hiatus from performing. While touring with Hot Chip and releasing two 12-inches – Movement and Yeah (Crass Mix) – which are now considered classics of “indie-dance”, Metro Area, N.E.R.D, Le Tigre remixed tracks featuring them; in addition they attempted sessions with both Britney Spears and Janet Jackson which unfortunately fell through.
After several years, they returned for one final performance filmed in a large venue for release on DVD and 5xLP box set, providing a fitting end-cap to performances that were as energetic as they were thoughtful.
LCD Soundsystem’s dancey synthesizers remain captivating on slower tracks such as “Losing My Edge” and “Beat Connection.” Murphy’s vocals remain captivating despite his years off; mixing snaky asides with heartfelt emotion and insistent chatter in his signature style. These years have only served to deepen Murphy’s delivery; ultimately American Dream is an album about adults navigating relationships that complements Noah Baumbach films such as Margot at the Wedding or Frances Ha; it may not be the definitive conclusion but nonetheless makes an enjoyable final chapter nonetheless.
Joy Division’s debut album was an instant classic and set the foundations of much of what would define post-punk in its early years. Peter Hook’s bass churned, Bernard Sumner threw out guitar shreds, and Stephen Morris’ drumming was unmistakably machine-like; Ian Curtis sang haunting vocals which captured an age of discontent yet unfurling itself through its lyrics.
Unknown Pleasures and its stunning Closer were unparalleled musical experiences. Hannett had helped shape the sound of bands including The Clash and Wire by employing reverb to create an ethereal sense of space that enabled their instruments to create their own sonic world. Furthermore, Hannett collaborated with legendary cover artist Peter Saville to design an exquisite black-and-white image which captured timelessness yet modernity simultaneously.
None of their albums contained hits, yet the band sold hundreds of thousands of records without the assistance of pluggers or advertising campaigns. John Peel gave both albums his highest rating – 10/10! – and they topped the British charts; their success set an example for independent bands such as Nine Inch Nails, U2, and Smashing Pumpkins who would follow in their wake.
But tragedy struck on May 18, 1980 at 23. Ian Curtis watched Werner Herzog’s Stroszek and Iggy Pop’s The Idiot before hanging himself – an act that rock history is filled with. While his death was heartbreaking and devastating, its lasting echoes can still be felt today among Joy Division members who went on to form New Order and are revered by fans today.
In an age of bland middle-aged remakes and reunions that seek to replicate the same melodic swoons and retro-cool images from their earlier years, The Pixies stand out. While other bands might ape this sound with similar albums post-reunion like Doggerel or similar projects attempting to capture that energy and spirit again; The Pixies continue their wild eyed spirit and disruptive energy with Doggerel; from furious grunge to soft pop balladry with style and purpose that few other bands can match.
The Pixies were one of the most influential alternative rock bands of the 1990s, inspiring bands such as Nirvana, Radiohead, and Weezer with their distinctive blend of punk and surf rock. Led by Black Francis’ yowling vocals and their signature loud-quiet-loud shifts between melodic rock and noise as part of their signature sound – their lyrics covered subjects such as incest, alien abductions and biblical imagery with great success.
Even after their famous break-up, their early work seems to have revived and returned with full force. Their new songs are both sharp and biting while also reflecting an increased maturity; no longer sounding like young punks from the 80s but instead more like experienced rockers who have come full circle in terms of maturity.
The Pixies’ debut post-reunion album, Trompe le Monde, did not meet fans’ high expectations; however, Doggerel offers a glimpse of their classic sound and captures some of the energy from some of their best live shows. Since then they have released additional albums such as Indie Cindy and Head Carrier; however Beneath the Eyrie may be their most exciting release; recorded shortly before their final concert which ended abruptly due to stage crew intervention, this EP may prove even more anticipated by listeners than their other releases!
Passion Pit are masters of indie pop, having begun as an experiment by Michael Angelakos as Valentine’s Day love songs for Columbia Records’ release of Manners as their debut album. Since then, their famed performances and sold out shows worldwide have cemented Passion Pit’s place at the forefront.
After taking a brief hiatus, Kindred marks their comeback with their third album. On it they find the band at their peak performance with smooth electronica fused with confident pop. Furthermore, new influences such as Randy Newman’s deceptively easy listening songcraft and Giorgio Moroder’s machine disco can also be heard here.
Passion Pit’s eighth studio album feels like their most mature work ever produced, focusing on their most impressive elements rather than instrumental solos that had previously dominated its previous albums. With just 10 tracks running across, Passion Pit are able to showcase what made them great musicians without falling back on cliched instrumental solos from previous works.
Live, the band are equally impressive as on record; The LA Times lauded them for being able to turn studio creations into audience-oriented performances that leave audiences feeling alive and inspired. Lollapalooza and Coachella festivals alike have hosted major appearances by this remarkable collective while on tour they have always packed venues worldwide.
Passion Pit haven’t released any new material since last year, but have plenty planned for their fans in 2019. Their forthcoming album Tremendous Sea of Love is set to come out this week, while plans have also been revealed for a stripped-back remix of Gossamer.
James Mercer and friends combined Britpop with Syd Barrett-like whimsical pop to produce Oh, Inverted World – an indie rock classic. Chutes Too Narrow extended their boundaries further. 2007’s Wincing the Night Away won even greater critical acclaim; though their wide-eyed innocence may have diminished over time. They continue to create melodies with captivating circularity while remaining adept at offering self-reflection and humor in each track.
After three releases on Sub Pop, Heartworms marks their debut independent release and is set to make history as they assume full creative control of their music production process. Although taking this leap may prove risky, the band appears confident they can maintain quality while having complete oversight over their work.
Last year, The Shins performed at NPR’s Tiny Desk and brought two new songs and an old favorite from 2003 album Chutes Too Narrow. Their performance was dedicated to late drummer Richard Swift who died due to complications associated with alcoholism in July 2018. Since their inception, The Shins continue to deliver charming homegrown indie pop songs that continue to win fans over.
Their songs are often described as wistful meditations, yet while they may sound soft and acoustic at first, there’s an unmistakable kinetic energy in their music that’s hard to miss. Pinning down The Shins’ sound can be tricky as their influences range from Britpop literacy and creativity all the way through 90s indie rock – making their albums rich with personality and depth that it is easy to become lost within them – but behind all of the hype and backlash lies an unassuming formalist indie rockers band that are unassuming formalist indie rockers ready to perform!