Halfway between an independent style and commercial success, indie music has made its way into the preferences of the young public in the music scene. In recent years he has abandoned punk and grunge influences to evolve towards pop-rock.
But, what is it that unites these modern bands and which are the best groups
? You will find out below.
- You can also read: The 50 best songs in history.
1. What is indie music?
2. Origins of indie music.
3. Best indie music groups in Spanish.
4. Best international indie music groups. What is indie music?
The indie phenomenon has been hitting it for some years now, and you will surely wonder what this style of music consists of and if we can talk about some common features . It may seem curious to you, but what defines indie music as a whole is not a style of music but its production.
The indie concept actually goes beyond the musical dimension and refers to the term independent. In this area, indie music encompasses all those groups that manufacture their products without a record label behind them., autonomously and independently, in order to maintain a genuine own style far from commercial demands.
For this reason, if you have fallen fully into the fever of indie music and you have been listening to these groups for hours and hours, you will have realized that there is a stamp that identifies them: their music has complex compositions to which lyrics are added. original and shocking. Most of these groups talk about everyday problems from the perspective of postmodernity .
In fact, this is one of the main features of indie music, its originality. The more extravagant the better, and this is one of the parameters that are usually used to define indie music: everything that cannot be classified is indie music. New technologies and platforms like YouTube have opened up a new world of possibilities.
- To learn more: The 34 types of music: classification and musical subgenres.
Origins of indie music
The best groups on the current scene have something in common: they have gone from playing in joints to being mainstream products without the support of a commercial label, and now fill the concerts of the main venues on the music circuit. But, where does indie music come from and how does it evolve
? Although everything sounds rabidly modern, we have to go back to the eighties, when punk opened a path of rebellion against popular culture that marked commercial successes and that would be answered, later, for an entire movement of transgressive music that was guided by the principles of Do It Yourself (DIY).
Indie music stands out for its production style, away from the big record companies. | Image from: Pexels.
As a critic of the commercialization of culture that was marked by the process of economic modernization of Western societies in the sixties and seventies, the spirit of these groups was guided by authenticity . Throughout the nineties the independent style moved between rock, grunge and punk and post-punk.
In Spain, in the 90s rock groups appeared that triumphed in the music scene trying to differentiate themselves from the big commercial products. Los Planetas, Australian Blonde and Los Fresones Rebeldes paved the way for a type of product that, well into the 21st century, would connect with postmodern reality by offering something genuine .
In this process, the punk and grunge influences are disappearing to give way to a melancholic and urban pop-rock of stylized bands with bizarre names that speak of the real problems of the wealthy middle class with allegorical and ingenious lyrics.
- It may interest you: The 30 best songs of the 80s (in English and Spanish).
The best indie music groups in Spanish
One of the success factors of indie music has been the boom of original bands that have imprinted a stamp of personality on the music scene. 1. Love of Lesbian Love of Lesbian
‘s latest album, The Great Final Trick, was recorded during the concert that the group offered in a crowded Wizink Center in Madrid (former Palacio de los Deportes) on November 18, 2017, in a event that confirmed the consecration of this group from Barcelona that began its journey two decades ago in the purest indie style.
It was in 1997 when an experimental group formed just a few days ago sent a demo that was selected for the Route 66 magazine contest. They performed at the Magic room in Barcelona and came second, but their career began to accelerate in a chaotic and permanent trial between success and error.
The group recorded their first songs in the studio and began touring the most important festivals, in a learning stage where they released several albums in English. After the change to Spanish and with milestones such as opening for Cure, the group matured until it became one of the best indie bands in Spanish 2. Vetusta Morla
Although they have been on the music scene for two decades, fame came late to the Madrid group Vetusta Morla, who formed in 1998 did not record their first full-length until 2008 (which was considered the best first album by a Spanish group in history). Later, his rise was dazzling, making his way among the best indie formations in Spanish of the moment.
In the indie world, names always have a special meaning, and in this case the group formed in Tres Cantos, Madrid, took the name of the turtle character from The Neverending Story , a tribute to the fantastic science-fiction of the eighties. .
After a few years playing venues throughout Spain, especially the Madrid circuit, the success of Un dia en el mundo led them to release their second album, Mapas, in 2011, and two years later La deriva , the third album, all of them with his own record label called Pequeno somersault, and reference songs such as Copenhagen and The rare days . 3. Los planetas
Reference and ascendant of the other indie music groups in Spanish, the group from Granada Los planetas has been on the music scene since 1993 with a strange but seductive mix of Andalusian tradition and American and English post-punk as Joy Division.
They began their careers between contests and radio programs in which they drew attention for their power and freshness, which led them to record their debut album Medusa with the independent label Elefant Records. That coincides with the boom in indie music that puts Los Planetas in contact with larger labels.
During those years the group stands out for its proliferation, with various works such as Super 8 and A week in the motor of a bus, and the continuous change of the group’s members that introduces new nuances and dynamism within a firm and defined identity.
Although over the years its success has been progressive, becoming part of major record companies such as Sony, The Planets have managed to maintain their signs of identity. 4. The New Raemon
Ramon Rodriguez, the soul of this modest indie pop-rock group from Barcelona, had promoted some projects with lesser musical impact such as Madison and Ghouls’n’Ghosts, but he had enough experience to look for a more ambitious project . From there was born the complex musical adventure of The New Raemon, a mixture of indie pop and folk.
In 2008 the group premiered with an album, “A proposito de Garfunkel”, as a proposal of maximos formed by imaginative lyrics (“I am Simon and your Garfunkel”, said the chorus of the single), agile rhythms and harmonically strident melodies.. Shortly thereafter, the group showed a more melancholy profile on their second album, La Invasion de los Ultrabobles.
In recent albums, the group has abandoned the pre-eminence of the singer-songwriter and has promoted the choral project . Epes reunidos, published in 2010, is the compilation album that reviews the first stage of the Barcelona group and opens a phase of more dynamism. 5. Maga
Maga, the Sevillian group that was born in 2000 as a trio and later incorporated another member, has spent almost two decades building a project with a very marked identity, a very particular universe with encrypted lyrics and dreamlike melodies that has grown in the heat of the Radio 3 Concerts and has carved out an extensive group of followers.
In 2006 Maga launched Rojo, the work that spread her name throughout the national map and beyond the Atlantic, since today this group is also known in Latin American countries such as Venezuela, Chile, Uruguay and Argentina.
During those years they worked side by side with the independent record company Limbo Starr, which among others also released Nacho Vegas albums, but in 2008 Maga announced her termination of the contract and a few months later they signed with Mushroom Pillow , a union from which they were born in 2010 the album Ala hora del sol.
After a few months of parenthesis, they returned in 2015 with the recording of new albums , and they continue to be a benchmark. 6. The Blue House
The creative mind of Guille Milkyway went to work at full speed in the late 1990s to engender a product born from a complex fusion of doo wop (a mix of rhythm & blues and gospel from the 1940s), disco music and europop. The Blue House moves away from everything conventional and advances, riskily, through the experimental .
The result is overwhelming and contradictory because it combines ecstasy with depression, euphoria with melancholic cruelty, highs and lows, happiness and sadness squared. Like many indie music groups, the radio shows helped channel her three demo presentations to an audience that delightedly embraced her creative heights.
Starting as a fictitious band represented by drawings, they officially presented themselves at the Siroco venue in Madrid in 1999 and made the leap with the help of the Elefant Records label. The group has evolved in a disorderly but progressive way and, after several years without publishing anything, in 2016 a new album, La gransfera, was announced. 7. IZAL Coming each of them from extensive professional careers in the world of music, in 2010 Mikel Izal brought together drummer Alejandro Jorda, bass Emanuel Perez “Gato”, guitarist Alberto Perez and keyboardist Ivan Mella to form the band. IZAL, which in a matter of a few years has become one of the great indie music groups in Spain.
In the La Catacumba studios in Barcelona they recorded their first album, Teletransporte, which took them to more than 60 venues throughout Spain on a tour that culminated in public and critical success and a massive concert at the Sonorama festival in Aranda de Duero. .
During the following years they produced a new self-managed album and won the 2013 Independent Music Festival in the Revelation Group category .
The album Worm Holes marked the leap to the forefront of the music scene.where they are succeeding with songs like Copacabana, which was hailed as the best song of 2015 by Colombian national radio, and The incredible story of the man who could fly but didn’t know how, a clear conceptual and stylistic tribute to David Bowie and his Space Oddity . 8. Dorian
The new wave, a style that brought together punk and rock groups from the seventies and eighties, and indie pop, filtered by electronic music, formed a very personal style that, since its inception in Barcelona, in 2004, gave personality to excellent Spanish indie group: Dorian.
This is the most international band of all that we have mentioned so far, with great tours throughout Spain and Latin America, but also withconcerts in European countries such as France and Portugal .
The leader of the group, Marc Gili, began surrounding himself with two musicians, Billy Hernandez on keyboard and synthesizers, and Bart Sanza on bass, and it was not easy for him to break the monopoly of underground music in English by singing in Spanish, but like other groups of indie music, they began to attract attention after winning a demo contest.
With his debut album, 10,000 metropolis (2004), the public and the critics surrendered to Dorian, and he also left some songs like “We miss you” that became underground hits. In the second album The future is not of anyone (2007) the electronics and the political messagethey had a prominent role, and the following three albums marked their consolidation. 9. Sidonie
Sidonie powerfully mixes alternative and psychedelic rock with pop to offer songs that could be signed by David Bowie and Pink Floyd themselves. The group was created by Marc Ros, Jesus Senra and Axel Pi in 1997, after winning a young talent contest and signing with a small Barcelona label, Bip Bip Records.
From their homonymous demo Sidonie came the first singles that made them famous, especially because some of them put music to TV commercials . From there they made the leap to the Sony label, with which they recorded successful albums such as Shell Kids, Fascinado, Costa Azul and El fuego.
Their first works contained songs entirely in English , although from the album Fascinado they changed to Spanish. In 2014 the group takes a stylistic turn with Sierra and Canada, which they will maintain with the album The Worst Group in the World, whose song “Carreteras Infinitas” placed in the top 10 of the Los 40 Principales list. 10. Russian Red
Indie music in Spain also has a woman’s voice, as Lourdes Hernandez Gonzalez, known by the stage name of Russian Red, has made a prominent place in the Spanish independent music scene. Born in Malaga in 1985, this singer is inspired by PJ Harvey and Dolly Parton, and she sings in English by pure instinct .
The case of Russian Red exemplifies the close relationship between independent music and new diffusion platforms , since she became known with the demo she recorded with her boyfriend, also an indie musician Brian Hunt, on MySpace. In 2007 she took a leap in quality by recording her first album, I love your glasses.
One dimension of the overwhelming success of her debut album is offered by its 40,000 copies sold and the use of her songs for commercials, and even as a soundtrack for the movie Camino. In 2011 she released her second album, Fuerteventura , and in 2013 her third album with a major North American label. The best international indie music groups
The international scene is packed with indie music groups that are rocking it, but this modest list that we offer below includes the best international indie bands that are sweeping the music scene. 11. Arctic Monkeys
One of the most representative international indie music groups is this band formed in 2002 in Sheffield, United Kingdom, by guitarist and vocalist Alex Turner, which includes drummer Matt Helders, guitarist Jamie Cook and bass Nick O ‘Malley. The band was born from the friendship of some neighborhood friends who were killing time making songs.
With the format of small concerts and self-managed albums that they gave away in their performances, the Arctic Monkeysthey made a name for themselves in the north of England , preferring to distribute their product over the internet rather than accept the record deals they claimed limited their creative world.
However, the success they achieved thanks to the proposal of post-punk revival, psychedelic rock and indie rock led them to sign their first contracts, and start a career that continues to be the most successful with six albums, millions of copies sold. around the world and awards and recognition everywhere. 12. The Killers
In a turbulent first year, the band The Killers formed in 2001 in Las Vegas by Brandon Flowers and Dave Keuning underwent several changes in its components, but after the arrival in 2002 of bassist and guitarist Mark Stoermer and drummer Ronnie Vannucci, the group has maintained its composition and has experienced an unstoppable rise.
It is estimated that this group has sold 22 million copies worldwide with five albums that have been, each and every one of them, at number one in the United Kingdom. The most curious thing about this band is that in the beginning they did not arouse anything of interest , and in fact several record companies rejected the Killers.
Now they must be pulling their hair out, because since they signed with the Lizard King record label in 2003 and released their first songs, the success was overwhelming. The Killers offer an interesting mix of new wave and post-punk revivalwhere the influences of indie rock are noticed. 13. Muse
One of the veteran bands still active on the international indie music scene is Muse, the group formed in England in 1994 who have earned a legion of fans for their high-quality music and extravagant shows over the years. concerts.
Their music is a successful fusion of alternative rock, progressive rock, symphonic rock and electronic music that adorn the particular intellectual world of the group’s leader, Matt Bellamy, whose interests revolve around world conspiracies, revolution, extraterrestrial life, astrophysics and a supposed end of the symbolic world.
Muse rose to fame after “accidentally” winning a young talent contest that they didn’t even take seriously. With an outdated gothic and glam aesthetic, surprised by its success, they decided to change the name of the group and mature towards a more complex and refined style that has led them to release eight albums and win several awards. 14. The Strokes
Within the wave of the first indie music groups, at the end of the nineties, a very special and genuine band was born that, in addition to offering an independent, fresh and original product , preserved the essence of American classic rock , which is why music critics baptized them “as the saviors of rock”.
Albert Hammond and Julian Casablanca, who shared an apartment in New York, started the band in 1999, and after some concerts in bars and small venues, they began to record their first demos. When they recorded their first album , The Modern Age, the record companies began to fight for their rights.
The group is completed by Nikolai Fraiture, Fabrizio Moretti and Nick Valensi. During their musical career they have released seven albums with which they have sold more than eight million copies worldwide , establishing themselves as one of the benchmarks in indie and alternative rock with massive tours around the world. 15.Twenty One Pilots
It is difficult to classify Twenty One Pilots (some frame it in the alternative hip hop style, others see it more influenced by alternative rock) and that is why it ends up in the bag of indie music. The way they became known and rose to fame also includes them within the classic pattern of indie music groups. It was in Ohio, in 2009, when three university friends formed this gang from which the group’s leader, Joseph Tyler, took his name after reading a book by Arthur Miller in which twenty-one pilots die due to defective parts that a father of family sold for the construction of airplanes during the second world war.
His first three albums were ground testing, but the real success came with the release of Blurryface, in 2015, and the popularization of songs like “Stressed Out” and “Ride” . In fact, Twenty One Pilots became the first indie music group to simultaneously have two singles among the best in the United States. 16. The Black Keys
Ohio indie rock duo The Black Keys formed in 2001 as guitarist/vocalist Dan Auerbach and percussionist Patrick Carney. Both shared an intimate, minimalist and experimental vision of music , which they captured in a project that tastes of blues and garage rock.
In fact, both began recording in basements with an instinctive aversion to canons and commercial temptation, until their product began to be increasingly valued and demanded by the public who love indie music . The name of the group was inspired by the term used by a friend of the group with schizophrenia to describe madness.
Their debut album, The Big Come Up (2002) was praised by Rolling Stone magazine and launched a decade of success and massive tours. They recorded four more albums until in 2010, the year in which they won three Grammy Awards , they fully entered the commercial world. 17. The Kooks
This British quartet was born in Brighton in 2004, and although they define themselves as a pop band, their music offers an obvious post-punk inspiration undertone, and they have flirted with other styles such as ska, reggae, rock, funky and hip-hop. Always in perpetual evolution , The Kooks is undoubtedly one of the most successful international groups.
The success, in their case, was dazzling: a few months after their formation they signed a contract with the Virgin Records label and released their first album, a great success, although they began to really attract attention when they won the MTV Europe in 2006 .
Their second album easily reached number one, in 2008, and they released two more in 2011 and 2014. The last one was released in 2018 with unreleased songs they had written in their early days, and even Honey Bee, a song written by the father of the gang leader , Luke Pritchard, who he found among his things after he died. 18. Arcade Fire
Classmates William Butler and Josh Deu created this indie music band and in 2004 they released their debut album, Funeral, which won the Grammy for Record of the Year. Since then, feted by critics, applauded by the public and recognized by awards.
In 2013, riding the crest of a wave, Arcade Fire swept their fourth album, Reflektor, and created the soundtrack for the movie Herfor which his musicians William Butler and Owen Pallett were nominated for an Oscar.
What characterizes Arcade Fire is an indie rock style and its dynamism on stage, as they are always accompanied by an authentic orchestra of instruments (guitar, drums, piano, electric bass, keyboard, xylophone, double bass, synthesizer, horn, accordion). …) and the members of the group change roles during the performances . 19. Franz Ferdinand
Franz Ferdinand is a Scottish indie music band born in 2001 , and takes its name from the Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand.
For years they have been the benchmark band on the independent music scene around the world, and their success was progressive.: although their first single passed unnoticed, they attracted the attention of the public with the second, “Take me out”, paving the way for the success of their debut album, the self-titled Franz Ferdinand.
The album quickly reached number three in the UK in 2004, and began to win awards alongside media recognition and public success . With their second album they were placed at number 1 in a week, and with the third they changed post-punk for more danceable rhythms. In 2015 they took a break, and reappeared in 2017. 20. Florence and the Machine
Group led by Florence Welch, a singer and songwriter born in London in 1986. Offering a fresh and direct musical style that mixes rock and soull, Florence and the Machine achieved success thanks to the propaganda work of (no more and no less) than the BBC.
Before they were catapulted to commercial success, this independent rock band that started their activity in 2007, were already acclaimed by critics and the media, and when they released their debut album it reached number 1 in the United Kingdom in just one week. . Recognitions and contracts to put music to movies followed one another.
They were years of growth and evolution for this group, which coincided with the release of their second album and the collaboration with DJ and producer Calvin Harris., among other successes. Shortly after they released their third album, which was number one in 8 different countries, and in 2017 they announced the release of their fourth album, in which they would address their separation and alcoholism.
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