How to Start Listening to Indie Music

Updated on April 29, 2016
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It can be intimidating trying to figure out what kind of indie music to start listening to when there are so many genres, bands, and albums to explore. Fortunately, there are many resources online that make it easy for indie music newbies to become trendy music hipsters in a matter of weeks. This guide will help you get started listening to indie music.

Check out top album lists from Pitchfork

Start with Pitchfork’s list of the Top 200 Albums of the 2000s to get an overview of the most influential albums in recent music history. You don’t have to listen to every single album on the list! Use it as a guide to start your indie music journey. Technically some of the albums on the list aren't considered indie music, but you shouldn't discount them just because they were released on a major label. The definition of indie music as a genre is unclear and often the subject of debate, but as you listen to more music and read more news about the music industry, you'll form your own ideas and opinions about what indie music means to you.

Have an open mind

When you start listening to indie music, you might encounter bands and artists who use unconventional instruments, strange vocals, or low fidelity production in their music. Give those songs several listens before deciding whether or not you truly dislike their sound. It helps to take breaks between listens to get a fresh perspective each time.

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Follow music media outlets to discover new music

Pitchfork, NPR Music, and the A.V. Club are some of the best places to get the latest indie music news online. You can follow these sites on Facebook, Twitter, or use an RSS feed aggregator like Feedly to easily see news from these sources (and more!) in one place.

Use music sites to discover similar artists to your tastes

Spotify is a great place to discover new music if you create an account with them and listen to music using their service. Spotify automatically creates a playlist called Discover Weekly containing artists with sounds similar to your listening history. Pandora is another website that helps you discover artists similar to your favorite bands and genres. Spotify is best used for its playlists and ability to play songs on demand, while Pandora is best used for its ability to create customized radio stations based on artists and genres. Unfortunately, Pandora is only available to internet users living in the U.S., Australia, and New Zealand. Spotify, on the other hand, is available in most of the Americas, Western Europe, and Oceania.

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Don’t take things too seriously

Discovering new indie music should be fun, not stressful and tedious. If you don’t enjoy listening to a particular artist, don’t force yourself to like their music. Understand that everyone has personal preferences and tastes. Don’t spoil other people’s enjoyment of indie music by bragging about how obscure or underground your knowledge of the indie scene is. It only makes you look bad and casts a bad light on other people who enjoy indie music.

A Brief List of Indie Music Videos to Watch

The following videos will give you a taste of what indie music has to offer. See what you like and check out other songs by the bands on YouTube.

Cousins by Vampire Weekend

Crystalised by The xx

My Girls by Animal Collective

Rebellion (Lies) by Arcade Fire

I Feel It All by Feist

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