Indie Music is weird, there I said it. Maybe it’s because it’s so wide open to have so many different definitions, or its uncomfortable crossover with rock music, that means you may not associate indie music with being genuinely indie. So I like to define it as, singers who maybe don’t get the strong representation in the media that they deserve.
Or maybe it’s music with a little difference, it’s music that is produced independently from commercial record labels or their subsidiaries, it’s music from people with a lower budget, do it yourself attitude, where these bands produce, write, and sing their own music, and play their own instruments. But they tend to be rhythmic, cool songs that really make you feel happy and loved most of the time.
Even with this open definition, I would consider my music taste is indie. I don’t tend to hear these songs blasting from radio stations, but this doesn’t mean they aren’t there. So here are five indie singers I think you should be listening to if you aren’t already and are worth checking out if your music taste is anything like mine.
- Maximo Park
Maximo Park are a band from that great wave of early 2000s indie when guitar pop received a lot more airplay than it does now. Their first two albums were commercially successful with big singles you probably recognise instantly, like Apply Some Pressure and Girls Who Play Guitar. They have always shied away from taking themselves too seriously and like to leap about even in rehearsals, a bounce you can hear in their music. Since they’ve graduated away from being young guys from Tyneside practising in pubs, they’ve tackled bigger topics like the state of British politics on 2012’s The National Health, Brexit and populism on 2017’s Risk To Exist and fatherhood on new release Nature Always Wins (2021.) What they haven’t lost is spades of energy, clever songwriting techniques and recordings that still feel fresh 15 years after they were made.
2. The Wombats
The Wombats, a trio from Liverpool, became a band in 2003, releasing their debut album A Guide to Love, Loss and Desperation in 2007. Their music is a wonderful array of happy, silly, and just really good dancing music. There isn’t anything quite like being at the club and listening to Let’s Dance to Joy Division. Their music has fun, entertaining lyrics and synth pop backgrounds captures the quintessential ideals of indie music in ways that others can’t, and their concerts are filled with rubber balls, wombat costumes and wild mosh pits.
3. Declan McKenna
The David Bowie of our generation, Declan McKenna’s music is special, like really special. The Hertfordshire raised singer experiments with his singing in ways that most artists could only dream, capturing the attention of the music press and fans the way artists seldom do in their own lifetimes. He isn’t afraid to make his voice heard politically either, a proponent fierce activism and a customary big f-off scream at toxic masculinity. His music has matured in recent years, and evolved past his original work, but is equally as captivating and interesting as ever, one of my favourites for sure.
4. Lauran Hibberd
Lauran Hibberd, a wonderful singer-songwriter from the Isle of Wight, isn’t afraid to sing about all she feels. Her songs, littered with Sugar Daddies, Shark Weeks, Old Nudes and Hoochie, she knows her brand and isn’t afraid to sell it. The singer’s older discography is as impressive as her current work, and her confidence is really what sells her performances, as well as some cheeky nude photos to advertise her album works. She has a real talent and is definitely someone to look out for over the next few years.
5. Clean Cut Kid
From Liverpool, the four-piece band makes expert use of harmonies and plays male and female vocals off each other with ease. The two singers are a couple, and their stage presence is both entertaining and lives up to their work. Their singing is wonderful and their songs are out of this world, definitely one if you like a duo singing.