10 Best Indie Songs of the 2010s.
A throwback throughout the decade: Mac DeMarco, Boy Pablo, Beach House, The Black Keys, and more.
The alternative music of the 2010s settled a paradox: the nostalgia for the good old times, and the new ways of music distribution. The comeback of vinyl and cassette tapes consumption culture that rebuilt many records stores impacted by the online downloads and the streaming platforms such as Spotify, Bandcamp, Soundcloud, Apple Music (defuncted iTunes), Tidal, YouTube Music, Pandora, and Deezer. Furthermore, a new era of the internet spotlighted many artists like Billie Eilish, Clairo, Boy Pablo, Mac DeMarco, alt-J, Superorganism, Vulfpeck, and more.
King of the Beach by Wavves
Although the third album remained the essence of Nathan Williams, interlude parts amid raw noisy garage rock, King of the Beach was becoming a less lo-fi and “Goth” thing. This was a new Wavves’ phase, alongside the former Jay Reatard’s band Bill Hayes (drums) and Stephen Pope (bass) strengthened Williams to rebuild the sound stuck in 2008 (in which I used to love it).
Honorable Mentions: Girlfriend by Ty Segall, Swim by Surfer Blood, Cousins by Vampire Weekend, Castle In The Graves by John Maus.
Little Black Submarines by The Black Keys
After years in the underground clouds, Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney reached the status as the most known blues-rock duo in the mainstream with the albums Brothers (2010) and El Camino (2011). Little Black Submarines represent the two sides of Auerbach between the folk and explosive hard rock that follows the group’s purpose from the beginning. Truthful 70s sound that it will never get old.
Honorable Mentions: Call If You Want by Foster The People, The Look by Metronomy, Stuck On The Puzzle by Alex Turner, It’s Real by Real Estate, She Smiles for Pictures by Big Troubles.
Freaking Out the Neighborhood by Mac DeMarco
The Pepperoni Boy from Edmont to the Prince of Indie Rock internationally, Mac DeMarco is the kind of friend that everyone wishes to hang out with. Just being himself as a goofy, entertaining and laid-back personality, DeMarco fell in the fans grace, as well as the sophomore album 2 came out including many hits, one of them, Freaking Out the Neighborhood with jangly guitars into a beachy atmosphere that became as his trademark stamped on the following records.
Honorable Mentions: Breezeblocks by alt-J, Wasted Days by Cloud Nothings, Stubborn Love by The Lumineers, I Will Wait by Mumford & Sons, Baby by The Babies, Back of Your Neck by Howler, Elephant by Tame Impala.
Riptide by Vance Joy
For those who remember Free, Over The Rainbow, I’m Yours, and Something as ukulele’s anthem, the spot got a new contender: Vance Joy’s bubble gum Riptide began to know worldwide as an incessant story of a frustrated character with wedding desires, scared of girls, dentists, and references to Michelle Pfeiffer spotlight James Gabriel Keogh, a former rugby player, to the most known Aussie solo folk artists of this decade.
Honorable Mentions: Can’t Pretend by Tom Odell, Nothing by Drenge, All I Want by Kodaline, Crashed Out by Beach Fossils, Crawling After You by Bass Drum of Death.
Out of the Black by Royal Blood
Kerr’s fuzzy bass and Thatcher’s smash are the essences of Royal Blood, a high-quality heavy-blues-stoner-garage-punk (whatever you call) duo from Brighton. The minimalist, darker, cold, and brutal sound aesthetic that emulates a quartet band in contrast to Mike Kerr’s melodic vocal made Out of the Black as outstanding modern rock and roll anthem that evokes Grand Funk Railroad and Black Sabbath.
Honorable Mentions: Compliment Your Soul by Dan Croll, Someone New by Hozier, Sweet Emotion by The Kooks.
Space Song by Beach House
The breezy Beach House song is a Victoria Legrand introspective composition about a broken relationship. Tender is the night for a broken heart who will dry your eyes when it falls apart. Whirled a vibrant steel guitar and a fading synth that echoes Legrand’s voice into a melancholic, depressive, and a nostalgic piece of art at the same time.
Honorable Mentions: Parachute by Chris Stapleton, Gunga Din by The Libertines, T-Shirt Weather by Circa Waves, Brazil by Declan McKenna, Back Pocket by Vulfpeck.
Homage by Mild High Club
The jazzy, woozy, and catchy bassline, audience warm-up that whirl in various psychedelics thoughts of Alexander Bretting resulted in a lost part of Sgt. Pepper Lonely Hearts Club Band or another Brian Wilson’s masterpiece. Mild High Club is one of the bands that head the second wave of psychedelic music, among them Tame Impala, Pond, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, Sugar Candy Mountain, Babe Rainbow, and The Murlocs.
Honorable Mentions: Peach Pit by Peach Pit, Colorado by The Buttertones, Shadow of Your Love by La Sera, I Wanna Prove to You by The Lemon Twigs, Pool Party by Julia Jacklin, Alaska by Maggie Rogers.
Don’t Matter Now from George Ezra
Anxiety to get through on tough situations was approached by Ezra on the single released in the 2018 album Staying At Tamara’s. Sometimes you need to be alone, shut the door, unplug the phone, speak in a language they don’t know. The poppy summer vibe in his unique baritone voice following the horns and muted guitar riffs, Don’t Matter Now was chosen (by me) as the best of 2017.
Honorable Mentions: Feel It Still by Portugal. The Man, Heavy Head by The Orwells, May 1st by Beach Fossils, Dum Surfer by King Krule.
Star Treatment by Arctic Monkeys
Futurism and sci-fi subject on the track that opens the sixth album is an invitation through a space journey, Tranquility Base, Strokes frustration, and Orwell’s 1984 references. Shimmering keyboards, Turner’s soulful voice blinks a glammy and nostalgic atmosphere that Arctic Monkeys were working on Humbug (2010) and AM (2013). Star Treatment is a personal introspective Alex Turner composition from a rock and roll teenager to a coming-of-age artist reflected on the latest album and The Last Shadow Puppets’ experimental works alongside Miles Kane.
Honorable Mentions: Last Girl by Soccer Mommy, Pristine by Snail Mail, Shotgun by George Ezra, Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino by Arctic Monkeys, Feeling Lonely by Boy Pablo.
Valleys (My Love) by Whitney
The former Smith Westerns members Julien Ehrlich and Max Kakacek started Whitney since the breakup with Omori brothers, and their debut Light Upon the Lake (2016) became rapidly on top granting a worldwide tour. The sophomore Forever Turned Around (2019) follows the same soft-rock blending jazz and country music elements into an immersive dreamy, smooth Ehrlich’s voice and the perfect swings combinations, soaring trumpets, catching keyboards and melodic guitar riffs. Whitney’s atmosphere keeps refreshing Chicago’s local scene, known as the land of blues, jazz, and indie music.
Honorable Mentions: Blankenship by DIIV, Disco by Surf Curse, Keeping Time by Angie McMahon, bad guy by Billie Eilish, Andromeda by Weyes Blood, Weekend Friend by Goth Babe.