Hard Jams: Brooklyn Indie Essentials

Indie music always seems to come along in waves, or “scenes”. One of the most interesting and rapidly growing scenes in all of indie rock today is in Brooklyn, New York. Over the last 12 years or so, tons of indie bands have been either coming out of this area, or moving to this area. Some of my absolute favorite bands have come out of this musical movement in Brooklyn, but first let’s back up a bit. Bands such as Interpol and The Strokes kicked it off with each of their first albums, Turn on the Bright Lights and Is this it?, respectively. Both of these bands have become very successful by now, but nothing beats some of the jams from those first two albums. Here is “Someday”, by The Strokes and “Obstacle 1” by Interpol.

Next up is Grizzly Bear, an amazingly chill band that is one of the bigger up-and-coming indie bands on the scene today. This band has been on the scene for the last few years, but really broke out with their last CD from 2008 entitled Veckatimest. In the summer of 2008, they even got to open for Radiohead on their North American tour, which led so far as Johnny Greenwood of Radiohead calling them his current favorite band. The beautiful instrumentation and perfect vocal harmonies from all members of the band always make Grizzly Bear an enjoyable listen. They also have a CD coming out sometime in 2012 so be sure to stay on the lookout for new music from these guys. Here is “Two Weeks” from their album Veckatimest.

Another core group in the Brooklyn scene is the experimental and artsy side of the scene. This would include bands such as The Dirty Projectors, TV on the Radio, and Yeasayer. These bands just got tired of all the same old tricks in the music game lately and decided to clear a path of their own. Yeasayer, the newest band of the group, released their second entitled Odd Blood in 2010. They manage to keep the thick, dark Brooklyn feel to their music while at the same time keeping it poppy and fun. TV on the Radio is one of the more well-known indie bands out there today, but there’s no way I could write this without mentioning them. The electronic feel they maintain while infusing funk and soul into their breed of indie rock makes for an interesting blend. “Wolf Like Me” from their CD Return to Cookie Mountain has to be one of the best indie rock jams of the last decade. No joke, it’s that good. Here is “Ambling Alp” by Yeasayer and “Wolf Like Me” by TV on the Radio. Feel free to turn the volume way up.

Last, but definitely not least, The National. The National is one of my favorite bands of all time, so be prepared to hear so much more about them in the future. Originally from Cincinatti, Ohio, The National relocated to Brooklyn after they got together. Despite this, they capture the Brooklyn sound better than any of these bands. Matt Berninger captures the dreariness of everyday, middle-class life with his wholly down-to-earth lyrics. His deep voice fits the band perfectly as they play their own style, switching from lush, orchestrated instrumentation to the jazzier, brass-filled songs that deeply resonate with the overall feel of the band. Here is “Bloodbuzz Ohio” from their 2010 album High Violet.

There are so many more Brooklyn bands I didn’t even cover in this post, but I just covered some of my favorites. You can check some of them out on your own such as The Dirty Projectors, LCD Soundsystem, and Animal Collective, and many more. The Brooklyn scene is growing rapidly, and there is always something new and exciting coming from this scene. Be sure to check out more music from this area as it continues to expand, and as always, keep jamming hard.

2 Responses to “Hard Jams: Brooklyn Indie Essentials”
  1. jprobichaud says:

    Good piece on an interesting music scene. Bishop Allen, MGMT, and Vampire Weekend (mostly from Brooklyn) are also good bands from that area.

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