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Beginner's Guide to Indie Pop 🎶

Updated: Apr 20, 2023

Written By: Caroline Walters

If you love branching out into new genres and discovering your new favorite artists, we’ve put together a beginner’s guide to one of the most popular genres right now, indie pop! From iconic artists such as Lorde to a little bit more obscure artists like Wolf Alice, we’ve compiled a great guide to help kickstart your dive into the genre! 🎸

Indie pop began in the 1970s, and was inspired by the way punk rock had a “do-it-yourself” mindset! Tons of indie pop bands were formed with the idea that they didn’t need a record label in order to release their own music and would even press their own vinyl! Now, the genre has evolved into combining the stripped-down qualities that punk music used to contain and the catchiness of pop music into an incredible new genre. 🤩

First and foremost, Lorde is the reigning queen of the indie pop world. Her hit single “Royals” catapulted her into the music industry at only 16 years old, and from there, she took over the industry. Her debut album, Pure Heroine, captures perfectly what it’s like to be a teenager and all of the feelings she experienced. Her second album, Melodrama, is reminiscent of a loose concept album about feeling solitude while at a house party. Melodrama is a much more pop-focused album than Pure Heroine, which had classic traits of indie pop. From Melodrama, you should definitely give the songs “Green Light” and “The Louvre” a listen! Pure Heroine was a more muted album production-wise, and Lorde brought back the softer style with her third album, Solar Power! Solar Power features fan favorites such as “Mood Ring” and “Secrets from a Girl (Who’s Seen it All).” ☀️

Another iconic band that dominates the indie pop charts is The 1975! If you’ve never listened to their music before, the chances that you’ve seen videos of them from their most recent tour are fairly high. They debuted in 2012 with the release of their first EP, and from there, they absolutely dominated the Tumblr culture. In 2014, if you weren’t listening to “Robbers” or “Menswear,” what were you even listening to? The 1975 are definitely more on the rock side of the genre, but they’ve explored almost everything with their five studio albums! Their most recent release, Being Funny In A Foreign Language, debuted at the top of the UK Albums Chart! We can’t stop listening to “Love It If We Made It” and “About You.” 😍

Nashville-based trio COIN has one of the most iconic indie pop songs to date: “Talk Too Much.” Their music perfectly encapsulates that A24, coming-of-age music that the genre’s become known for. The band was formed in 2012, and three years after that, they released their first self-titled album along with the single “Run.” Their music is characterized by catchy melodies, electric guitars and synths, and fun, upbeat lyrics! Their most recent album, Uncanny Valley, was released in 2022 and is a perfect example of the style they’ve developed. We definitely recommend listening to “Brad Pitt” and “Chapstick”! 🕺🏻

Maggie Rogers is a singer-songwriter who got her start at NYU, and we couldn’t be more obsessed with her music! Her hit song “Alaska” went viral in 2016 along with a video of her working with producer Pharrell at an NYU master class. Maggie’s music blends folk-inspired instruments and powerful vocals to create her perfectly tuned dance tracks. Her debut album Heard It In A Past Life will make you want to get up and dance, especially when listening to “Say It” and “Retrograde,” and her second album, Surrender, is more of the same! 🤍

The Neighbourhood is another indie pop band you definitely need to check out. They’ve been around since 2011, and their music creates such a moody vibe that’s perfect for listening to on a rainy day. Their first EP, I’m Sorry…, features the iconic song “Sweater Weather,” which again, dominated the 2014 Tumblr scene! Their music blends dreamy soundscapes and heavy guitar riffs in a way that we can’t get enough of. Their most recent release, Chip Chrome and the Mono-Tones, gave us new classics with “Cherry Flavoured” and “Devil’s Advocate”! While The Neighbourhood is currently on hiatus, we’re holding out hope that they return soon with a surprise album! 🤞🏻

MUNA, a three-piece band from California, are paving the way for upcoming artists with their constant releases of songs that remind us that it’s okay to be yourself, regardless of what other people think of you! While their lyrics are super introspective, they constantly have upbeat melodies and fun synth sounds, especially in the song “I Know A Place”! They’re about to embark on a summer tour, while also opening for Taylor Swift at a few shows! If you’re seeing her with them opening, you should check out their songs “Kind of Girl” and “Silk Chiffon.” 💖

Wolf Alice is a British band that formed in 2011, and while their music is definitely more on the indie rock side, they’ve still got pop influences in there. Their first album, My Love Is Cool, was released in 2015, and we still haven’t stopped thinking about “Bros.” Since then, they’ve expanded their use of heavy guitar riffs and received high praise from the critics for songwriting on their second album, Visions of A Life! We highly recommend listening to “Don’t Delete The Kisses” and “Smile.” 🎸

We hope that this beginner’s guide to indie pop is helpful in showing you artists you might enjoy! Let us know your new favorite songs or even a few artists we might have missed on our Instagram or Twitter, and happy listening! 🎧

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