Five Forgotten Indie Bands

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If you are of the Indie wanker persuasion, like me, then feast your eyes (and ears) on these bad boys. All of those listed below have been around for quite some time. Yet, because – for some mysterious reason - society dictates ‘good music’ to consist of a hell of a lot of whining and auto tune, they’ve never really made it to number one.



1.   ‘Pavement’

Our first band comes all the way from sunny California. If one were to define ‘Pavement’, it would be one who suffers severe lethargy - but with a voice so gravelly yet damn attractive, that you would be happy to sit back and let them read you the whole of the Oxford English dictionary from cover to cover. Their lyrics speak volumes as well. It’s not sentimental drivel, and neither is it pretentious, stuck-up nonsense. Ranging from songs about hair-cuts in ‘Cut Your Hair’, to advice on shutting up and getting on with life in ‘Elevate Me Later’, the band has done pretty well considering that most people have never really heard of them. They even managed to curate their own festival entitled ‘All Tomorrow’s Parties’ –which, in my opinion, is very impressive indeed.


Best Tracks:

‘Elevate Me Later’

‘Cut Your Hair’

‘Gold Sounds’

‘Stop Breathing’


2.   ‘The Cribs’

Many, many years ago, in the small northern town of Wakefield, a group of brothers decided to start making music. They were, as it happens, very good at it, and to date have produced and recorded five studio albums. However, they’ve never reached the iconic status of bands such as ‘The Libertines’. Maybe it was because they didn’t have a dress code of military jackets. Maybe if the Jarman brothers had gotten into smack, things would have turned out differently. Alas, their frank lyrics and schizophrenic guitar riffs have been, for the main part, overlooked. Unless of course you include ‘Man’s Needs’ - which many people know of, but don’t actually know who wrote it. Cult-like in music circles, but pretty unknown to the unwashed masses, we can only hope the holy trio continues their legacy of unapologetic indie.


Best Tracks:

‘Glitters Like Gold’

‘Be Safe’

‘Hello… Oh’

‘You Were Always the one’

  • Actually, sod it. I can’t do this, it’s like ‘Sophie’s Choice’… listen to all of it.


3.   ‘Hefner’

In 1996, when Britpop ruled the country and Tony Blair was gearing up for New Labour, a motely bunch of lads formed ‘Hefner’ in the heart of East London. Their lyrics encapsulate the sweetness of falling in love - ‘and the taste of her tongue, it made me wish I’d given up smoking’ - whilst also managing to acknowledge the wide variety of cigarettes throughout the globe, in ‘Hymn for Cigarettes’. It is a song which begins with the simplest of one-note chords, before the crescendo brings it into a symphonic mesh of guitars and drums. The exception lays in ‘Don’t Go’ - a simple yet somewhat beautiful celebration about going out for dinner, coming home, and ‘doing it on the floor’. With their simple melodies and curious lyrics, what more could you ask for?


Best Tracks:

‘I Took Her Love For Granted’

‘I Love Only You’

‘Don’t Go’


4.   ‘The Kills’

In the recent years, ‘The Kills’ appear to have made a surge in popularity. It has only been since the release of the most recent album, the brilliant ‘Blood Pressures’ - coinciding with the marriage of the lead singer to a certain leggy supermodel - that they appear to have become more popular. Years before Miss Moss came onto the scene however, ‘The Kills’ were still banging out some sweet and heavy rock albums. 2003’s ‘Keep on Your Mean Side’ and 2008’s ‘Midnight Boom’ are the prime examples. Fronted by the rather delectable Alison Mosshart - whose vocals can take on covers that range from Patsy Cline’s ‘Crazy’ to Fleetwood Mac - it is unclear as to why ‘The Kills’ have, up until a few years ago, been one of the most underrated bands in the industry.


Best Tracks:

‘Baby Says’

‘Cheap and Cheerful’

‘Kissy Kissy’

‘Black Balloon’

‘Crazy (Patsy Cline Cover)’


5.   Elliot Smith 

A troubled man, and yet a rather brilliant musician and lyrist. Suffering from drug addiction and depression, Smith managed to encapsulate through his music the utter tragedy that he lived through. His songs range from the simple use of acoustic guitar to convey his addiction in ‘Everything Reminds Me of Her’, to the crashing mind-fuck that is the opening bars to ‘Coast to Coast’. His music is rather shocking, but at the same time it has a melancholy truth to it. You can really feel that here is a man who is really fucked off with life. Talented to the extreme (he played guitar and piano on several of his albums), his vocals are soft yet somewhat disturbing - perhaps somewhat understandable from a man that committed suicide in 2003, by stabbing himself in the chest with a knife. His last album ‘From a Basement on the Hill’ was released posthumously. Despite the violence that ended his life, Smith left behind a legacy of music that was tragic, yet had a certain element of gruesome beauty to it. It is music that to my mind has never been fully appreciated. 


Best Tracks:

‘Pretty (Ugly Before)’

‘In the Lost and Found’


‘Can’t Make a Sound’

‘Junk Bond Trader’



Joanna Bateson-Hill

Originating from Brixton, London, I study Theatre and Performance at University of Leeds. I love everything to do with film, theatre and most of all writing, with the occasional bit of swimming thrown in for good measure. I hope to write articles that make people laugh but also make them think. To me, writing is a fun, cheap and healthier form of therapy. I hope that people have as much fun reading my articles as I do writing them, which is a lot.


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