Ten Flawless Indie Rock Albums

Indie rock is a huge blanket term so don’t be surprised if some of the albums listed came out on a major label, k?

1. Fever To Tell by Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Yeah Yeah Yeahs had a lot to prove with their debut album. Their first two EPS were met with major fanfare and every music critic seemed to be S-ing their D. People were expecting a masterpiece with Fever To Tell and thankfully they got one. It’s a filthy record, complete with Karen O’s signature moans and growls, and it takes you on a ride through dirty New York City with its sexy lyrics and raunchy guitar riffs. What was truly stupendous about the record, though, is that it had heart. The famous “Maps” and the closer “Modern Romance” revealed the sweet tender side of the band. It was like the nice sweet comedown from an insane drug binge. And you know what? I still love them. I know it feels so 2003 saying so but they’re still awesome.

2. Turn On The Bright Lights by Interpol

There must’ve been something in the water in the early ’00s {read: so much cocaine} because indie rock was riding an indestructible wave. You Are Free by Cat Power and Is This It? by The Strokes were career-making albums along with the first offering from NYC gloom rockers, Interpol. Like everyone else in their musical peer group, there was a lot of buzz surrounding the release of Turn On The Bright Lights and the boys didn’t disappoint. The album is epic with its swirling guitars and moody vocals. Yes, they sound sort of like Joy Division, and yes, the album is sort of a big downer but it’s a fucking good downer. Whenever I’m sad, I always knock on this album’s door and take solace. It’s never felt so good to feel so bleak.

3. The Boy With The Arab Strap by Belle & Sebastian

My relationship with this record started out on a sort of dramatic note. My older hip sister had been listening to them around the house and gave me the record late one night under the condition that I don’t tell any of my friends about. It was that special to her and she didn’t want the band to ever go mainstream. I did keep it a secret for a hot minute but the band went mainstream anyway when they hired Trevor Horn (a dude who produced a Seal album) to make Dear Catastrophe Waitress. I take some solace in knowing that we’ll always have The Boy With The Arab Strap though. The album is just beautiful. It’s twee without being annoying. It’s not necessarily delicate. Songs like “Sleep The Clock Around” demonstrate a tougher more anthemic sound. The darling Isobel Campbell was still doing vocals with them. It’s just pure contentment bottled in an album. Listen to it and tell ALL your friends.

4. Self-Titled by The Stone Roses


The seminal debut album by Manchester rock band, The Stone Roses, is important. It’s what people mean when they call records important. Released in 1989, the album quickly became revered by critics and was labeled one of the most important British rock albums ever. And with good reason. Even though the group sometimes falls into that Manchester sound that was popularized by groups like The Smiths and Happy Monday, The Stone Roses were different. For one, their music was happier. It sounds more like Britpop, with its upbeat harmonies and cheerful drumming. It basically took Manchester’s frown and turned it upside down. Unfortunately, the group only released two records but their musical legacy is everlasting. Obsessed.

5. Loveless by My Bloody Valentine

I mean, duh. Do we even need to discuss? This album was the bomb.com and basically defined shoegaze to a generation. It’s so dark with its hazy guitars and fuzz drenched vocals. It’s definitely not something you should play on a picnic. But it’s amazing anytime you’re feeling pensive, stoned, or both.

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Ryan O'Connell

I'm a brat.

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