Ten Flawless Indie Rock Albums

6. Become What You Are by The Juliana Hatfield Three

I actually think this was one of the few albums of Juliana’s that was put out on a major label but whatever, it has a very D.I.Y. attitude. Juliana Hatfield was basically the Every Girl of the ’90s. She wrote super relatable pop songs about being a girl and having anxiety and lusting over boys. This album put her on the charts with its irresistible hooks and sing-songy vocals. It just feels so earnest. Her heartache is palpable in the way that she delivers her vocals. You just want to give her a hug and talk shit with her.

7. Self-Titled by Vivian Girls

Vivian Girls were yet another buzzband who made good on their hype with their first album. I can’t really describe what makes this album so special. The songs are short and all occasionally blend together, but there’s this energy that just leaps out of the music. It makes every chord and beat ring with a sense of urgency that draws you into the sound. Plus, who can resist a bunch of girls ripping on their guitars?

8. You Forgot It In People by Broken Social Scene

Broken Social Scene are the U2 of the indie rock world and I mean that in the best way possible. Their music is sweeping arena rock and they deliver some of the most exciting sounds in music today. They switch from genre to genre seamlessly with a team of indie rock’s finest like Emily Haines of Metric and Feist. You Forgot It In People shows the band in its prime. Songs like “Anthems for A Seventeen-Year-Old Girl” and “Lover’s Spit” are haunting and will tug at your heart strings while more aggressive tracks like “Stars And Sons” will have you almost dancing. The record is seriously like an indie rock buffet and it tastes so good.

9. Last Splash by The Breeders

Ugh, I’m sorry there is so much vagina on this list but I guess that’s just how I roll. Kim Deal is one tough bitch and she roars through this record like a bat out of hell. “Cannonball” is perhaps their most famous song but jams like “No Aloha” and “Saints” are equally delicious. What I liked about indie acts in the 90s is that they weren’t afraid to be completely poppy. Records like Last Splash are unabashed in their catchy melodies, which makes me think they weren’t afraid to write hits. Their attitude was indie I guess but their records screamed pop. Love that. You can still be subversive while writing music that gets stuck in your head. Look at Le Tigre!

10. Crazy For You by Best Coast

I was so scared to put this on the list. You guys have me living in FEAR. There are a lot of haters out there but I don’t care because I love this band. Crazy For You is an amazing record from start to finish with its honey-soaked vocals and jangly guitars. What I like about this band is sort of what I liked about the chicks from the 90s. They’re going to write the most mainstream music while still maintaing an indie edge and they don’t give a fuck. Clearly. They’re going to “ooh ooh baby” their way to the top and I love them for it. TC mark

image – Vivian Girls


Ryan O'Connell

I'm a brat.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/plansgetcomplex Brian Robin

    Kudos on YFIIP.

    Now we just need Transatlanticism up in this piece.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=707272007 Alex Thayer

    best coast?  really?

    where’s in the aeroplane over the sea?  under the western freeway?  is this it?  crooked rain, crooked rain?  yankee hotel foxtrot? the meadowlands?


    • http://twitter.com/joshliburdi Josh Liburdi

      yes @ the meadowlands. a thousand times yes.

    • Anonymous

      you are right, i like you

    • Guest

      It’s not a top ten.

  • http://facebook.com/sdouglas Scott

    That’s more like it, O’Connell. I take back what I commented earlier today.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_HYTLXH3LX6NTP2SJDQKOZDH6HA AZJay1007

    Did anyone ask where “Funeral” was on this list?

    • yep

      fuck. arcade. fire. they suck.

    • http://twitter.com/neuroboy Chris Borger

      I kinda feel like, whereas Ryan calls BSS the new U2 “in the best way possible”, that Arcade Fire are the flip side of the coin and embody the overwrought, overreaching, please-just-get-over-yourselves arena rock aspects of U2. 

      Y’know, I’m jus’ sayin’.

  • http://twitter.com/blingless Dave P

    A very poor list. Any top 10 indie rock albums list that omits Pavement’s “Slanted and Enchanted” is suspect, to say nothing of records by Guided by Voices or Sebadoh. These are touchstones, unlike Vivian Girls or Best Coast.

    • meredith

       truth. I think that any post 2005 indie rock is just a buzz band.

    • meredith

       truth. I think that any post 2005 indie rock is just a buzz band.

    • http://twitter.com/no_cazador hunter ray

      oh yeah GBV. Saw them in Atlanta last October…. oh my fuck I died(May have been the 8 whiskey cokes I had).

      • http://twitter.com/neuroboy Chris Borger

        agreed. Bee Thousand = flawless.

    • Guest

      It’s not a top ten, asshole!

      • http://twitter.com/blingless Dave P

        Fine. Still, this list is seriously lacking in some crucial fucking history. Nice call on the Breeders, though.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_HYTLXH3LX6NTP2SJDQKOZDH6HA AZJay1007

    Sorry to criticize first. It’s a really good list IMO.

  • Cole

    No “You’re Living All Over Me” from Dinosaur Jr? That’s the best album EVER.

    But yeah, props for putting Belle and Sebastian up there. I love that record.

    • http://twitter.com/blingless Dave P

      Dinosaur are absolutely essential to indie rock.

  • Derby

    love that BSS song

  • http://twitter.com/jennifersussex Jennifer Sussex

    aww interpol. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/CaseyJonesATX Casey Jones

    Your first page is on point. I don’t know about the second one.

  • Anonymous

    Last Splash is probably my favorite anything album, ever. Interesting to include it and no Pixies

  • http://twitter.com/brandollars Brandon Silverman

    How “Emergency & I” by the Dismemberment Plan didn’t make this list, I have no idea. That’s the epitome of a perfect indie album. And get Vivian Girls off there – they truly are not good. Anybody can cover the fact that they can’t play their instruments with reverb and fuzz.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=707272007 Alex Thayer

      incredible album

    • http://twitter.com/neuroboy Chris Borger


  • http://twitter.com/brandollars Brandon Silverman

    How “Emergency & I” by the Dismemberment Plan didn’t make this list, I have no idea. That’s the epitome of a perfect indie album. And get Vivian Girls off there – they truly are not good. Anybody can cover the fact that they can’t play their instruments with reverb and fuzz.

  • http://twitter.com/Otterom otterom

    Not sure if The National counts, but High Violet is pretty good.

  • http://fwp.me Calvin Camus

    I have opinions about music, too!

  • Jay

    What a fucking shitstorm. The article is titled “Ten Flawless Indie Rock Albums” not the top ten of all time” or something to that effect. Calm down, it’s a great list.

    • asdf

      Seriously, what a FUCKING shit storm. I can’t believe I even attempted to read the comments. 

    • damo

      the comments on TC are oftentimes fucking ridiculous. i’ve learnt to tune out about 75% of them.

  • Sfav

    there’s no way i’m gonna read the comments on this

  • Anonymous

    1) How can you limit the list to just 10?
    2) Isn’t Indie music just Adult Contemporary these days?  I mean, my friend’s dad who is a pastor turned us on to Sufjan Stevens when we were in high school for Christ’s Sake.

    • http://twitter.com/joshliburdi Josh Liburdi

      this comment is amazing for several reasons, none of which i will explain.

  • http://twitter.com/no_cazador hunter ray

    SORRY BUT FUCK BEST COAST. saw them live. les snooze. and I hate how it’s just a cult of personality around that lead singer chick that I don’t even have time to google her name….bethany?

    • your cousin

      True, Best Coast was one of the most boring shows I’ve ever been to in my life.

    • damo

      blame carles, man.

  • jacquesdacroc

    I’m new to “Indie Rock” but BRO WE DEF NEED DEATH CAB 4 CUTIE. WTF BRO?  

  • http://twitter.com/HipsterFriend HipsterFriend

    What about Kings of Leon? They’re like, totally indie.

    But for real, I think people are missing that this is a ten list, but not a top ten list.

    That said, I would not call any Interpol record flawless, and Crazy For You is certainly good but not in the same league as, say, Loveless or Fever to Tell. I would have replaced those with The Libertines’ self-titled and The Moon & Antarctica.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=707272007 Alex Thayer

      turn on the bright lights is pretty flawless bro

      • http://twitter.com/klehrdealie klehr dealie

        “My best friend’s from Poland and, um, he has a beard.”
        it is totally flawless. i love that album

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=707272007 Alex Thayer

        he was growing on me


    • Guest

      Kings of Leon blow

      • http://twitter.com/HipsterFriend HipsterFriend

        That was the point [via sarcasm]. Hence the “but for real” to qualify that I meant the first line as sarcastic.

  • Diddly


  • Frank Tas, the Raptor

    If you like Vivian Girls you should check out Black Tambourine, Shop Assistants, Henry’s Dress, The Diskettes, Betty and the Werewolves, Heavenly, The Softies, Rose Melberg, The Raincoats, The Shaggs, The Slits, Boyracer, The Wedding Present, This Poison!, The Bright Lights, Velocity Girl, and any bands associated with these, if you haven’t already. If you like Juliana Hatfield you should check out Sleater-Kinney (duh), Throwing Muses, Elastica, Cub, Gaze, Bunky, and any bands associated with these, if you haven’t already. There are probably more but those are a good start. Sincerely, Someone who read this list and then felt like a concerned parent

    • Guest

      all these things are good things

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1363230138 Michael Koh

    I really like Interpol’s old stuff. Vivian Girls… meh

  • Anatole

    Regarding Broken Social Scene, wasn’t U2 also at one time the U2 of the indie music world, rather than now being the U2 of the just the music world?

    Disclaimer: I am a rabid U2 fan, yet a bit of a hipster. I love a few Wilco songs, LOVE Yeah Yeah Yeahs, LOVE the Strokes, LOVE Coldplay, ABSOLUTELY HATE Man Man (and by extension, the entire “twee” genre), and, being a New Yorker, love coffee from Joe. I am comfortable with loving certain mainstream bands, loving certain indie bands, and comfortable with wishing that the best indie bands meet with mainstream success.

    Now please be gentle in your evisceration of my tastes, smiley-face.

    • Guest

      Ew, Coldplay.  

      • Anatole

        Well, lemme rephrase: I BECAME a huge fan of Coldplay after seeing the Viva La Vida tour, whereas in 8th grade I merely liked “Yellow.”

        Oh, I also LOVE Death Cab, now. Yes, I’m one of the post-Plans posers, hah hah.

    • Drakesucks

      man man is not twee. Nowhere near it. Probably the antithesis of twee. That’s not even subjective.

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