What you should be listening to: A look at three of the most talked about bands in indie music

Since Seth Cohen first blared the sounds of Death Cab for Cutie and Kings of Leon on everyone’s favorite guilty pleasure, The OC, chances are that either you or your peers first discovered the indie genre. Here is a look at three of the most talked about bands in indie music at the moment:

Animal Collective: The Washington D.C./New York City/Lisbon-based band produces music as diverse as their varied geographic locations. After the success of their last album, Strawberry Jam, the Baltimore-bred quartet released their latest EP, Water Curses, this past spring.

The four-song showcase continues the unusual trends found on Strawberry Jam, with its absurdly assorted mix of sounds – ranging from a creaking floorboard to popcorn kernels – and the same uncanny style that has earned them the status of being one of the most ingenious indie bands in a decade.

Their much-anticipated album, Merriweather Post Pavillion – named after their favorite venue in their home state of Maryland – is due out in January of next year and is quickly becoming one of the most talked about discs of 2009.

Deerhunter: Sure, their name is unconventional, but that seems to be a pervasive theme in indie music. Nevertheless, what defines the Atlanta-based quintet is their new album, Microcastle/Weird Era Cont., which was released in October.

Consider it a new type of American avant garde, with soothing tunes leaving audiences polarized; think the Yeah Yeah Yeahs with less vocals and more instrumental melodies.

The band remains a relative newcomer on the indie circuit but if early returns are any indication, expect this latest record to be their breakthrough.

Vampire Weekend: Since the release of their self-titled album in January, the band has catapulted to unprecedented success, winning praises from such coveted publications as Rolling Stone. Its hit track, “A-Punk” has garnered nearly 5 million hits on YouTube launching the band into something of an Internet phenomenon.

The foursome, who met while undergrads at Columbia, have become the poster boys of the indie scene and do not disappoint with their innovative sounds. Compact with pioneering material, each song on the album is inspired by anything from preppy to old West African pop, which the members identify as the Afro-preppy-new-wave genre. There is a persistent theme throughout and that is the use of drums, which is a testament to their enthrallment with African rhythms.

The album’s most redeemable quality is that it is fresh. It is a unique combination of alluring sounds and lyrics that takes you from the campus of Columbia to the WASP getaways of the New England coast. Every song is unlike the last and just when you think you may have figured out their style, these very gifted musicians surprise you with yet another twist, leaving you wanting for more.

November 19, 2008


Daniel Medina

Contributing Columnist

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