Indie (and indie-ish) rock/folk from the last few years

I discovered Sufjan Stevens on Sirius radio about 3 years ago and he quickly became one of my favorite - if not my favorite - musicians. I’ve been slowly getting more and more into this kind of music since then, and a lot lately. I’m wondering what your thoughts are. I’d like to talk about bands you’re listening to, and the type of music itself. Has anyone noticed that Best Music lists tend to be ridiculously slanted towards this stuff? Does that mean I have great taste or I’m just as much of a sucker as they are?

Anyway, lately I’ve been listening to:

Iron and Wine
Titus Andronicus
LCD Soundsystem (a little poppy/“dancey” for my taste but can sometimes manage to be catchy, funny, and profound at the same time, which is awesome.)
The Decemberists (I’m liking a lot of their stuff, but what’s up with the singer’s voice? Sounds like a made up accent. Just another instrument, though, I guess.)
Arcade Fire (I like them, but I don’t quite get the critical fellating yet. I’m trying.)
Animal Collective (they sometimes feel a little “weird for weird’s sake,” but they’re growing on me.)

And my favorite since Sufjan Stevens . . . MGMT. I can’t get enough of these guys right now. Their last album, Oracular Spectacular was good, and catchy, and dense enough for plenty of re-listens, but their new one, Congratulations, is just phenomenal. It’s so much more dense and mature. I seriously think this is a band to watch. They’ve already made some amazing music, and I have a feeling their best work could be in the future. If you haven’t seen it, check out the video to Flash Delirium. Great stuff, visually and musically.

So, thoughts? Anybody listening to these bands or similar bands/musicians?

I just saw MGMT front row at Red Rocks. Solid show and it was sold out, they are super popular right now. What about Death Cab for Cutie, silversun Pickups or The New Pornographers? Personally I am loving Local Natives, Ghostland Observatory and Vampire Weekend a lot. Oh! And Yeasayer! Anyway, hope at least one of those tickles your earbuds.

I love Iron & Wine a lot, and though I consider The Hazards of Love one of the best albums of all time, I am pretty indifferent to the rest of The Decemberists’ discography. I don’t really get why everyone seems to be so hung up on Meloy’s voice, though. It doesn’t sound particularly odd to me, but you’re the third or fourth person I’ve seen or heard say something about it in the past six weeks or so.

Since indie rock, like alternative before it, is so inclusive, I have a hard time differentiating it as a distinct style from similar genres, but some of the indie artists I especially dig on are:

                   **Tegan and Sara**
                   **Wye Oak** (Take it In and Mary is Mary are both amazingly epic songs that give me chills)

Regina Spektor
Ingrid Michaelson (got turned onto her at the most recent Bonnaroo. I need to see her again at a more intimate venue)
Neko Case (solo only. I am indifferent to Neko Case and Her Boyfriends and The New Pornographers)
**She & Him **(I like M. Ward too, but I have a prediliction towards female singers)
April March (mostly her French ye-ye songs. I can take or leave her English songs)
**Jose Gonzalez
Karen Elson **(Jack White’s wife. She just released her first album, and it’s my album of the year so far)

…and here’s the inevitable link to KEXP.

How about:

Company of Thieves
The Avett Brothers
The Soft Pack

Thanks for the recommendations, but expand on them a little bit. I’m more interested in discussing who they are, what they sound like, why you like them, etc. I’m pretty good at finding lists of band names for myself.

Popularity in music is really weird now. I know MGMT is huge. Their videos on Youtube have millions of hits. All the articles about them mention their meteoric rise to fame and fortune. And yet I do not know a single person who has ever heard of them. Even my hyper-aware of music and pop culture friend said “why haven’t I ever seen this?” when I showed him one of their videos. I guess there’s just so much out there now competing for everybody’s eyes and ears that you can miss some pretty popular stuff, even if you’re paying attention.

I wouldn’t say I’m hung up on it . . . I’d say more often than not, I like it . . . but you really don’t find it odd? The first song I heard by them was the Mariner’s Revenge Song, and I found his voice so weird that I just automatically assumed it was something he did special for that particular song. When I heard some of their other stuff I was pretty surprised that he uses that affect so consistently. Like I said, it sounds like a fake accent. Like country singers who do that over-the-top twangy thing. No one actually talks like that; they put it on for the performance.

I haven’t been following newer indie rock bands, but Dinosaur Jr, Built to Spill, Sloan and The Flaming Lips have all put out records in the past couple of years. Although not all of their records are excellent, there is a reason why these bands have remained popular over long period. They have all made many great records and their new stuff is still strong. Oh, the** Breeders** have a new album too and it’s good.

Wha? Kids, *Electric Feel *and Time To Pretend were enormous and overplayed hereabouts. My friend was djing a lot when those songs were big and the interesting thing was that no matter what type of club he was playing at, someone would request those songs. In contrast their second album (artistic merit notwithstanding) seems to have been a relative flop.

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How about:

Company of Thieves

Clicked on Company of Thieves and loved it. Her voice is the best part. Reminds me of the “liltiest” song I ever heard:

MGMT is hugely popular among music snob circles, but the general public really has no idea who they are. Cisco’s right, music has fractured so much that even the most popular bands outside of say U2 or Coldplay are unknown to the majority of people.

Well they seem to be more popular in Ireland MGMT discography - Wikipedia than in other countries, hence my perception. The point of my post was that those songs were popular with a disparate crowd, they were mainly young but from different subcultures. They were also overplayed on the main local radio stations.

The best folk rock band currently recording is Carbon Leaf. You can find a ton of clips on youtube from their live shows because they encourage the taping of them. I’ve seen them three times so far, and they don’t disappoint. I suggest you listen to songs such as “American Tale,” “Desperation Song,” “Another Man’s Woman,” “The Boxer,” and “A Life Less Ordinary.” If you like those, you’ll like them. Oh, they have close ties with Great Big Sea so you’ll probably find their version of “Mary Mac” too.

Speaking of MGMT: this weekend I was trying to find release years and albums for MP3s in my collection that lack them, and was startled to learn that one of the guys in MGMT was in the parody band Glitter Penis back when he was in high school! Ten years ago I never would have believed that either kid in Glitter Penis would have made it…

As for other indie recs, you could click the link in my signature. I posted this month’s recs this morning, and the keyword at the end of the post will direct you to a year’s worth of recommendations.

Agree. Her voice reminds me of Björk.

Here’s another nice clip, an impromptu acoustic number.

I find Andrew Bird kind of in the Sufjan Stevens vein – less personal but literate lyrics, odd orchestrations, pretty and ornate melodies.

You might give Neko Case a shot. She’s a singer in the abovementioned New Pornographers and her solo stuff is pretty great (and has been moving away from the alt-country thing she’s known for).

Maybe Monsters of Folk might fit? Conor Oberst and some other I guess Indie types got together and formed this modestly-named group. But they’ve gotten a lot of airplay around here.

And maybe Blitzen Trapper – I really liked the title song from “Furr”, although not all of the rest of their stuff has been to my taste.

Ok, I can’t believe nobody has mentioned Fleet Foxes yet. There’s also:

The Acorn. One of my favorite bands these days, these guys just have great songs with good melodies, great lyrics and vocals. They do great acoustic ballads as well as energetic banjo-tinged foot-stompers (which sounds great, not at all like cheesy hillbilly hootenanny stuff). Great song, and another, one of my favorites.
Just got this album the other day, and liking it: Broken Bells.

I also agree with many other recommendations in the thread – The New Pornographers, a collective with a wide variety of sounds; Built to Spill, a great grungy/folky band that my Dad says is like if John Lennon had ever collaborated with Neil Young and Crazy Horse.

I think it was this sentence that doomed the OP.

As for me, I’m just now, after missing years and years of the newer Indie stuff, trying to catch back up, so I don’t even know half the bands you guys are mentioning.

I enjoy many of the bands already named. Monsters of Folk is a good album.

The Avett Brothers, originally from North Carolina, have been around for awhile but have hit the big time. Their older stuff had more of a raw immediacy (some might say it was merely sloppy ;)) and their latest album, produced by Rick Rubin is more polished. Regardless, I like their stuff, it can rock hard, it can be folky or meditative, but it always is earnest and personal. With the Avetts it is everything from banjo to squealing electric guitar, but it’s usually on the softer, country side.
Try out the new album, I and Love and You, or Emotionalism.

Another band I enjoy but am not that familiar with yet is Freelance Whales.
I only have a couple tracks from them (Generator First Floor, Generator Second Floor) but they have that clever urban lyrics with glockenspiel and banjo
indie ring to them. The tracks I bought are better in their final form than what you might find on Youtube.

A band I am really enjoying right now is Frightened Rabbit, not sure they exactly have a folkie sound, though. I love their “Swim Until You Can’t See Land.”
They are from Glasgow–so much good music from there the last decade or so.

Josh Rouse has had a great evolution that should be more noticed. He started off showing off his Smiths influence heavily but it was twinged with a little Bruce Springsteen. His albums have moved through time, timbre, and space and have morphed into new fields while retaining his sense of melody. His latest, El Turista, shows his move to Spain with some heavily influenced numbers.