10 Indie Rock Bands for the Pretentious Hipster Within All of Us

by Cady Inabinett

As someone who listens to an excessive amount of indie rock, I can safely say that there’s just something about the feeling you get when you mention a band no one has heard of. While popular music is definitely popular for a reason, sometimes your favorite music can be found under the radar. So, I figured I would cobble together some indie bands (and singers) for when you want to feel like a pretentious hipster.

  1. The Decemberists

Who doesn’t love indie folk rock with lyrics that you need a dictionary to understand and a heaping side of murder? The Decemberists offer all of this, and a lot more folklore and drowning to go along with it. If you’ve ever wanted to listen to an electronic pirate shanty or a nine-minute song about being stranded in the belly of a whale, then The Decemberists have you covered. Plus you’ll increase your vocabulary tenfold with words like “paragon”, “arabesque”, “fontanelle”, “gabardine”, and “dowager”, improving your pretentious hipster levels tenfold too.

2. Hippo Campus

Like I said in the intro, sometimes you can find some of the best music under the radar, and that’s what this band is for me. I have listened to their album Landmark easily over thirty times since I discovered them in May. In my opinion, this band takes some of the best classic rock elements: memorable guitar riffs, bass parts that are to die for, amazing vocals, and rhythms that you can headbang to, which tie into many memorable and original tracks.

3. Declan McKenna

Declan McKenna is indie pop at its finest. With a sound reminiscent of David Bowie, this young singer tackles social issues head-on with catchy songs: his song “Paracetamol” deals with gender identity, “Brazil” discusses the economic and social inequality that greatly divides Brazil, and “The Kids Don’t Want to Come Home” could easily become the anthem of a generation. But if you truly want to be a pretentious hipster; you’re going to want to hop on this bandwagon soon because I can easily see Declan McKenna becoming a sensation.

4. Little Simz

Okay, I’ve talked about indie rock and indie pop already, but what about indie rap? Seeing as Little Simz is pretty much the only rapper I listen to on a slightly consistent basis, I’m not the most qualified person to talk about her. However, I had Nane Onanyan, someone who listens to rap almost constantly, listen to one of her songs. She subsequently described her as, “talented, brilliant, incredible, amazing, showstopping, spectacular,” as well as a “Queen of Rap.” So, take that how you will.

5. Remo Drive

Have you ever just been so angry and angsty that you felt the need to have some sort of equally angry and angsty music to go along with it? Well, luckily for you Remo Drive has you covered. I mean what else could you expect from a band who has a song titled “Yer Killin’ Me”? It feels like all of their songs go out to someone’s bleeding heart, but they still manage to make best songs to aggressively headbang and lip sync to.


This is another indie pop band that I’m surprised hasn’t become popular. Their songs harken to easy going summertime vibes. In contrast to my last suggestion, this is the perfect music to put you in a good mood. Not only that, but they’re perfect for dancing by yourself to.

7. Last Dinosaurs

This Australian band offers extremely guitar driven tracks with the addition of lyrics that have just the right amount of pretentiousness.

8. Corsicana

I feel the best way to describe Corsicana’s music is with their own description, which is “Indie rock with ambient, shoegaze, post-rock, and electronic influences.” Also, their music is only available on SoundCloud as of right now. If that’s not hipster enough for you, then I’m sorry, but there’s nothing I can do for you.

9. Neutral Milk Hotel

Neutral Milk Hotel is a classic, stereotypical hipster band. I started listening to them as a joke because of that, but they’re actually not that bad for a band whose genres, according to Google, include “folk punk” and “noise rock”.

10. Bad Suns

Bad Suns are here for your aesthetic. This LA band sings about heartbreak often, but more anything their songs are about not caring about heartbreak. They’re sort of like Lana Del Rey but with less pop and more rock.

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