2010 was a breakthrough year for Indie bands

Ellie Hess and Bailey Bieda, 10th Grade

The year 2010 was a breakthrough year for the genre known as independent rock — “indie” for short.  An Indie band won Album of the Year, an award usually reserved for big-name artists like U2 and Taylor Swift, backed by big record labels. Several bands have been on the Top 100 lists, a list dominated by mainstream pop artists.

Indie bands aren’t trying to please people. They experiment, making everything different. Their aim is to create something completely unique, unlike anything else that’s been played.  Now, it seems, more people have grown tired of conveyer belt music, and are looking for something new. Indie is here to quench their musical thirst.

Here are some bands that have become increasingly popular — even here at Shalhevet.

Bon Iver

Although the band Bon Iver has not come out with a new album recently, their last album, For Emma, Forever Ago (2008) is still a favorite for Indie folk fans everywhere. The name of the band, Bon Iver — “good winter” in French — sets a wintery tone for the majority of its songs. Lead singer Justin Vernon is known for having a soft voice that’s capable of calming one down especially after a stressful day.  The album has a cozy feeling leaving the listener wanting a blanket and hot chocolate.

For Emma, Forever Ago was inspired by  a poignant time in the artist’s life. Vernon was inspired to write this soulful music after losing his job and breaking up with his girlfriend Emma,  Some songs to look for on the album are “Skinny Love,” “Blood Bank,” “Creature Fear” and “For Emma.”

Originally from Wisconsin, Bon Iver band members also include T Michael Noyce, Sean Carey and Matthew McCaughan. Vernon is also a member of the band Gayngs, which has a slightly edgier and more electronic sound. Bon Iver has has many similarities to the Fleet Foxes, Grizzly Bear, Sufjan Stevens and Iron and Wine.



Deerhunter’s newest album, Halcyon Digest, debuted Sept. 28; previous albums include Microcastle and Cryptograms. Known for their dreamy phantom sounds, musical experimentation and great song writing, the band presents all of that in its newest album.

Songs to look for on the album include “Coranado,” with a great piano and sax combination, “Desire Lines,” “Basement Scene” and “Revival.” Over time the band has developed a softer, more melodic sound, making this album the most pleasant yet.

Based in Atlanta, Deerhunter was formed in 2001 by lead singer and guitarist Bradford Cox, along with Moses Archuleta, Josh Fauver and Lockett Pundt.  Cox is also a member of Atlas Sound, which has many musical similarities to Deerhunter.


Congratulations is another favorite record from the past year.  This album’s first single, “Flash Delirium,” caught ear of many with it’s light and fun mood.  It’s like listening to a more modern and edgier version of the Beach Boys.

Beach House

Another band that did very well this past year was Beach House. Their album Teen Dream became a huge Indie hit and with their soothing vocals and exceptional instrumentals topped many charts. It has become one of the best indie albums of this year.

Arcade Fire

Arcade Fire’s The Suburbs is a critically acclaimed album that focuses on what it feels like to be an adult who has wasted time romanticizing the notion of wasted youth.  While the lyrics may be gloomy, the music is buoyed the band’s unique vocals, and the wide range of songs. It is safe to say that Arcade Fire had a great year — especially considering the fact that it won Album of the Year at the Grammys.

It’s pretty safe to say that 2010 was a great year for independent artists. There are heaps upon heaps of albums from this year that will be classics in years to come.