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Cool Indie Songs of the 2010s


Tips for Indie Musicians

State of the Music World 2018


Whatever happened to great songs and innovative artists? The radio has become flooded with cookie-cutter sounds, forcing many music fans to pursue great music online. The problem is, it can take hours sifting through unknown music just to find a few amazing gems. Granted, different people have different tastes, but it's clear that radio does not meet the needs of people who love original music. So here are some indie artists subjectively and objectively chosen by Playlist Research to represent a place to start.

There is no one strict methodology this list is based on. None of these listings are paid. They merely represent songs by independent and regional artists that deserve to be heard by a wider audience. Another thing these songs have in common is that they don't sound like the mainstream but exhibit unique qualities in lyrics and melody. Artist names are linked to artist websites and videos.

If you want to suggest additions to this list please make sure it's not cookie-cutter sounding music that imitates what's on the charts. Playlist Research wants to help true music fans discover authentic, original and meaningful music. So if you have ideas, include "Cool Indie Song Suggestion" in the subject title and submit the artist, song title and website address here.

The A List

Peter Perrett - How the West Was Won
Adrian West Band - Safe Streets
Courtney Barnett - Avant Gardener
The New Pornographers - War on the East Coast
James Cook - Arts and Sciences - Interview
Anton Barbeau - Clubbin' In Berlin - Interview
La Luz - Brainwash
Kally O'Mally - The Wild West Medicine Show
Abandon Theory - Always Late
The Latenite Callers - Calaveras
Dawn of Eros - Rolling and Bouncing
Lion Paw Media - Red Dye 40 Song
Revolution of the Mind - The Big Pharma
Gentry Fox - Ascension
MLO - Gone With the Wind
Elena Qarooni - Beautiful
Big Volcano - What Are You Trying To Tell Me?
Deer Park Avenue - Over Again
Dum Dum Girls - Bedroom Eyes
Robyn Cage - The Cave
Sarah Hadeka - Now I Know
Unpainted Souls - Traveling Light
Sleep Tights - All the Arrows
Empire of the Sea - West
Joy Villa - Get Your Freedom
Makena Hartlin - Blue Lights
Boxhead featuring Kiahna - The Days Before
Manic Organica - Island Agent
Young Summer - Fever Dream
Dollyrots - First World Anarchist
The Nowherenauts - Warned You
David Conley - Time To Be a Child
Sabrina Lentini - You & Me
Space Waves - Older and Farther Away
Kia Carra - Lady
Ana Free - We Could Be
Lucius - Turn It Around
Dawn Luxe - Me

Where do these cool indie songs come from? Several sources that range from public radio and websites where indie music is showcased such as Facebook, ReverbNation, SoundCloud, BandCamp and many other sources.


More Cool Indie Songs


Courtney Barnett - City Looks Pretty
Years of Suns - The Undertow
VanDeRocker - Morse Code
Sophie Lloyd - Delusions
Hollow Coves - Ran Away
Still Corners - The Trip
Joe Vitale, Jr. - Fight or Self Destruct
Parks, Squares and Alleys - We're Not Just Friends
Surf Curse - Forever Dumb
Peach Pit - Peach Pit
Parade of Lights - Inside My Head
VanDeRocker - Cupid's Sting
Kim Cheshire - Wake Me Up (When The War Is Over)
Abandon Theory - Ocean and Waves
Chris Meadors - Big Pharma
Nuriel - Beautiful Day
Suzanne Cook - Love Love Love
Courtney Barnett - Need A Little Time
Courtship - Sunroof
Janani - Three Step System
Dum-Chang - Atticus Finch
VanDeRocker - Kissing Booth
Ducktails - Surreal Exposure
COAV - California
35th & Taylor - All American Nomad
The Streets - Push Things Forward
Michael Tracy - Stand Behind Me
35th & Taylor - Voices
Alex Caruso - Layaway
La Luz - Mean Dream
Crussia - Crussia
Andrew Shearer - Something Wild
Carla Fleming - Weapons Down
Mitch Capone - Bad Blood
White Owl Red - Sweet Jacqueline
Jessica Hart - In the Dark
The Bitter Elegance - Calling You Out
Peter Bjorn and John - Young Folks
La Luz - Morning High
Tipling Rock - Staring
Mars Water - Where the Sun Sets
The Public Secret - Beautiful Emptiness
The Boy and His Dog - I'd Be a Fool
The Verbtones - Take My Hand - Rock Me Out!
Motel Drive - Plastic Dashboard Jesus - $5 Tricks
Julia Kay - Reaching to the Moon - Glass Box
Yikes and the Bobby O Band - Superman Skeleton
The Ruse - I Can't Stop - Love Sex Confusion
Adrian West - Butterflies and Chameleons
La Luz - Don't Wanna Be Anywhere
Restwater - The First One
Bump - Out of Reach - Forward
Fazerdaze - Lucky Girl
Hidinin - Free But Hollow
Jonathan Coulton - Skullcrusher Mountain
Organos - Rides
Courtney Jones - Awake and Dreaming
Sahara Smith - The Real Thing
Judd Starr - Skies of Orange Fire
Kristine Mirelle - Show The World
Viva Brother - A Little Soul
Dark Times - Doom and Gloom
Laura Cox Band - Take Me Back Home
Stuck In The Sound - Let's Go
Suenos Band - Let's Celebrate
New Pornographers - This Is The World of The Theater
Emma Klein - Six Feet In The Dirt
Sara Haze - Beautiful Day
Morrisson - So Cool
Psychic Ills - Mind Daze
Road 88 - Not Gonna Happen
Ken Koenig - Never Be the Same
Mike Farrell - Devil May Care
Amberglance - World On Repeat
La Luz - Call Me in the Day
20 Eyes - Friends Like You
Jason Niemi - Chemical Reaction
Simon Hudson Band - Today
Marcus Alexander - Journey
Ricki B - Fallen Angel
Suzie Rose - Shame
The Lucid Dream - Bad Texan
New Pornographers - Whiteout Conditions
Resonars - Places You Have Been
Sheyana - Two Birds
The Haymarket Squares - I Wish There Was a God
Conscious Souls - American Beauty
Poppermost - Swan
Laura Cox Band - Good Ol' Days
Arcade Fire - I Give You Power
Craig Cardiff - Dirty Old Town
Swirl - Rise Up
Creature Canyon - Life I Know
David Conley - Secret Path
Sinners - Kingdom of Sound
Joe Hicks - Rest Your Head
Burnside & Hooker - Seasick Woman
Nick Capaldi - In My Shoes
Estra Berosini - Texas Tornado
SWIMM - Speak Politely
The Barr Brothers - Even the Darkness Has Arms
Jinka - Trash From the Past
Rob Stroup and the Blame - Glass Ceilings
Satin Jackets featuring David Harks - Northern Lights
Kainalu - Love Nebula
Suzanne Cook - You Don't Have To Do That
Elsa & Emilie - Chains of Promises
Mystic Braves - Desert Island
Astronauts of Antiquity - Everywhere
Devi - Howl At the Moon
Jason Niemi - Time Has No Memory
The L Project - It Does Get Better
Francesca Lee - Goodbye
Dexter Fairweather - Vacation
Mike Adams - Just Say No to GMO
Kevin Seconds - Hello Square One
Albert Cummings - 500 Miles
Roosevelt Radio - Midnight
The Peach Kings - Fisherman
Sam Coppenger - Life Lived in Young Fashion
Keilan Creech - Roaming
Cat Power - Ruin
May Devun - Are You In Love Today
Hitsleep - Maybe a Different Day
La Luz - Sure As Spring
The Wooden Birds - Criminals Win
Tripsitter - California Son
Mansions on the Moon - She Makes Me Feel
Beach House - Sparks
Pleasure Leftists - You, You
U.S. Girls - Woman's Work
Unknown Mortal Orchestra - Can't Keep Checking My Phone
Media Jeweler - Autopilot
Abra - Roses XOXO
Ira Wolf - Pictures on the Wall
The Sediment Club - Psychosymplistic, Psychosymplastic Here
Samantha Urbani - U Know I Know
La Luz - Cicada
Future Islands - The Chase
Shannon and the Clams - Corvette
Destruction Unit - If Death Ever Slept
Heathered Pearls - Interior Architecture Software
45 ACP - Ground to Ground
Mystic Braves - Bright Blue Day Haze
Suzie Rose - You Promised
Sabella - Loving Like This
The Marias - I Don't Know You
Mountain Language - Other Ends and Oblivions
Totally Mind - Move On
The Galleria - Calling Card
Eternal Summers - Together or Alone
Austmuteants - Echo Beach
Summer Salt - Driving To Hawaii
Arthur Russell - Ocean Movie
Adam Friedman - Signals
Sufjan Stevens - To Be Alone With You
Thundercat - Them Changes
Blood Orange - Do You See My Skin Through the Flames?
Liz Hackett - Already Gone
The Wealthy West - Silence
The Trubelos - Boomerang Girl
Ottawa - Fever
Lars Beck & Henri Purnell featuring Zekt - Silent Games
Molly Burch - Please Be Mine
Lindy Lafontaine - I Might Not Love You
Ron Wright - Helen's Song
Michael Tracy - Stand Behind Me
Laney Jones - Run Wild
La Luz - California Finally
Weather Pending - The Tide
Tommy Castro - The Definition of Insanity
The Kimberly Trip - California
Chelsea Wolfe - Iron Moon
Cake - Long Time
Abandon Theory - Money's Not Success
X-Day - I Lie
Soko - Sweet Sound of Ignorance
Foxes in Fiction - Ontario Gothic
Chris Hurn - If I Were You
Beach House - Depression Cherry
Sister Speak - Chicago Dreams
Nameless Horses - Rider
Psychic Reality - Island
Worriers - They / Them / Theirs
Deradoorian - A Beautiful Woman
Dave Douglas and High Risk - First Things First
Matrixxman - Augmented
Dead Vibrations - Reflections
Summer Salt - Candy Wrappers
Sheila K Cameron - Where the Last Tide Runs
Herb Stalk - Social Comment
A Beacon School - It's Late
The Bourgeois - Electric Shock Value
Lucys - Maybe
Amanda Hardy - Love Me I'm Rich
Pink Wash - Cancer Money
Adult Mom - Survival
Ten Sleep - Darkroom
Nicolas Jaar - The Three Sides of Audrey and Why She's All Alone Now
Golden Teacher - Like a Hawk
Nao - Inhale Exhale


The above indie artists and songs were selected based on creative musical and lyrical quality. These are songs a terrestrial or internet radio programmer may be looking for. Artist links go to artist profiles and websites while song links go to iTunes where you can purchase the song or album. Most of these artists have had an impact on their regional scenes and have their music available on iTunes. Selected songs meet an artistic and overall professional level and are believed by Playlist Research to have mass appeal and hit potential.

See also:

How to start a music project
Tips on how to produce music
Affordable ways to promote music online
Tips for indie musicians
Create your own music job


Interviews with Indie Artists


Northern California Americana Artist Amber Snider
Singer/songwriter Amber Snider frequently performs at venues in the Northern California Wine Country.

Los Angeles punk musician Zebidy Tank of Drop Tank
Singer/guitarist Zeb talks about her band's North American tour and how she enjoys rocking crowds with her two piece band.

Atlanta Singer/Songwriter Johnny Pride
Johnny talks about his new wave band The Features of Sacramento in the 80s and Pride In Peril of Los Angeles in the 90s, which appeared in the Oliver Stone film The Doors.

Berlin Singer/Songwriter Anton Barbeau
Anton talks about his move from Sacramento to Europe. He now lives in Berlin and has recorded over a dozen albums influenced by The Beatles and XTC.

London Singer/Songwriter James Cook
James discusses his love for meaningful melodic music. He has toured several parts of the world including the Europe, The United States and South America.

Sacramento Singer/Songwriter Kally O'Mally
Kally talks about her new album and how she balances her Americana recording projects with working in the health industry.






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