Indie music is alive and well. And while definitions of what constitutes an “Indie” band could fill more of the Internet’s bandwith than Netflix, people can hopefully at least agree on the nation’s top “Indie” cities.
Taking into account venues for indie bands, music production, artist relocation and general vibe, these cities are definite Indie Music Havens. Check it.
Despite not exactly being an “original gangster” in the indie music scene, if you will, Austin has grown into something of an Indie dream. Dubbed “the live music capital of world” and home to top festivals SXSW and Austin City Limits, Austin is now where it’s at for indie music refugees.
With an impressive bill of start-up bands out of Austin like Ghostland Observatory, …And You Will Know Us By The Trail of The Dead, Explosions In The Sky and White Denim, its actually inching closer to OG status.
If you are ever in Austin, and don’t try your hardest to check out one of the city’s 200 venues, you should re-evaluate your life as an Indie fan, hipster, scenester or whatever kind of -ster you prefer to be called.
More of an OG in the Indie Rock scene, Portland first came to spotlight in the 1990s and carried its popularity into the 2000s with the late Elliott Smith and continued with The Decemberists, The Shins, Menomena, The Thermals, YACHT, and Portugal The Man.
Portland’s a great place for the underground scene, with awesome venues, a down-to-earth vibe and vegan shops for days.
Nirvana put Seattle on the map as the founding ground for grunge rock and the record label Sub Pop. Seattle later came to produce Indie-King, Ben Gibbard, and the famed Death Cab for Cutie and Postal Service combo. But, it didn’t stop there. Recent Indie gods Modest Mouse, Fleet Foxes, Band of Horses, Minus the Bear and Pedro the Lion also started out of Seattle, adding to its repertoire of Indie cred.
New York, New York
What isn’t New York known for besides being neither boring and nor under-populated? It’s not surprising that New York is an Indie rock haven, because well, there’s a bit of everything there. New York has spawned pioneers like Sonic Youth over the years, and in more recent history has generated The Strokes, Interpol, LCD soundsystem, Grizzly Bear, Yeasayer, TV on the Radio and Vampire Weekend. As if their line up isn’t impressive enough, many bands also relocate to New York. Bands like Animal Collective and MGMT now call New York home, after calling the movers to ditch wherever it was they came from.
With plenty of shows and venues to choose from, any band that you could ever want to see is going to be in New York at least seven times a year.
Home to Lollapalooza, Chicago, much like New York, is too big and diverse to not have a hot indie scene. With shows and venues aplenty (along with the right crowds), any indie band that’s worth hearing is bound to stop by and play sooner or later.
Peep the shows in these locations and buy your tickets early. The bands you want will show up and when they do, you’ll be waiting.