Welcome to 15 Minutes Underground

15 minute indie rock playlists – both video (YouTube) and audio (Spotify) by me is what you’ll find here.  Some playlists focus on a single band – say “Grizzly Bear” for example – and some are just themes like “beach music” or “chill” or “psychedelic”.  All built by me – an Indie Rock lover, concert goer, and downloader, to give you a nice intro to a new band, or a nice little escape from the rest of your day enjoying tunes for the mood you’re in.

Why am I doing this? Because sometimes you don’t have hours to check out the latest playlist or the time to search out music that you’ll like.  15 minutes of music curated by someone who loves Indie Rock can hit the spot.  Catch up on a band you’ve been wondering about or just spend 15 minutes chilling before your next commitment.  It’s all about spending just 15 Minutes Underground.

Artists:

Sylvan Esso / Metric / Arcade Fire / Lykke Li / Decemberists / Animal Collective / Vampire Weekend / Middle Kids / Tame Impala / M.I.A. / Sleigh Bells / Hinds / Chvrches / Neko Case / Temples / The xx / Lana Del Rey  / The Orwells  / Parquet Courts / Sufjan Stevens / The Kills / Best Coast / The War on Drugs, Kurt Vile and Sharon Van Etten / Alt-J / Grimes / Warpaint / New Pornographers / Purity Ring / Courtney Barnett / Yeah Yeah Yeahs / St. Vincent / Belle and Sebastian / LCD Soundsystem / Strokes, Interpol, Arctic Monkeys / Grizzly Bear / Broken Social Scene / Fleet Foxes / Alvvays / Sleater-Kinney / Jagwar Ma / Yo La Tengo / Bleached / Foxygen / Cults / Daniele Luppi with Parquet Courts and Karen O / tUnE-yArDs

Themes:

Play your instruments, don’t play WITH them / Guitars and Depression / Electronic Dance Music, Not EDM / When Modern Dance Meets Indie / Rock and Roll Front Women / Psychedelic Experience / Great Voices / Chill / Panorama 2017 / Live Guitar Rock Bands Thriving in 2017 / Summertime Beach Music / It’s All About the Feels / Indie Rock Wake Up! / Zombies! / Indie Rock Collaborations / Fall Concert Season Playlist 1 / Fall Concert Season Playlist 2 / Retro Influenced Indie Rock / Indie Halloween / The Softer, More Melodic Side of IndieIndie Rock Nerds / 15 Top Indie Songs of 2017 / Anticipation – New Indie Rock Coming in 2018

Please follow me on twitter to be notified of new posts@RichardSegal

One huge YouTube playlist with all the videos from this site: Full YouTube Playlist

One huge Spotify playlist with all the songs from this site: Full Spotify playlist

Advertisements

tUnE-yArDs – Inventive, World-Aware Sounds

The first song I heard from this band was their hit “water fountain.”  I grew up in New York City and it made me think of the always falling apart state of playgrounds where the water fountains never worked. It seemed to speak from the perspective of a low income urban neighborhood where you make do with what you have and find a way to turn a tough situation into a positive life.  In my mind’s eye I envisioned a collective of diverse city-dwellers joined together to make neighborhood music gone big.

That mental image was seriously wrong.  Somehow, this white woman from Massachusetts and her band mates have managed to do something really unique.  They bring political awareness, elements of worldbeat, indie, and pop music, and danceable fun together in a addictive and always engaging way. Challenging ideas, experimental sounds, dance beats, and creative videos – this band is definitely worth knowing.

They’ve got a new album out.  Check out the playlist below to catch-up on this great band, who I think have created something really fun, powerful, unique, and open to a wide audience.  Maybe check out this article too: Tune-Yards’ Merrill Garbus Wants You to Think About Whiteness (and to Dance)

On this playlist:

Water Fountain – The song that got me hooked

Bizness – An older tune with a fun video

Look at Your Hands – From the new album

Hammer – Live video – song from the new album

YouTube playlist: tUnE-yArDs

Spotify playlist: tUnE-yArDs

Anticipation – New Indie Rock Coming in 2018

Some big Indie Rock names who haven’t released new music in a while are promising to drop new albums in 2018.  Let’s build up some anticipation by checking out their last releases.  These are some of my personal favorites.  Here’s hoping for an outstanding 2018.

Arctic Monkeys – Their last album was in 2013 – these guys are seriously overdue.  When it does come out, expect a lot of excitement.  I think this is the most anticipated Indie Rock album of the year.  My pick for this playlist from their 2013 release: R U Mine

Grimes – Claire Boucher, the genius behind Grimes, last release was in late 2015.  She’s promised new music this year.  Her last album was my favorite of the year and won NME’s best album of the year.  Grimes is first on my list of concerts that I will be buying tickets for as soon as they are released.  Who knows what’s next, but here’s my pick from her last one: Art Angels

Chvrches – Another highly anticipated album from one of the most successful groups to push the boundaries of Indie into Pop territory with their remarkable sense of how to reach their audience with upbeat electronics and Lauren Mayberry’s energetic voice.  I’ll be downloading this the moment it is released!  Can’t wait.  From their last release: Clearest Blue

Vampire Weekend: Another huge Indie Rock influence with no album since 2013!  If the rumor holds up 2018 will be the year they break their silence.  (Not that they’ve been silent with plenty of solo and side projects.)  This one will be a major headline in 2018.  From their last album: Diane Young

YouTube playlist: 2018 anticipation playlist

Spotify playlist: 2018 anticipation playlist

Daniele Luppi grabs Parquet Courts and Karen O – Indie Rockers Celebrate!

If you are saying to yourself “Daniele who?” you are not alone.  He’s an Italian composer living in the US with an album in 2011 and several movie soundtracks to his name.  He just burst on the scene with a new album on Danger Mouse’s label with some of the most outrageous indie rockers around.

Parquet Courts is an American Indie band with tremendous guitar strength and rock/punk attitude.  Karen O is the front women of the well-loved Yeah Yeah Yeahs.  What a combination!  These songs are just unique and powerful, well-constructed, and a bit hard core.  A surprise from left field, and a very welcome one.  If you haven’t heard them yet, please do, you won’t be sorry.  Vocals are sometimes by Karen O and sometimes by Parquet Courts lead singer, A Savage.  I’ve included two with each singer.

In this playlist:

Talisa, Karen O on vocals

Flush, Karen O on vocals

Soul and Cigarette, A Savage on vocals

Mount Napoleon, A Savage on vocals

YouTube playlist: Luppi, Parquet Courts and Karen O

Spotify playlist: Luppi, Parquet Courts and Karen O

15 Top Indie Songs of 2017 – In Chronological Order

Very clever of me to choose 15, right?  Well anyway this was certainly a fun activity.  It reminded me what an incredible range of great music got made this year.  By putting them in order by month it plays like a walk down memory lane.

Since this is obviously more than 15 minutes feel free to pick and choose by clicking on the songs you want to hear – or – for the full year experience, click the full playlists below.

JANUARY

Chicano Batman: This Land is Your Land This video is actually a commercial, but it is a great production. This band has lots of great music. Look them up.  Powerful and musical and a clear statement against some of the anti-immigration stuff coming out of Washington.

FEBRUARY

Middle Kids: Edge of Town This new band out of Australia is my first choice to make it big when they release their first full-length album.  Their debut EP and their live performance knocked me out.

Orwells: Heavy Head The Orwells are a Rock and Roll band in the old school style.  Great banging rock and crazy lead singer.

Animal Collective: Kinda Bonkers Electronic psychedelic bonkers music for sure.  Their live show was mind-warpingly good.

MARCH

Temples: Certainty This English psychedelic guitar rock band has amazing musical and can definitely get into your head.

APRIL

Sylvan Esso: Die Young I can’t get enough of this band.  Saw them in Brooklyn twice this year and would go again anytime.  It’s hard to just pick one song from the great, Grammy nominated 2017 album, “What Now”.

New Pornographers: Whiteout Conditions My favorite from the album of the same name.  An album full of deep tracks that get more interesting the more you listen.

JULY

Lana Del Rey: Love What an epic song, and sung by a woman who performs like someone inhabited by the music.

AUGUST

The War on Drugs: Holding On I’m certain this will be number one one someone’s list.  This band keep delivering awesome music with deep roots.  With a bit of an “E Street Band” feel, this song is absolutely one of the best of the year.

SEPTEMBER

LCD Soundsystem: I Used To LCD Soundsystem’s return in 2017 was one of the biggest Indie Rock events of the year.  They headlined at Coachella and have been playing night after night of sold-out shows everywhere they go.  Hard to describe, LCD combines electronics with their own off-center vision of the world.

Alvvays: In Undertow This band our of Toronto, Canada, got the world’s attention with “Marry Me Archie” in 2014 with its happy retro feel with and indie vibe.  They scored again in 2017 with great upbeat melodic songs that are hard not to like.

OCTOBER

King Krule: Dum Surfer On a much more challenging note, here is an artist from a distinctly different part of England, who can move easily from post-punk to the blues.  There is a lot more here than meets the eye.

Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile: Continental Breakfast What happens when two very popular independent musicians with similar, somewhat out of tune, sing-song styles collaborate between Australia and Pennsylvania? A video so cute it is curing millennial depression everywhere.

Tune Yards: Look at Your Hands If you don’t know Tune Yards, check them out.  Be sure to watch the whole video, the second half is electric!  I hear a city vibe, a multi-cultural vibe, an experimental vibe, a great voice, and music that you can listen to, dance to, or, just vibe to!  This song was just released, but the full album won’t come out until January.  So check out their catalog, and look for them in next year’s list.

November

Sleigh Bells: Rainmaker Sleigh Bells is back and looking to combine their noise-pop, M.I.A. inspired intense beats, into something that works on the dance floor at high volume or in the living room, just hanging.  But my suggestion, turn it up!

Full Top 2017 YouTube playlist

Full Top 2017 Spotify playlist

Lana Del Rey – Mistress of Feels

Lana Del Rey sings with heart and soul.  Her lyrics are full of wistful melancholy, longing for depth, and dreams of the wild life. Vibey and loaded with emotion, she has attracted a huge audience of young women and the rest of us who look for some sense of real feelings in our music.  I’ve seen her live twice now.  Once from way in the back at Governor’s Ball and just a couple weeks ago at a much more intimate setting at Terminal 5.  She is evolving and you can here it in her music and see it in her performance.  The audience at Terminal 5 reminded me of nothing so much as a Beatles audience from the 60’s.  Girls screaming and singing along as loud as they could throughout the night.  This was the most packed house I’ve seen at this venue.  Her performance was stellar and personal.  She interacted well with the audience even agreeing to sing “Get Free’ when the audience chanted for it even though she wasn’t sure she could remember the words and needed help from the audience.  This also resolved a long-running question about who the people were whose names were left out of the previous recording.  The words are: “for Amy and for Whitney.”  See the last video in the playlist which was recorded that night.

She has been criticized for her straightforward performance style, but it is clear she is trying to add a little more to her stage presence, moving more, dancing a little, and bringing in backup dancers.   Really what those critics missed is that her singing is loaded with real emotion; and that doesn’t require acrobatics.

She may look like a pretty pop star, but Lana Del Rey writes evocative songs, sings with strong emotion, and connects to the audience.  She is the real deal.  Sit back, have a sip of wine, and enjoy the feels.

In this playlist:

Ride – One of my favorites

Love – From her newest album – shows off her vocals

Summertime Sadness – Watch the video version to hear the madness at Terminal 5!

Get Free – The video version was unplanned and acapella – also at Terminal 5 

YouTube playlist: Lana Del Rey

Spotify playlist: Lana Del Rey

The xx – Personal, minimal, romantic, sexy

This band is not for everyone.  Maybe the opposite of a “wall of sound”, their music is simple, even minimalist.  Their impact has been huge.  They convey a kind of romantic feel no one else has been able to duplicate.  I once saw a review which said that while there are lots of songs about things leading up to sex, the xx songs seem to take place afterwards.  There is a depth of feeling here that, if you hook into, can grab you my the solar plexus.  It’s like being pulled into a connection between the two singers that you can’t escape.  When I was lucky enough to see them live (see bad photo above) it was clear they have an adoring audience who know all the words, and just want more and more.

In this playlist:

Crystalised – Their biggest song from their first album – the video is an intimate live version that let’s you see how they work.

Chained – From Coexist, their second album

Islands – Check the YouTube video – a truly unique piece of choreography with feels that run deep

On Hold – From their most recent album, “I see You” – YouTube version is live

Angels – Perhaps one of their most intimate songs – the video I’ve included is purely a solo with Romy singing and playing guitar.

YouTube playlist: The xx

Spotify playlist: The xx

Indie Rock Nerds

This one is just for fun.  Here are some Indie Rock songs that lean a little on the nerd side.  Why?  Words like parallelogram, ion displacement  and encryption don’t seem very likely in rock songs – but here they are.  Great music – slightly nerdy words.  Enjoy.

In this playlist:

alt-J – Tessellate  – Tessellate: cover a plane surface by repeated use of a single shape, without gaps or overlapping

The New Pornographers – High Ticket Attractions – Use of the word encryption is here – along with reference to Mayans, the science of falling, and ignoring the warning – good enough to make the list

Vampire Weekend – Bryn – Not really a nerdy song except for the opening words: ion displacement

Certainty – Temples – making parallelograms cool again

Courtney Barnett – Elevator Operator – Courtney gets on the list for her reference here to SimCity – watch the video – cute – maybe not so nerdy

YouTube playlist: Indie Rock Nerds

Spotify playlist: Indie Rock Nerds