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

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

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 (work in progress)

(Note I am rebuilding this site and adding Spotify playlists to all posts.  If you only see a Youtube playlist that means I haven’t gotten to that one yet – but I will soon.)

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Neko Case – Queen of Indie Rock

The title may not be official, but never mind, she is the queen (and occasionally the king too).  She is a consummate professional, a great singer, a feeling human being, and a serial collaborator.  If she is singing, I’m listening.  As someone in the youtube comments wrote, “you don’t need auto-tune if it’s built in.”  Neko is one of the lead singers of the New Pornographers but I feel I need to pay homage to her as a solo artist first because, well,… she is the queen.  Get her on your recording and you win.

I’ll post the New Pornographers another time, but for now, just enjoy her performance, her voice, and if you feel the need, you may bow.

I’ve attached two videos.  The first a live performance from Letterman and the second a more recent video which explains my parentheses above.

I took the blurry photo above at a free Neko Case concert in New York on the pier in 2012.  Check out the comments on youtube to see some serious admiration.

Chvrches

Indie Rock covers a wide range of music.  Sometimes the boundaries get blurry. Chvrches (spelled that way so you can find them on the internet) is sometimes called Indie Pop which seems to me to be somewhat of an Oxymoron, but whatever you call them I love this band.  I can’t get enough.  I was bouncing around to their music well before I saw them in concert.  (That’s my photo above.)  It wasn’t until that moment that I realized their music was produced entirely with electronic instruments.  I was immediately converted.  Electronic music is able to make sounds you just can’t make with other instruments and if this is what it sounds like it is just ok with me.

This band is smart, inventive, knows how to play to a big crowd, and the lead singer, Lauren Mayberry has an infectious voice that has won me over.  Indie music you can dance to. Enjoy it!

Hinds – Rock and Roll the Way it is Supposed to Be

Some bands are for listening to.  Some, like this quartet of Spanish women, are for nothing but fun.  Expect a lot of guitars, shouting, crowd surfing, probably a bit too much drink, and potentially a mosh pit.  These girls may have only learned how to play and sing a couple years ago, but no matter.  They have managed to create a unique sound, that is just pure rock and roll fun.  I went to see them twice in their first tour because I couldn’t quite believe how much fun it was.  What else can I say.  Don’t expect polished artistry. Expect slightly off sounds, that make surprisingly good harmonies.  I guess they are somewhere between the GoGos and The Clash (a bit more of The Clash).  I think there is a new album in the works.  Rock on!

M.I.A. – Radical Innovator (+ Sleigh Bells)

A bit of my own history: After the decline of Grunge I somehow lost track of what was happening in music. I wasn’t there for the first few years of what we now call Indie. But in 2007 M.I.A. released her second album and a song called “Paper Planes” blew up huge hitting #1 on some charts.  Somewhere along the line I heard it. My reaction was “wow!” I looked into who this was and what it was and I heard.  Someone said it was something called “indie rock.”

The rest is history, but I’ll forever thank M.I.A. for bringing me back to new music. M.I.A. was born in London and comes from a Sri Lankan family. M.I.A. puts politically powerful words to dance beats and does it with a unique sound that includes intense beats, electronic noise, and catchy bits. She innovated rhythms and electronic sounds that just blew people away. Since then many other artists and bands have imitated her style and had great success.  The political aspect means I don’t agree with everything that comes out of her mouth, but I respect her and I do like to hear her point of view.  One thing I can definitely agree with on is her fiercely anti-racist view.  Agree or not, she is a great innovator and someone to pay attention to.

What is her style called? Wikipedia uses a term “avant pop,” I think the term “noise pop” is a good fit, but these terms are used to apply to so many old and new bands so I’m not sure they really work. Whatever you call it, M.I.A. has had a major influence on electronic, dance, and hip hop music.

Here’s a few songs to knock your head against. To show you the influence she has had, I’m including one of her older songs followed by an early song from a band called Sleigh Bells who collaborated with M.I.A. and clearly learned a lot from her.  Finally, a much newer song from M.I.A. so you can see what she is up to these days.

Tame Impala – Beautiful Psychedelia

This band is super popular with people into indie.  If this is your first time though I think they are hard to comprehend.  They look like a traditional rock band.  Guitars, drums, keyboards.  But if you just click on one of the their most popular videos (as of this writing “Let it Happen” has 27 millions views) and expect a traditional song you may find yourself confused – death, hell, freefall … upwards?

Tame Impala goes for the psychedelic.  They make use of electronics, not just synths, but heavy treatments on top of their instruments.  This makes for lots of mind-bending music.

Tame Impala has released three full length albums so far.  They tend to do lots of touring. I saw them at their own concert and at a festival.  I can’t tell you how impressed I was both times. They are tight, talented, and put on a great show, and the audience eats it up. Go see them.

So I picked this video as an intro to Tame Impala.  Maybe the point of this video is that listening to Tame Impala can be a lot like riding on a roller coaster.  I’m not sure if the people are reacting to the ride or the music. My suggestion is the same as I’ve written before.  Don’t analyze it, feel it.  Just go with it and hopefully you’ll enjoy it as much as the people in the video.  Then check out their other videos.  They have taken psychedelic to the next level.

Middle Kids – Time For a New Band

I started this blog with the idea of introducing Indie Rock to people who haven’t figured it out yet.  So far I’ve been posting some older music as a means to accomplish that.  But part of really “getting” Indie is coming to realize that there is great new music being produced all the time.  You have to keep your ears and eyes open – search the internet – listen to indie radio – and you’ll discover this:  Not only has music not died, it is more vibrant and creative than ever.  Enjoy this new band.  So far they’ve only released 6 original songs, but I have a feeling we’ll be hearing a lot more from them in the near future.