I want to make something clear. I’m not the kind of person who just throws around the term “hipster” as a catch-all descriptor of people I think are weird and pretentious. I think there’s really only one true definition of a hipster, which goes back well before we were born and has nothing to do with tight jeans and beards. Hipsters are people who use obscurity as a pedestal to make themselves superior. It’s basically just a really shitty and unimpressive form of elitism. We see this the most often in music. There are a lot of really great indie bands out there, but there are also a lot of shitty ones–the more obscure and/or hard to listen to, the more hipsters love them. Here are a few current bands that could be considered in the realm of “hipster music” that I think are pretty fantastic.
Surf rock is awesome at its best and brutally annoying at its worst, but Wavves adds in a dash of punk along with a few old school rock sensibilities. The band turns its beach bum jams into a legit rock sound.
2. Sleigh Bells
Girls who can rock are awesome to come by. I usually hate dissonant noise rock, because it’s usually trying too hard to dare the listener to not like it. These girls somehow bring in a crazy, rapper-like arrogance combined with a Van Halen sound and testosterone guitar noises. Add it all in with chicks yelling at you, and it somehow it comes out great.
3. Jeff The Brotherhood
This band might have the most hilarious name ever. I honestly can’t decide whether I love it or think it’s trying too hard. For now, I’m going to say that I love it. Either way, this band’s tunes are perfect for blasting on a boat or through a shitty boombox as you float down the river and drink beer. Hell, that’s the subject of one of the music videos.
This band is listed as “psychedelic folk,” although the vast majority of its stuff isn’t a whole lot different from the bluegrass-inspired folk music that’s become popular the last few years. However, it’s actually the more psychedelic songs that really make the band stand out. A lot of bands kick their ass in the “harmonies and steel guitar” category, but Megafun’s syrupy, trippy songs like “Real Slow” are fantastic.
These guys fall into the Black Keys camp of “how the fuck do they produce that much sound with two dudes?” Japandroids is just a duo of guys, one on the guitar, one on the drums–but damn, to they rock hard. They’ve managed to capture a sound I really like, which is intelligent, melodic hooks paired with noisy guitar.