Brooklyn is famous for a lot of things. In every era, Brooklyn always plays some part and finds its way into the party. It started off with the bloom of American classical music over a century ago, all the way to the booming 90s during the hip-hop surge. Brooklyn gave us one of the best rappers of our generation, Mr. HOV, aka Jay-Z, aka Beyoncé’s husband, aka Solange’s worst enemy. On the other side of the spectrum, Brooklyn also gave us indie artists like LCD Soundsystem, Yaeji, and Pronoun. So, we put together a list of ten indie artists and musicians who have been making some serious waves in the indie music scene. Add them into your daily tunes rotation so you can brag about being an early fan when they show up on the airwaves.
People always say that heartbreak makes for the best music. There’s no lie there. Pronoun started off making music after a bad breakup. Now, I’m not wishing bad things on people, but I’m so glad they broke up because look what it gave us — the most lovesick lyrics about the most relatable feelings, paired with some sick electronic rhythms.
Here’s a sound that’s going to make you run it back a couple of times. The way I would describe Crumb’s sound is psychedelic, eerie, trippy, and maybe even disoriented. This is the kind of music that has a lot of detail and precession in the way that they layer their instruments. Yet, they still make it sound natural as if every sound was meant to be in that exact place. Nothing sounds forced, and that is probably my favorite thing about their music.
- Tei Shi
Valerie Teicher — aka Tei Shi —is an Argentinian native who has broken into the New York music scene with a bang. Tei Shi is a mix between light electronic pop and dreamy ballads. In a way, her music has a very nostalgic vibe because she utilizes old voice notes or tapes, giving you a personal look into her childhood. She definitely sets herself apart with the different influences from all the places she has lived and her cultural background. A lot of her songs remind me of love songs I would write to my younger self while looking back, trying to discover who I really was.
- Big Thief
Big Thief is notoriously known for their music that tackles intense topics like family histories, death, fear, and isolation. Their songs take a detailed look into lead singer and guitarist, Adrianne Lenker. Their music has a folk vibe to it, but still explores those vulnerable topics. Some songs are comforting and relatable ,while others are eerie but still amazing.
- Yoke Lore
Adrian Galvin, a.k.a Yoke Lore is transitioning into his solo career after being a songwriter for other bands. As he finds himself as an artist, he experiments with his vocals and percussion, creating a unique sound. Lore also features bright, harmonic anthems to juxtapose the hard-thudding drums. His most recent EP, Absolutes, is filled with heartfelt anthems exploring avenues as a singer and multi-instrumentalist rather than just a songwriter. As a retired dancer, he’s sure to add a sick twist to get you moving with his harmonies.
- Grizzly Bear
Grizzly Bear is like a combination of folk and pop at the same time with lyrics that’ll have you stop and think about what they mean. It’s funny because they’re so versatile in the most bipolar way. They can sound moodier and more blurred when they’re going for the more folk-rock vibe, while they can also sound super refined from the detail of their instruments. I always find myself discovering a new side to them with every project they drop.
- Plastic Picnic
If Summer were an indie rock band from Brooklyn, it would sound just like this. Plastic Picnic has such a warm indie vibe. They have grown so much since their debut, and it’s easy to see why so many people have fallen in love with their soft, clean sound. They are slowly but surely mastering the art of being versatile yet still cohesive as they explore more surf sounding tunes and 80s inspiration to make for a unique sound exclusive to them.
A duo that has gone through a true musical evolution! The melodic sounds of Kelly Zutrau and Joe Valle bring you unforgettable tunes with soul and meaning. They give you a first-hand account into what it’s like growing up as an artist in your 20s and 30s and all the emotions that come with it. Relatable on many levels, the two sing about topics that most people go through during the developmental years of their life from kind of grown up to actually grown up.
- Parquet Courts
Parquet Courts is a band made up of four men who enjoy making punk clatter tunes with a side of some cool lyrics. They take the term indie rock to a whole new level with their experimental sounds and collaborations with artists like Bun B and Danger Mouse. Listening to their albums will give you plenty of those energetic rock vibes while their newer sounds are a true expression of their creativity and curiosity.
Kathy Yaeji Lee, or just Yaeji for short, is a Korean-American electronic music artist. The multi-talented spirit is a singer, DJ, and producer all in one. She sets herself apart by taking advantage of her bilingual abilities, switching between a dreamy whisper and a soft rapping voice. Don’t worry if you can’t fully understand what she’s saying, you’ll still end up enjoying her tunes.