How To Expand Your Alternative Collection
By Caellin Rodgers
Finding a new, alternative artist that you love can be a fantastic experience. Best case scenario, it can even introduce you to a whole new genre of music you weren’t aware you liked.
Searching for new music alone can be tricky. Luckily, thanks to spotify and youtube, it has become a little easier, but they don’t always get things right.
It seems like not long ago (although realistically, it was two years now) that Lorde’s Royals was so big you couldn’t go an hour without hearing it played. If you liked it – even if you eventually ended up exhausted by its constant overuse – and want to expand into similar sounding music, this is the post for you. Some of these artists you almost certainly would’ve heard of before, although I hope at least one or two are new additions to the alternative collection.
Top of my similar-to-Lorde recommendations is Chet Faker. I suspect many of you will have heard of Chet before, an Australian musician who has won several awards, including two ARIA awards for Built on Glass. He’s a little bit jazz, a little bit hip-hop, and a good dash of alternative. His voice is fantastic, and is the sort of music you could put on while getting ready for a night out. His collaborations with the second on my list, Flume are definitely worth a listen – Drop the Game is toe-tappingly good. Similar to Chet Faker, but more synthetic, clubbing-style music – less jazz, Flume is another Australian musician who has picked up Aria awards. It’s the sort of music you could play to impress ‘those’ friends (you know, the ones that judge you for having the Spice Girls as your top artist), but is also genuinely fun to listen to.
Another artist I suspect you’ll know is Alt-J. They’re officially an ‘indie rock band’, although have ample doses of alternative. Joe Newman’s vocals in particular are to die for – they’re just so delightfully weird. Alt-J have a particular skill in putting together an album – the songs are similar and flow smoothly together, while still being different enough that they won’t bore – and that seems to be a dying art, so if you’ve never heard Alt-J before, I’d recommend picking up a copy of An Awesome Wave (it’s on youtube) and listening to it in its entirety. It goes particularly well with whisky and a close friend.
Similar to Alt-J, but more pop-friendly is Whitest Boy Alive. a German-Norwegian band and side project of the singer/guitarist from Kings of Convenience. Gravity is a particularly nice track, with smooth vocals and enough of a foot in the pop door that it’s easy to like after only one listen through. Unfortunately, they’re no longer playing together – but still definitely worth checking out some of their stuff.
For those I’ve-run-out-of-sad-movies-to-watch-but-still-have-icecream days, try Daughter. They’re indie-folk (according to the gurus at wikipedia) and you can definitely hear the folk influence in their music. They’re particularly effective at matching their lyrics with the harmony: Daughter is mostly mournful and heartbreaking, and if you don’t feel like a blast of sadness, they work well in a playlist with some of the other artists mentioned here – Mogwai, for example. Wiki describes Mogwai as ‘post-rock’ – I would call them masterful creators of an all-encompassing electronic sound world. If you watched the French version of The Returned, they’re the theme tune. It’s deep, interesting and contemplative music, with long tracks and soundscapes – they’re not particularly poppy but they are excellent.
Finally, and a bit more like Whitest Boy Alive, are The Sea and Cake. They’re an indie rock band, chilled and easy to listen to. They have excellent guitar lines, are often a touch jazzy and can be a bit more distorted than most of the other artists here – fantastic road tripping music. I’d probably start with On A Letter if they’re a new experience for you.
All great artists, all in a similar vein to Lorde – so if you liked her (even a little, even secretly), give some of these artists a go – you might just find something you like!
Ps. Also the occasional Radiohead track, but I didn’t feel like anyone really needed me to explain Radiohead…
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