Get ready to marinate in nostalgia because ten of our favourite indie albums are going to be a whole decade old this year.
Looking back, 2011 was an incredible year for indie music. The artists listed below were fairly new in the industry at the time and it seemed to be a pivotal year in a lot of their careers. Fast forward to now, ten years later, and each have made something very special of themselves.
Let’s take a trip down memory lane and celebrate a decade of great music…
Torches – Foster The People
Remember “Pumped up Kicks”? Honestly how could you forget. However, let us not forget about the rest of Torches, the debut album that launched FTP’s career. The album is super quirky and bubbly, giving us indie-pop anthems such as “Don’t’ Stop (Colour on the Walls),” “Helena Beat” and “Houdini.” I personally couldn’t imagine a life without these unbelievably catchy choruses or Mark Foster’s falsetto.
Bon Iver – Bon Iver
I could write for miles and miles and miles about Bon Iver, Justin Vernon’s brainchild, but I’ll spare you. It’s hard to believe that we’ve had ten magical years with the album that graced us with ethereal tracks such as “Holocene,” “Towers,” and “Calgary”. This album is filled with poetic storytelling, Vernon’s incredible upper register, and enchanting musical arrangements that, in its time, transcended traditional boundaries of the indie-folk genre. This album will have you engulfed in an emotional hurricane and left sobbing in a disheveled daze (in the best way).
El Camino – The Black Keys
The Black Keys saw great success for El Camino, and rightfully so. Doesn’t it feel like just yesterday that massive hits such as “Lonely Boy” and “Gold On the Ceiling” were being played all the time? El Camino is fun, frivolous and exceptionally rock ‘n’ roll. It is easily one of those records that will have you coming back to scream sing and air guitar along with it.
Michigan Left – Arkells
Prior to Michigan Left, Arkells were a gritty rock band that gained a loyal fan base in and around their hometown, Hamilton, ON. Michigan Left saw the Arkells take a new approach to their sound through bright alternative and indie rock cues. This LP is warm and infectious, providing us with sing-alongs such as “Kiss Cam,” “Michigan Left” and “Where U Goin.” Since 2011, the Arkells have become a beloved band whose success only continues to increase.
Little Hell – City and Colour
City and Colour, aka Dallas Green, is another Canadian treasure. Green is a songwriting pioneer, conveying vulnerability and emotion through his effortless, angelic vocals. Little Hell is Green’s third album further cementing his legacy forever in Canadian music and alternative folk music in general. This LP is timeless, and songs like “Fragile Bird” and “Northern Wind” will never lose their special warmth.
Ceremonials – Florence + The Machine
Frontwoman Florence Welch was only 25 when she released her band’s second album, Ceremonials. That’s pretty hard to believe, given the album’s immense strength and maturity. Ceremonials sees her soaring choral range ebbing and flowing from song to song over heavy drums and gleaming rhythms. It’s pretty clear why Florence is known for her haunting melodies, surreal lyricism and a voice that sparks magic.
Helplessness Blues – Fleet Foxes
Fleet Foxes’ Helplessness Blues is an exquisite folk number that bolstered their already renowned status. The album is dark and complex, but still pleasantly inviting. It’s rich with imagery and has choral harmonies so heavenly, they make you feel as if you’re levitating. Lead singer Robin Pecknold puts his talent on full display, especially on tracks such as “Montezuma” and “Battery Kinzie.” Fun fact: Josh Tillman (Father John Misty) played drums for Fleet Foxes, although split shortly after this album was released.
Never Trust A Happy Song – Grouplove
This album gave us the indie-dance-anthem “Tongue Tied,” shall I say more? Grouplove came out with a bang on this debut album, quickly earning their spotlight in the alternative music scene. Despite the title, it’s difficult not to trust the twelve bright, irresistible, feel-good tracks.
A Different Kind of Fix – Bombay Bicycle Club
Dreamy indie group Bombay Bicycle Club never miss. A Different Kind of Fix sees Jack Steadman’s very distinctive lead vocals naturally swimming over effervescent guitar rhythms and charming synths. Tracks like “Shuffle” and “Lights Out, Words Gone” are irreplaceable and unmistakably brilliant. BBC is unlike any other.
Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming – M83
M83’s incredibly lush electronic album is like a dream itself, filled with twinkling synths, pulsating beats and pristine vocal harmonies that burst over the album’s entirety with persistent enthusiasm. It’d be hard to ever forget the infectious single “Midnight City” that was and still is an absolute HIT.