From Lennon and McCartney to the Daft Punk robots, duos have been a longstanding part of popular music, and modern indie is no exception. Below we’ve compiled the very best duos of indie music today.
Raw. Uncontrolled. Relentless. All words that barely begin to describe the sheer intensity of Canada’s favourite heartland punks. With an energy that bands triple their size are hard pressed to muster, Japandroids’ uplifting, fast-paced music is best described using the name of their sophomore LP: Celebration Rock.
The Lemon Twigs
With sounds ranging from doo-wop to carnival-esque, this teenage brother duo have rock and roll chops well beyond their years. The New York natives channel Abbey Road era Beatles, challenging structural conventions and keeping listeners on their toes waiting to hear what’s next.
Toronto’s own avante-garde rock and rollers have been experimenting with the genre for a full decade, delivering tasty indie hits every step of the way. Their latest album lends a layer of danceability and vibrancy to a genre that can sometimes feel too melancholic.
Husband-and-wife-duo Alaina Moore and Patrick Riley’s songs are as soothing as they are romantic. Channeling ‘70s soul, rock, and pop into every ballad, the duo’s real life chemistry clearly translates into their earthly music that’ll leave you a nostalgic, teary-eyed mess.
Run The Jewels
Edgy, abrasive, and informed, this supergroup consists of El-P and Killer Mike, two artists with over 20 years of history in hip hop. Their candid and politically salient songs showcase a bow-to-no-one mentality that represents the best qualities of independently released music.
Sarah Barthel and Josh Carter were childhood friends that reunited in young adulthood to complete Carter’s unfinished songs. Little did they know that their reunion would one day evolve into the indie electronica powerhouse that is Phantogram.
Since 2009, Vancouver natives The Zolas have been gifting fans with dance-friendly indie pop too sweet to ignore. Zachary Gray’s vocals and Tom Dobrzanski’s piano playing are the heart and soul of each Zolas song, and the unique identifiers of their playful summer jams.
This French-Cuban twin sister duo are spellbinding in their percussive and piano heavy R&B. Their songs lyrics are split between English and Yaruba, the Nigerian language of their ancestors, creating a sense of duality in the group whose name literally means “twins” in Yaruba.
Matt and Kim
Electronic duo Matt and Kim have been practically synonymous with indie rock since the subgenre exploded in the mid 2000s. Joyful where other groups may be woeful, Matt and Kim’s good vibes are simply contagious, even for the most cynical music listener.
When Beyonce and Jay-Z take a liking to your live set, you know you’ve got something special. Wistful, elevating, and impossibly chill, Beach House fits the genre of dream pop like no other.
While it’s hard to think of them as indie following the success of their megalithic debut Oracular Spectacular, MGMT was a gateway drug into experimental music for young fans and future musicians in the late 2000s. The Connecticut-formed group has been steadily releasing new work ever since, with their fourth studio album originally planned for 2016 and now expected later this year.