The indie scene can sometimes feel like a hostile, competitive community full of gate-keeping hipsters brandishing first pressings of The Cure's early work. If you like indie music, some jerk at a party has probably asked you if you even listen to the band on your T-shirt, or explained that their new stuff is fine, but have you heard Father John Misty's first album?
And frankly, that's not what music is about; it's about finding songs you love and connect to, and listening to them however you want. It's not a contest to see who can "discover" an artist first or generate the most hot takes on Twitter about Pitchfork's misgivings. You should never have to justify your love for an artist with an extensive knowledge of their catalog.
But if you're unlucky, as many of us are, and a guy in a Joy Division T-shirt ever corners you and asks if you've heard of Sufjan Stevens, these songs will give you some ammunition. And besides that, they rock.
This playlist not only includes under-appreciated songs from indie faves like Wilco and Neutral Milk Hotel, but projects from artists you may know by different names. There's Rostam, former member of Vampire Weekend, and J. Tillman, otherwise known as the notorious Father John Misty himself. There's The Last Shadow Puppets, a side project of Arctic Monkeys' front man Alex Turner, and even an early song from Jack Antonoff's (former member of fun. and current Bleachers front man) first band, Steel Train.
"Strawberry Blond" - Mitski
"I Feel Weird" - Steel Train
"Tuesday Moon" - Neutral Milk Hotel
"Sleeping Bear, Sault Ste. Marie" - Sufjan Stevens
"Something Soon" - Car Seat Headrest
"Balaclava" - Arctic Monkeys
"Bike Dream" - Rostam
"Ribbons of Glass" - J. Tillman
"Static Buzz" - Snail Mail
"If The Brakeman Turns My Way" - Bright Eyes
"Kingpin" - Wilco
"Miracle Aligner" - The Last Shadow Puppets
"All Delighted People" - Sufjan Stevens
"Cherry Picking" - Girlpool
"Goodbye, My Danish Sweetheart" - Mitski