Indie? Niche? What even ARE you listening to?

Illustrated by Thomas Slater

Where do you indie?

Ever had someone call out your playlist as “B-grade” or “sappy” or even just plain “boring”? But that small piece of music really speaks out to you? It’s alright. We all have different tastes, especially when it comes to music. But that doesn’t mean that anything you listen to is inherently bad. On the contrary, it could just be underappreciated music, because it hasn’t been marketed on a global scale like your top trending artists.

In this day and age, the expression of music is pretty unhindered, and there’s bound to be an endless selection. If you browse music anywhere long enough, whether that be Youtube, Spotify, Bandcamp or even Soundcloud, you’ll find a plethora of music selections to listen to that you probably haven’t even heard of before. They are labelled either as “indie” or are called underappreciated. These pieces often don’t get the attention they deserve despite being able to speak out to quite a wide audience. 

Take, for example, The Midnight- a band with a relatively “niche” and “underappreciated” genre; Synthwave. I personally have them on my playlist for late-night drives and get a lot of flak for putting it on with friends in the car because they’re not ‘trendy’. But take a listen to this beautiful and inspiring piece by them:

As much as you might figure this as “old music” that was released way back in the days- they’re fairly recent. They released their latest single, America Online, earlier in May 2019. There’s this sense of nostalgia their music invokes. They are aware of this and cash in on it. If you search up any of their music on Youtube, their videos are all edited to scenes from movies from the 80s. Some have illustrations that harken back to the halcyon days of arcades, rollerblades, and VCRs.

If you find that this is something that you didn’t know you jived with before, there are other artists to explore who fall in this same genre such as Sebastian Gampl, Timecop1983, and GUNSHIP.

The Midnight Kids Album Cover (Source)

Not for me?

But maybe these upbeat tones just aren’t your speed. Maybe you want something that you can chill to; a more mellow kind of beat. Then perhaps you can check out the Mostar Diving Club. Their music, for lack of a better way of putting it, gives you the ‘feely-feels’. They’ve got a style that you can move your body to in the empty space of your living room, or sit back and enjoy on a rainy day perched on your balcony.

While we’re on the subject of music that gives you the ‘feely-feels’, Allie X is another artist that hasn’t been given enough attention to. Despite releasing bangers such as ‘That’s So Usand Too Much to Dream’ that wouldn’t be anywhere out of place if put in a line-up with current trendy songs such as ‘Lose You to Love Me’ by Selena Gomez, or ‘Beautiful People’ by Ed Sheeran, she still deserves more recognition. If we’re talking about highly underappreciated music, hers falls comfortably in that category. 

The fault in our sound?

This all stems from the issue brought up in the very beginning- marketing. Most genres, whether it’s one commonly known or only known by a few, definitely have a fanbase. Not everyone’s going to love Synthwave or Punk Rock but that doesn’t mean they should be subdued. The same is true for music in the same genre, just not run by huge conglomerates that monopolise the music industry. They’re just not marketed to the masses as much as the top 10 songs in the radio are. And people may never know if any of this underappreciated music could appeal to them. 

But never let any of this stop you from loving what you love. Some of us may go out of our way to find hidden gems of music. Whether it’s scouring the far off reaches of the back of the record store, or scavenging the internet just to find that one piece of music they fell in love with on a dodgy cab ride home one drunken night. But some of us may just enjoy the music that we hear in passing in our everyday lives. What’s important to know is that all music is worth something to someone.  

Interested in hearing these songs? Check out our playlist!

Written by Aril Mikhail

Maybe a little too obsessed with bands...

1 Comment

  • November 8, 2019

    Mike

    So glad you mentioned Ed Sheeran in there! Some people still don’t know him and I find that super weird. People find my music taste a little weird too, and they even go as far as calling it elevator music /: .