The world of Indie Rock has always been characterized by its "underground" element. In other words, the less popular or widely known a band or artist is, the more interesting and appealing they are to the music fans who do happen upon them.
But even in a genre where the less known you are the more cool you are, some bands have managed to balance climbing the ladder of mainstream success with keeping their indie reputation intact. Examples include Phoenix, MGMT, The Black Keys, etc. Because even though the fear for artists in this realm is the idea of "selling out," the whole point for the individuals entering the music business is to be successful, right?
For all the deserving indie rock groups gaining commercial success, there even more bands who are equally deserving who get left in the dust. So many acts who have a great deal of talent but don't end up getting much recognition from the masses or from the media.
This is my list of some of the most underrated indie bands in the game:
Papercuts: A dreamy, indie pop group signed with Sub Pop and started by Jason Robert Quever out of California. They have a soft, mellow sound that still captures the essence of what is considered to be rock. Thus far, the band has released a total of five albums as well as an EP in 2012 and have gone on tour with major indie bands such as Grizzly Bear. Despite this, Papercuts has not gained much commercial success or buzz. Music radio sites like Pandora and Spotify have been doing a good job of getting their music out there to those who haven't otherwise heard of this indie pop project. Check Out: "Do What You Will" off the 2011 album Fading Parade.
Wild Nothing: Now calling Wild Nothing underrated at this stage in the game may seem questionable. In 2012 the band's new release Nocturne was met with positive reviews by critics including receiving an 8.3 rating by Pitchfork who put them in the "Best New Music" category. After the release, the band hit the road with the band DIIV and are now set to play The Governor's Ball music festival in NYC in June as well as Lollapalooza. In a surprisingly serious article on the satirical blog Hipster Runoff, the blogger Carles addressed how Nocturne was the most genuine musical effort of 2012. In his article he also addresses how under the radar the band still seems to be and questions why front-man Jack Tatum isn't a bigger star in the indie-sphere. As much success as they have had recently, they still have the potential for so much more. Check Out: "Summer Holiday" off their first album Gemini
Bombay Bicycle Club: In my opinion, one of the most underrated bands of all time. This indie rock group from North London emits a sound that is high-energy, melody driven, and fun. They have countless singles that are catchy that also have a great deal of heart. Their 2009 release I Had the Blues but I Shook Them Loose and their most recent release A Different Kind of Fix will have you dancing and singing along whereas their 2010 album Flaws is much more slowed down and emotional. Their overall quirkiness has compared to the likes of bands like Vampire Weekend. Still, they have gone unheard by so many. This much talent can unly go unnoticed for so long. Check Out: "Cancel On Me" off of I Had the Blues but I Shook Them Loose
The Vaccines: This English indie rock outfit has reached a great deal of success over in the U.K. but haven't had the same degree of success across the pond here in the U.S. The infectious, guitar rock group has released two masterful albums with stand out singles on each. Both albums, What Did you Expect From The Vaccines? (2011) & Come of Age (2012), received surprisingly underwhelming reviews on Pitchfork. One of their songs, "Wreckin' Bar (Ra Ra Ra)" was just recently on the hit HBO series Girls' soundtrack. The band will be making their way to Chicago in August to play Lollapalooza on the last day of the festival. This will be an excellent platform for them to gain a larger American fan base of indie music lovers. Check Out: "If You Wanna" off of What Did You Expect From The Vaccines?