Indie is a genre that floats between punk, rock, electro, and pop. Each band is distinctive, even though some sound very much alike. Below is a list of some of the most popular and influential bands of the genre. From the legendary to the under appreciated—either way they are all names you should definitely know!

1. The Fratellis

With a strong clear voice Jon Fratelli (lead vocals) will introduce you to “Chelsea Dagger“, take you on “A Heady Tale“, or tell you about the time he went “Creepin Up The Backstairs“. All very different songs with rather different tempos, yet the soothing (and simultaneously upbeat) sound The Fratellis produce will keep you singing along cheerfully—regardless of the meanings behind the lyrics. Highly recommended for fans of Franz Ferdinand and Panic! At The Disco.

Notable lyrics from “Tell Me A Lie

So I told them all I could about what they could expect
But I lost my sense of smell and gained my self-respect
They told me I was curious, I told them they were slow
And they asked me where I get this stuff, I told them I don’t know

2. Vampire Weekend

Having worked the indie scene since 2006, it was with their 2008 single “A-Punk” that Vampire Weekend made their mark on the US indie scene. A unique blend of African beats, electro backings, and pop-punk vocals has made them a band to listen to and to keep your eye on. Their latest album Contra was released in January 2010 and will please any Tokyo Police Club and The Wombats groupies.

Notable Lyrics from “The Kids Don’t Stand A Chance

A devastatin’ backstroke
All the way from France
With shiny, shiny cuff links
A shirtsleeve to enhance

The pin striped men of mornin’
Are comin’ for to dance
With pure Egyptian cotton
The kids don’t stand a chance

3. The Ting Tings

Think Blondie—add Meg White’s (The White Stripes) drum skills. Mix in an electro dance beat with some punk rock lyrics. The  result? The Ting Tings! Indie is a sound that draws its influences from a variety of genres, and this band has delved into many music melting pots to produce a staccato sensation. Short songs, not lasting much longer than 3 minutes each, make The Ting Tings easy to listen to without becoming bored. If you like Sam Sparro or Ladyhawke you’ll like this quirky duo.

Notable lyrics from  “That’s Not My Name

They call me hell
They call me Stacey
They call me her
They call me Jane

That’s not my name
That’s not my name
That’s not my name
That’s not my name

4. The Wombats

The indie music genre is usually associated with bands such as Kaiser Chiefs—bands with a rocker edge and feel within the indie scene. However, it is The Wombats that have had made a great contribution to the indie pop scene. Arguably their most popular song, “Let’s Dance To Joy Division“, illustrates their strong pop-punk rhythm combined with a catchy beat suitable for any club and dance floor. If you like Gaslight Anthem you’ll love The Wombats.

Notable lyrics from “Let’s Dance To Joy Division

Let’s dance to Joy Division
And celebrate the irony
Everything is going wrong
But we’re so happy

5. Babyshambles

Formed in 2003 by the legendary Pete Doherty, Babyshambles is the more melodic version of his renowned The Libertines. Love him or hate him, it has to be said that Mr. Doherty has a unique voice that makes “Fuck Forever” or “Delivery” must-listen-to singles. Babyshambles is a band which has influenced, and continues to influence, indie musicians worldwide—surely this is something worth three minutes of your time. Beyond highly recommended for individuals who like Dirty Pretty Things.

Notable lyrics from “Delivery

By, oh by, the way of an explanation
Cast adrift of the shores of shorty’s nation
I had a lick, it caved my skull in like a brick

Call now, what use am I to anyone
I’m fucked, forlorn, frozen beneath the summer
Don’t sing along or you’ll get what I got

6. The Pixies

Best known for their songs “Here Comes Your Man” and “Where Is My Mind“, The Pixies are the most mature musicians on this list. The band was formed in 1986, and it is mostly their featuring on several indie film soundtracks that has contributed to their success. The 1988 album Surfer Rosa shows the band’s ability to alter from a Pink Floyd-like psychedelic sound to The Stooges rock. If you’re interested in indie, or want to hear songs from the ‘Fight Club’ soundtrack, be sure to give these legends a listen.

Notable lyrics from “Here Comes Your Man

I know the nervous walking
I know the dirty beard hair hangs
Out by the box car waiting
Take me away to nowhere plains

7. Action Action

Of the 10 bands listed, Action Action is the only band whose music is identifiable because of a commercial. In 2010 Gillette used their song “A Dream Within A Dream” causing an increase in the downloading of Action Action’s self-released 2010 album The Ones Who Get It Are The Ones Who Need Not To Know. Personally I am not a great fan of this band, but I can appreciate their soothing sound and similarity to Coldplay. My favorite Action Action song would have to be “Drug Like“—a song with a strong gothic rock influence.

Notable lyrics from  “Drug Like

The world falls apart in just seven days
It sinks to the bottom in oceans of rain
The cure is so clear, the blood is astray
And everyone dies except for the rain

8. Citizen Cope

It’s rare that solo indie artists’ talent are recognized in the indie rock or indie pop scene. The genre is dominated by pioneering bands; however Citizen Cope’s music is so inspiring I felt he had to be placed on this list. His lyrics are normally very political, but with the R&B influence seem calming and sincere. If you like Paolo Nutini you’ll love Citizen Cope. I highly recommend his  song “Let The Drummer Kick“.

Notable lyrics from Sideways

These feelings won’t go away
They’ve been knockin’ me sideways
They’ve been knockin’ me out lately
Whenever you come around me

These feelings won’t go away
They’ve been knockin’ me sideways
I keep thinkin’ in a moment that
Time will take them away

9. Kaiser Chiefs

The Kaiser Chiefs—the only band I know named after an African football team—is one of the most popular indie artists on this list. Supporting a strong UK indie rock sound with great keyboard presence and a heavy punk rock influence, this band reminds me greatly of the Sex Pistols. Their song “Everyday I Love You Less And Less” is a hilarious anthem for every angry, angsty individual who has something or someone they love less and less with every passing day. I would recommend this for all punk rockers and indie fans, especially those who enjoy Franz Ferdinand and The Clash.

Notable lyrics from “Everyday I Love You Less And Less

Everyday I love you less and less
I’ve got to get this feeling off my chest
The doctor says all I need’s pills and rest
Since everyday I love you less and less

10. Arctic Monkeys

Whatever People Say, That’s What I’m Not—this is one of my favorite album titles, and happens to be the title of the Arctic Monkeys second album. Arctic Monkeys reminds me of Cornershop but with a slap of Pete Doherty in the mix. A punk rock influenced indie band with clear lyrics discussing varying relatable relationships, Arctic Monkeys is a band worth exploring—even if you find their t-shirt and ties combination a bit odd. For fans of The Libertines.

Notable lyrics from “Brianstorm

Some want to kiss, some want to kick you
There’s not a net you couldn’t slip through
Or at least that’s the impression I get
Cause you’re smooth and you’re wet
And she’s not aware yet, but she’s yours