With the Top 40 on constant repeat on the radio, countless new albums from the most popular rappers and artists (most likely discovered by Simon Cowell), and every catchy (but often unoriginal) pop song being promoted on social media, it can be difficult to scout out some raw, minimally-produced music. Fortunately, independent artists are nowhere near extinct, and their material is plentiful if you know where to look. Whether on a road trip on the Pacific Northwest coast or just chilling on a rainy day with a few of your closest friends, here are 50 dreamy indie songs to add to your Spotify playlists (full playlist can be found here).
1). Tomb– Angelo De Augustine
With its angelic banjo and surprisingly masculine falsetto (Mr. De Augustine truly has a gift), this transcendental piece made the top of our list.
2). Fever To The Form– Nick Mulvey
Both catchy and contemplative, we dare you not to hum the melody after listening to Fever To The Form a few times. But what does the ominous phrase mean? The World may never know.
3). Eastern Bound– Hope and Justin
One of the more folksy songs on our list. The fusion of country, spiritual, and folksy vibes makes Eastern Bound one of our favorite indie songs.
4). Birds Say– Darlingside
We’re loving the addition of electronic bass and multi-layering.
5). Bloom– The Paper Kites
If indie songs had a president, Bloom would at least be a close runner-up.
6). Little Flowers– Denison Witmer
Such a sweet love song that we can’t imagine being played anywhere else but a rustic farmhouse.
7). Carrie & Lowell– Sufjan Stevens
We can only imagine how sore Sufjan’s fingers must be after playing this song, but we appreciate the gorgeous banjo riff nonetheless!
8). October– George Ogilvie
You’ve likely never heard of this musician, but you’ll be hearing this song after you voluntarily play it on repeat.
9). You Needed Love, I Needed You– Angelo De Augustine
This song so perfectly captures the heartbreak of being in a relationship for the long haul but your partner only going halfway. Kind of like an indie “Attention” by Charlie Puth.
10). Dance with Me– beabadoobee
This is one of the gentler, more innocent of our indie songs.
11). In Your Hands– Nick Mulvey
This man is a genius with guitar and lyrics. During your next study break, we highly recommend checking out the gorgeous music video.
12). Storybook Story– Hope and Justin
Indie music has a way of telling true love like the fairytale it can be.
13). To Be Alone With You– Sufjan Stevens
Is this pretty song about Jesus? Or just about a girl? Give this song a listen and tell us what you think!
14). Forest Fires– Axel Flovent
If Freddie Highmore quit his acting career and started pursuing music, he’d probably go and write a song like this.
15). All The Pretty Girls– KALEO
“Life is anything but fair.”
16). Tide– Angelo De Augustine
What is it with this guy and his heavenly four-letter songs (that start with T)? We’re not sure, but whatever he’s doing, he’s doing it well.
17). Ceilings– beabadoobee
This woman has the kind of ethereal voice we all envision when we think of the perfect indie song. Perhaps that’s part of the reason this song is called “Ceilings”…..
18). We Are Never Apart– Nick Mulvey
For an even bigger treat, try and see if Nick’s playing in a city near you and listen to him tell his story while playing the start of this song.
19). Halcyon– The Paper Kites
Only indie songs can find a way to mix somewhat cheery music with somewhat intense lyrics.
20). Death with Dignity– Sufjan Stevens
Sufjan wrote this song in the repose of his mother, who died of cancer in 2015.
21). Imogen– Nick Mulvey
They say that pain makes the best art, and sometimes it isn’t until you’re in the eye of Hurricane Imogen that you get inspired to write a beautiful song.
22). Green– Cavetown
This artist may just be the Justin Bieber of indie music. Listen to this song to see what we mean.
23). Drawn To The Blood– Sufjan Stevens
Never has one three minute song mixed so many religious and mystical references and make this much sense.
24). feelings are fatal– mxmtoon
The girl who sings this is the Ingrid Bergman (with her feminine voice and talent for telling love stories) of our times that we never knew we needed.
25). Lemon Boy– Cavetown
“As weeds do, we only came and grew back again.”
26). we fell in love in October– girl in red
October must be quite a productive month (and source of inspiration) for independent songwriters.
27). Lookalike– Conan Gray
The reverberation. Period.
28). Everest– beabadoobee
This song gives us some major “landslide” vibes minus Stevie Nicks.
29). Find Her Way To Me– Josh Record
Hoarse voices have a way of making indie songs sound all the more authentic (just like “Let Her Go” by Passenger).
30). Eugene– Sufjan Stevens
“Eugene” proves that memories don’t have to be big to be significant.
31). Youth– Daughter
This song has a very James Bay-like (we’re not complaining) feel until it picks up around the one-minute mark.
32). Re: Stacks– Bon Iver
Don’t get us wrong, we love his electronic stuff too, but this acoustic gem is the stuff of indie dreams.
33). Telstar– Chelou
“And it’s so easy when I have my strength, and all I’ve got to do is breathe a little deeper now.”
34). Venus– Nick Mulvey
The goddess of love may very well be speaking to us through the intricate guitar plucking in this song.
35). Try to Make a Fire Burn Again– Dawn Landes
Dawn may be on to something, fires burn much easier when they’re gently prodded first instead of forcefully ignited.
36). Wasn’t Expecting That– Jamie Lawson
Does Ed Sheehan have a long lost musical cousin? Why have we only heard about him now?
Disclaimer: He doesn’t.
37). Old Pine– Ben Howard
British indie steals our hearts yet again.
38). Should Have Known Better– Sufjan Stevens
Suf has a way of capturing the very real emotions that come through mourning the loss of a loved one.
39). Cherry Wine (live)– Hozier
“The blood is rare and sweet as cherry wine.”
40). Meet Me There– Nick Mulvey
Okay, we’re a little Nick Mulvey obsessed.
41). Mess Is Mine– Vance Joy
The “riptide” singer has other songs too, and they’re fantastic.
42). Watch Over– Lucy Rose
Look out for the switch up at 0:25.
43). Drive Darling– BOY
This song’s got enough pep and chill for your long work commutes.
44). The Trellis– Nick Mulvey
Reminiscent of the “good old days” when admirers would come to the balconies of their beloveds and serenade them (only a little hipper).
45). All Things All At Once– Tired Pony
We only hope we don’t add to this pony’s exhaustion by playing this song.
46). Berlin– Bear’s Den
“Berlin was all covered in snow, all I could offer was a hand to hold.”
47). Sunrise– Norah Jones
And I say whoo-oo-oo-oo couldn’t add this better-known (but just as beautiful) song to this list?
48). What We Called Love– Liza Flume
Love is a mysterious thing.
49). The Night We Met– Lord Huron
A strong voice against a chorus of angelic ones? Sign us up!
50). Cururucu– Nick Mulvey
Fond memories of one’s mother can make for some great songs.
Are you going to listen to these songs ASAP? Tell us in the comments below!
featured image source: https://unsplash.com/photos/Nixsk3W1XzM
Anna Livia is a Junior Communications student at John Paul The Great Catholic University. Her hobbies include reading how-to guides on being an adult, exploring the many pockets around North Country (San Diego) and attempting whatever new pasta recipes appear on Pinterest. She hails form Los Angeles but aspires to live in Houston one day for a career in Magazine Editing (not to mention the low housing prices). Her perfect afternoon would include cats of any kind, hot cider, and Malcolm In The Middle.