Wednesday, October 17, 2012

15 Indie Rock Bands with Animal Names That You Should Listen To

Indie rock music, which is often compared to alternative rock music, is supposedly the kind of music that hipsters and self-proclaimed "music snobs" listen to. Although I am neither, I like to think that I listen to indie rock because a) the music is original and good; b) most of these bands started with humble beginnings and worked their way up the college radio scene; and c) the bands give great live performances.


Indie rock bands may write original music, but some of them aren't so good at coming up with an original band name. Many of them have taken it upon themselves to name their bands after animals. They may not have the best band name, but they definitely make some of the best indie rock music.

Here are 15 of those indie rock bands (with videos of my favorite songs):

1.  Freelance Whales

Freelance Whales is an indie rock band from Queens, New York. They were formed in 2008 by finding each other through friends and Craigslist ads. After performing in the New York subway and releasing their first album on their own, they gained fame when their songs appeared on shows such as Chuck and One Tree Hill.

Similar Artists: Sufjan Stevens, The Arcarde Fire.

"Hannah" is from the 2010 album Weathervanes.

2.  Fleet Foxes

Fleet Foxes is considered both indie rock and indie folk. Originally formed in Seattle, Washington in high school, they slowly started to gain fame through positive local music reviews and millions of song plays on MySpace. Their self-titled debut album received four out of five stars from Rolling Stone, and it was rated album of the year by Billboard's Critic's Choice in 2008.

Similar Artists:  Band of Horses, Bon Iver.


"Grown Ocean" is from the 2011 album Helplessness Blues.

3. Grizzly Bear

Grizzly Bear is an indie rock band from Brooklyn, New York. The band started as a home solo project for lead songwriter Ed Droste, but later morphed into a four-piece band. Their sound is a little bit of everything, including folk, psychedelic rock and pop. One of their claims to fame occured in 2009 when Beyoncé and Jay-Z attended their show in East River State Park. Jay Z called them incredible and said that he hoped the indie rock movement would push hip-hop to go even further.

Similar Artists: Beach House, Animal Collective.


"Sleeping Ute" is from the 2012 album Shields.

4.  Deer Tick

Deer Tick is an indie rock/alt-country band from Providence, Rhode Island. The band began as a solo project by John McCauley, but has varied in band members ever since. Their debut album, War Elephant, was released in 2007, and they made their television debut in 2010 on the Late Show with David Letterman. How did they get the band name? McCauley was hiking in Morgan-Monroe State Forest in Indiana and found an actual deer tick on his scalp.

Similar Artists: Delta Spirit, The Felice Brothers.


"Main Street" is from the 2011 album Divine Providence.

5.  Wolf Parade

Wolf Parade is an indie rock band from Montreal, Quebec, Canada formed in 2003 by Spencer Krug. The band released its self-titled EP that same year and after touring with Modest Mouse, released their debut album, Apologies to Queen Mary, in 2005. The band officially announced its breakup in 2012.

Similar Artists: Tapes 'n Tapes, The Unicorns, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah.




"Kissing the Beehive" is from the 2008 album At Mount Zoomer.

6.  The Bird and the Bee

The Bird and the Bee is an indie rock/indie pop band from Los Angeles, California. The band consists of Inara George and Greg Kurstin, who met while working on George's solo debut album. They released Again and Again and Again and Again in 2006, and their electro-poppy song "Fucking Boyfriend" appeared in the 2008 comedy hit Forgetting Sarah Marshall.

Similar Artists: The Blow, Au Revoir Simone, The Ditty Bops.


"Fucking Boyfriend" is from the 2006 album Again and Again and Again and Again.

7.  Arctic Monkeys

Arctic Monkeys is an English indie rock band from Sheffield, England. With the helpd of internet file-sharing from fans, MySpace and BBC Radio, the band's first single, "I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor," went to #1 on the UK Singles chart. The single and U.S. sales of the album weren't as high in the U.S., but they gained positive reviews and have been compared to The Strokes.

Similar Artists: The Strokes, The Kooks, The Vaccines.


"I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor" is from the 2006 album Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not.

8.  The Reindeer Section

The Reindeer Section is an indie rock group from Glasgow, Scottland. The band was formed by Snow Patrol lead singer Gary Lightbody in 2001, and toured briefly in 2001 and 2002. The band was formed when Lightbody drunkenly challenged a group of other musicians to make an album with him. Considering that the album was supposedly written overnight, it won critical acclaim. No news if the band will do another album...but they should!

Similar Artists: Snow Patrol, Idlewild, Matt Pond PA.


"Will You Please Be There for Me" is from the 2001 album Y'all Get Scared Now, Ya Hear!

9.  Minus the Bear

Minus the Bear is an indie rock band from Seattle, Washington. The band was formed in 2001 and is made of up former members of mathcore (math metal) band Botch, post-hardcore band Kill Sadie and indie rock band Sharks Keep Moving. The band's name is derived from the '70s comedy sitcom B.J. and the Bear.

Similar Artists: Pinback, Portugal, The Man


"My Time" is from the 2010 album Omni.

10.  Eels

Eels is an indie rock band originally performed solo by artist Mark Olivier Everett (also known simply as E) in Los Feliz, California. E released his first album in 1992, but later formed Eels with Tommy Walter. From releasing their first album Beautiful Freak in 1996 to their latest, End of Times, in 2010, the band has had several different members and varying rock sounds.

Similar Artists: Sparklehorse, Badly Drawn Boy, Tom Waits


"Novocaine for the Soul' is from the 1996 album Beautiful Freak.

11. Band of Horses

Band of Horses is another indie rock band from Seattle, Washington. The band was originally formed in 2004 by Ben Bridwell, and has had several band member changes since then. They were first recognized after opening up for Iron & Wine, and later for Pearl Jam and Snow Patrol. Their 2009 album, Infinite Arms, was considered one of the best of 2010.

Similar Artists: My Morning Jacket, The Shins, Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros


"No One's Gonna Love You" is from the 2007 album Cease to Begin.

12.  Modest Mouse

Modest Mouse is an indie rock band from Issaquah, Washington. The original band members formed in 1993 and consisted of Isaac Brock, Jeremiah Green and Eric Judy. After recording under several different labels, the band finally received critical acclaim with their 2000 album The Moon & Antarctica. Their first big hit came in 2003 with "Float On," and their first album to hit #1 was 2006's We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank.

Similar Artists: Neutral Milk Hotel, Pavement, Broken Social Scene


"The World at Large" is from the 2004 album Good News for People Who Love Bad News.

13.  Pedro the Lion

Pedro the Lion is an indie rock band from Seattle, Washington. Formed in 1995 by David Bazan, he played just about every instrument on the band's first two albums. The band had several different members before it officially split in 2006.

Similar Artists: Sunny Day Real Estate, The Get Up Kids, The Promise Ring


"Rapture" is from the 2002 album Location is Everything, Vol. 1.

 14. Doves

Doves is an indie rock band from Cheshire, England. The band consists of three members: brothers Jez and Andy Williams and Jimi Goodwin. They met while in high school and released their first single under the name Sub Sub in 1991. After their recording studio burned down in 1996 they regrouped as the Doves. They are currently on hiatus with recording and touring.

Similar Artists: The Verve, The Electric Soft Parade, The Stone Roses



"There Goes the Fear" is from the 1999 album Amazing.

15. Animal Collective

Animal Collective is the perfect band to collectively bring together these animal-named bands. An indie rock band from Baltimore, Maryland, they also combine the sounds of folk, electronica, psychedelic and noise pop. The band members are childhood friends that started out by covering songs by Pavement. They released their first studio album in 2000 and started recording their tenth album in January 2012.

Similar Artists: Panda Bear, Dirty Projectors, Neutral Milk Hotel


"My Girls" is from the 2009 album Merriweather Post Pavilion.

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