female indie artists

The World of Female Indie Artists: A Patronizing Guide

I often find that those with a more casual relationship with music fail to understand the world of female indie singers. But don’t fret; this article will guide you through this wild, artful garden. Strap in, neophytes.

1.Kate Bush: More Than Just Hounds of Love

To begin this snobbish discourse, let’s turn our attention to Kate Bush. For the uninitiated, Bush is a female indie artist who burst into the music scene way before you were likely cognizant of what music is. Some critics relegate her to soft rock, others say she ventured into world music, but if you truly get it, you’d understand that Bush’s unique sound defies categorization.

Her debut album, “The Kick Inside,” was released when she was just 19, setting a high bar for all female indie singers to follow. For those of you who lack the ability to appreciate music beyond your top 50 Spotify playlist, her best track isn’t “Wuthering Heights”. Try “Running Up That Hill”, it might be more palatable for you.

2.Fiona Apple: Not the Fruit, the Artist

The second course of our journey takes us to Fiona Apple. If your understanding of music only extends to deciphering “happy” and “sad” songs, Fiona’s discography might be challenging for you. She doesn’t just write songs, she pens emotional journeys.

Her debut album, “Tidal,” put her on the map, with critics throwing words like ‘critical acclaim’ and ‘baroque pop’ around like they were candy. Her recent release, “Fetch the Bolt Cutters,” bagged two Grammy Awards. Not that a Grammy is the only metric for musical prowess, but it’s a term you laypeople seem to understand.

3.Björk: Unique, Much Like Her Name

Björk is next. Those of you who only appreciate “pop” music may find her challenging, but try to keep up. This Icelandic marvel has been at the forefront of the indie scene for decades. Her debut solo album (because she was in other bands before, did you know?) flaunts an eclectic blend of genres that includes electro-pop and alternative rock.

She might not fit into the mold of conventional female indie singers, but I’m assuming you’re not looking for more Taylor Swift types. Or maybe you are? I’ll just go ahead and remind you that Björk has more than two albums under her belt.

4.Florence Welch: A Machine

Florence Welch, the lead singer of Florence + The Machine, is another artist who refuses to be boxed into a single genre. You’d recognize her for her songs from “Game of Thrones”, but her discography extends far beyond that. Her voice is the driving force behind the band’s indie rock and baroque pop sound.

Their debut album, “Lungs,” is worth a listen, even if just for the lead single “Dog Days Are Over.” Don’t worry, it won’t be too taxing on your musical comprehension.

5.Phoebe Bridgers: The Dark Horse

Phoebe Bridgers, one of the recent figures in the indie folk world, might resonate with the melancholy lot among you. While her second album, “Punisher,” attracted attention, her debut album, “Stranger in the Alps,” has some original songs that are worth your time. You know, assuming you have a palette for authentic music.

6.Lana Del Rey: Queen of Indie Pop

Lastly, Lana Del Rey. She might not need an introduction, given her mainstream appeal. Her dream pop and baroque pop tunes on albums like “Born to Die” and “Lust for Life” have been well-received, even by people who wouldn’t know the difference between a riff and a hook.

You’d be surprised to know that she received critical acclaim for her debut single “Video Games.” But don’t just stop there; venture into her discography to explore her unique sound. Just try not to get lost in her sultry voice.

7.St. Vincent: A Far Cry from Your Radio Pop

First up is St. Vincent, also known as Annie Clark, a female indie artist who fuses indie rock and electro pop with the nonchalance that most of you exhibit towards quality music. If you manage to listen beyond her Grammy-award-winning fourth album, “St. Vincent,” you might just find a new appreciation for her unique sound.

“Actor,” her second album, deserves critical acclaim for her unique exploration of themes like mental health and identity. But then again, to understand that, you’d need to listen to the lyrics, wouldn’t you?

8.Tori Amos: She Plays the Piano, You Know

Next, we venture into the world of Tori Amos. An artist not merely content to sing, she plays piano too. The cornerstone of her work is her debut album “Little Earthquakes,” which is, without a doubt, much more intricate than the simplistic melodies you probably hum in the shower.

Her songs are like poems. Not that you’d appreciate that. You’d probably just skip over her music videos on YouTube in favor of some vapid pop star writhing around.

9.Joanna Newsom: No, She Doesn’t Play the News

Joanna Newsom, a figure often associated with the indie folk and baroque pop genres, is another artist who dares to be different. If the word ‘harpist’ is too obscure for you, think of it as a fancy guitar with lots of strings. Her music offers a blend of orchestral and folk elements, creating a unique sound that is a welcome deviation from the mind-numbing monotony of mainstream pop.

Her debut album, “The Milk-Eyed Mender,” introduced the world to her poetic lyrics and complex melodies, a world you’re too scared to venture into, apparently.

10.Angel Olsen: Not Your Guardian Angel

Angel Olsen’s music is a bitter pill to swallow for the ill-equipped, but if you can muster the courage, it might just open your eyes. Or ears, in this case. A cornerstone of her discography, her fourth studio album, “All Mirrors,” delves into alternative rock and indie pop.

Although she began her solo career with a folk and indie rock sound, she has since incorporated synths, which for your information, isn’t just an abbreviation for ‘synthetic.’

11.Mitski: More Than Just an Indie Darling

Last but certainly not least, we have Mitski. Her recent release, “Be the Cowboy,” received critical acclaim. And by ‘critical acclaim’, I mean the kind of recognition that goes beyond social media likes and shares. Her writing doesn’t merely involve rhyming words at the end of each line, but rather articulates the human condition with a profound depth of understanding.

Her songs, whether they come from her debut album or her last, straddle the line between indie rock and indie pop, creating a soundscape that your earbuds might be too inferior to truly appreciate.

12.Courtney Barnett: More Than A Rambling Woman

Courtney Barnett, a female indie artist hailing from Australia, has an knack for wrapping biting wit and poignant observations in her songs. But you might not have noticed that, lost as you probably were in the deceptive simplicity of her indie rock sound.

If you can take a moment away from your maddening TikTok dances, do give her second album, “Tell Me How You Really Feel,” a spin. You might just stumble upon a new appreciation for her unique storytelling.

13.Snail Mail: Faster Than You Think

Next on the roster, we have Snail Mail, or as you might better understand, Lindsey Jordan. This female indie singer’s debut album, “Lush,” rightfully received critical acclaim. Not that that means much to the likes of you, who probably gauge the value of music by its chart positions.

Her recent release, “Valentine,” is an indie pop masterpiece, although it might be a tad complex for your commonplace taste.

14.Lucy Dacus: Not A Dinosaur

Lucy Dacus is another name you’d do well to know. With her indie rock sound, she’s carved a niche for herself in the music scene. If the word ‘niche’ confounds you, let’s just say she’s good at what she does.

Her debut album, “No Burden,” is a delightfully honest exploration of existential themes, perhaps too philosophical for your uncomplicated, everyday playlists.

15.Soccer Mommy: No, She’s Not Your Friend’s Mom

Enter Soccer Mommy, or Sophie Allison, a female indie singer who isn’t here to croon about sunshine and daisies. Her second album, “Color Theory,” delves into mental health, an issue I’m sure you’d rather ignore while bobbing your head to the latest techno beats.

With her unique blend of indie pop and indie rock, Allison offers a refreshing perspective on songwriting. Or she would, if you paid attention to the lyrics.

16.Japanese Breakfast: No, It’s Not a Meal

Finally, we arrive at Japanese Breakfast, the moniker of Michelle Zauner. While her stage name might make you think of sushi and miso soup, her music serves up an altogether different feast. Her third album, “Jubilee,” ventures into dream pop and indie rock, genres I’d explain if I thought you’d understand.

Her music videos, like the one for the lead single “Be Sweet,” are equally notable. Not that I expect you to appreciate the aesthetics.

17.Haim: It’s Not a Typo

Haim, a band of three sisters, is a revelation in the music scene. Their eclectic blend of indie rock and soft rock could be a bit challenging for your basic pop preferences, but let’s try, shall we?

Their second album, “Something to Tell You,” has a rhythm and flow far superior to your favored heavy metal anthems. Their unique sound is worth delving into if you can pause your repeat play of the latest auto-tuned hit.

18.The xx: No, It’s Not a Kiss

The xx isn’t a mark of affection, but a band you ought to know. Romy Madley Croft, the female singer in the group, has a voice that can weave intricate tapestries of emotion. Her singing prowess is quite a contrast from the monotonous droning you seem to enjoy.

The band’s debut album, “xx,” garnered critical acclaim, though you wouldn’t understand the criterion. Their music is categorized as indie pop and dream pop, genres that might be too innovative for your stagnant playlist.

19.CHVRCHES: Not Your Sunday Destination

CHVRCHES (no, it’s not a typo, and no, they’re not religious) is a band whose music pulses with the vibrant energy of synth-heavy electro pop. Lauren Mayberry, the lead singer, delivers each song with a rawness that may bewilder your taste accustomed to prepackaged pop songs.

Their fourth album, “Screen Violence,” is not a call to smash your screens but an exploration of a digitized society’s horrors. Perhaps you could take a break from scrolling on your phone to give it a listen.

20.Grimes: No Relation to Rick

Next, we have Grimes, a musical enigma who might confuse your straightforward sensibilities. Her music defies the regular boundaries, fusing elements of dream pop, electro pop, and even world music. But then again, the world is more than just your neighborhood, isn’t it?

Her album “Art Angels” is a testament to her unique artistry. But the complexity might be too much for you, who probably categorizes music by mood emojis.

21.MUNA: Not a Moon

Finally, there’s MUNA, a band with the capability to mold indie pop into anthems of self-affirmation and introspection. Their second album, “Saves the World,” could use a spin on your record player. Assuming, of course, you have one that isn’t just a decorative piece.

The lead single “Number One Fan” can be an eye-opener if you can look beyond the catchy chorus and danceable beats.

22.Kelela: An Education in R&B Fusion

First up, Kelela, an indie artist you might not be aware of, given your unfortunate inclination towards the mainstream. Her unique blend of R&B and electro pop on her debut album, “Take Me Apart,” is both exhilarating and challenging, unlike the predictable tunes you usually sway to.

Kelela’s songwriting prowess, particularly on tracks like “Frontline,” is a testament to her artistry. But don’t strain yourself too much trying to comprehend her profound lyricism.

Honourable Mentions

Janelle Monáe: Not Just a Hollywood Darling

Next, we have Janelle Monáe, an artist who, despite her foray into Hollywood, has made an indelible mark in the music scene. Her second album, “The Electric Lady,” earned critical acclaim. But of course, you may not have heard of it, ensnared as you are by the same ten songs on the radio.

Monáe’s unique sound fuses funk, soul, and indie pop, creating an audio extravaganza that may just overwhelm your unseasoned ears.

Kacey Musgraves: More Than a Country Girl

Kacey Musgraves might be known for her roots in the country genre, but her album “Golden Hour” transcends boundaries, incorporating elements of indie pop and soft rock. Her seamless blend of genres could be too complex for your one-dimensional musical tastes, but there’s no harm in trying, right?

Musgraves has two Grammy awards under her belt, not that I expect you to grasp the magnitude of this achievement.

Billie Eilish: The Exception to the Rule

Ah, Billie Eilish. Here’s someone you’ve undoubtedly heard of, even with your limited knowledge. Her debut album, “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?,” shattered records and won a slew of Grammy awards.

Her indie pop tracks, often brooding and introspective, stand in stark contrast to your usual fare of cheery pop fluff. Eilish’s music videos are another testament to her innovative artistry, but perhaps the deeper layers of meaning in them may escape your basic understanding.

In Conclusion: The Timeless Voices of Indie

As we wrap up this rather enlightening journey into the realm of indie music, let us reiterate, for those less musically astute, the purpose of this exercise. It wasn’t merely to list names and regurgitate facts; no, it was to shine a spotlight on the breadth and depth of talent possessed by the incredible female indie artists that shape and redefine our musical landscape.

From the deeply poignant and introspective lyrics of Fiona Apple to the stirring, soulful harmonies of HAIM, to the raw, innovative soundscapes crafted by the likes of Kelela, these 25 female indie singers are not just artists – they are trailblazers, each carving their own unique paths in the complex maze of the music industry.

Their profound influence is a testament to their immeasurable talent, but also to the ever-evolving nature of indie music itself. These artists challenge conventions, break boundaries, and continually push the envelope of what music can be – a concept, I realize, may seem foreign to those comfortable in the monotonous loop of mainstream chart-toppers.

If there is one thing to take away from this article, let it be this – there is a world of music waiting to be discovered beyond the Top 40. And within the indie genre, these 25 female singers stand as shining examples of the variety, the innovation, and the sheer emotional power that music can hold.

Should you choose to stay confined within the boundaries of your limited musical tastes, that’s your loss. But should you decide to venture out, to explore the diverse soundscapes these artists have to offer – well, that might just be the first step on your journey towards a richer, fuller appreciation of the grand tapestry of music that exists out there. But, dear readers, the choice, as always, is yours.