Indie music is elusive and exclusive by nature. It’s not for everybody, but once you get past the cloud of obscurity, there is emotional gold in them there hills. Whether you’re smoking up at the pool, on a friend’s porch or by the ocean, these are the 10 best indie rock albums to partake with that will make your summer glimmer.
We aren’t going to tell you what weed to smoke to these titles. You are indie and don’t go with the flow anyway.
Beach House, “Bloom”
This dream-like album brings all the feels of a summer night under a full moon. Woozy and wonderful, understated but deliberate, it is best played around your closest crew. Puff-puff pass, give someone a hug and remember that kind words are free. Base friendships accordingly.
The Stone Roses, “The Stone Roses”
This one is on many a top 10 list of the best modern psychedelic records ever recorded. An old body with a young soul, it’s layered with jangling guitar melodies, swooshing vocals, and backwards tracking. This collection is all killer no filler. You can listen stoned or not, but you will be entranced either way.
Tame Impala, “Lonerism”
As the name of the album implies, this record is the stoner at the party making mental notes of the situation, good and bad. It builds, crashes and regroups without warning or apology. It’s psychedelic, brash and wistful. The summation by the end of the record is that the road of life is bumpy and beautiful. Don’t be afraid, embrace the uncertainty.
With loops and sound bytes that will make you think, “Did that just happen?” this is the musical version of the funny guy at the barbecue you didn’t know very well, but are going to be friends with after. Get high and play “Wildcat” around the cougars in the group and have an inside joke with your pals. Being high and listening to this album go together like milk and cookies.
Sigur Ros, “Agaetis Byrjun”
A masterpiece. It doesn’t matter that the lyrics are half Icelandic and half made up language. The music is beautiful and has been known to make people cry tears of joy. Depending how high you are, you may see God. Shake his/her hand and thank him for Sigur Ros.
Wilco, “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot”
Jeff Tweedy is the cool older brother or guy at the record store that you trust. He took his influences that he told you were good, then deconstructed them and put them back together and made a record. It’s way different than the ones he made before and takes a listen or two to figure out, then you like it. Then you get high one day and give it a listen. Now you love it…for life. Your dad has “Dark Side of The Moon,” but you have “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.” Lighten up, dad. It’s beautiful and stoned.
Radiohead, “In Rainbows”
In case you are worried about a pending psychotic break, this album will be your litmus test. If you can get high and navigate the 10 songs about things falling apart, falling back together, fishes being weird and bodies getting snatched without incident, you’re OK. Ride the music wave that delivers these messages and you will enjoy a validating catharsis when it breaks. Congratulations, you’re a well adjusted stoner! You kept paranoia at bay.
Air, “Moon Safari”
Listening to this album feels like the first time you enjoyed getting high. Every song is like a long hug from an old friend. It keeps you moving in a direction that just feels right. And if you don’t want to move at all, that’s OK, too. Lie on your back and watch the stars.
The Flaming Lips, “The Soft Bulletin”
A magnificent marijuana musical, this is a 58-minute masterpiece about spider bites, head wounds, and pleas for a real life Superman. Uncle Wayne Coyne’s falsetto narrative tries to make sense of the human struggle in the late 20th century over a beautiful and inspiring soundtrack. Get high and imagine a utopian society with Wayne as our leader. Then go to sleep. You are too high.
Massive Attack, “Mezzanine”
Quietly heavy, this album is serious. Consider the timing when you step to this one. If you are looking to giggle, stay away. If you want to explore the folds in your brain, ease in slowly and enjoy what you find. The water is cold but refreshing.
Spoon, “They Want My Soul”
The aural equivalent of a cool late sunny Saturday afternoon with a buzz and an ice cream cone in hand. It takes simplicity and turns it around when you least expect it. It hits your ears like a loved one’s smile hits your eyes when you see them.
Kurt Vile, “b’lieve i’m goin down…”
Stream of consciousness lyrics about walking on a pretty day, waking up to an unrecognizable face and being an outlaw team up with impromptu-sounding tunes. Kurt is the cool guy at the party who picks up a stray guitar and starts playing, but you are not bummed about it, you wanna listen or jam along. It will sneak into your mind like a burglar that leaves something instead of takes.
If you counted more than 10 albums, congratulations! You are attentive and meticulous unlike some potheads. Remember, this is an indie list and doesn’t play by the rules.
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