Indie bands that bring the bass
April 27, 2016 7:39 AM   Subscribe

Reading Sasha Frere-Jones's 2007 article about the lack of audible bass frequencies and syncopated bass parts in indie rock again recently got me thinking. What contemporary indie rock bands bring the bass?

I'm not looking for funk, or electronic or EDM-influenced rock like HEALTH, necessarily (as great as HEALTH are), but more for conventionally instrumented songs in an indie-rock or shoegaze vernacular like early Alt-J or S.C.U.M.'s Whitechapel that feature prominent walking or driving bass parts or mesmerizing heavy bass textures. Thanks!
posted by Sonny Jim to Media & Arts (12 answers total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
Elbow. For example, bass is brought at about 0:42 in this version: The Bones of You. This entire album (Seldom Seen Kid) is pretty bass-driven.
posted by nosila at 7:54 AM on April 27, 2016 [3 favorites]

The High Strung — you'll recognize this song if you watch the TV show Shameless. Listen with good headphones.
posted by John Cohen at 7:57 AM on April 27, 2016

Polvo's new stuff has some reasonably assertive bass. Beggar's Bowl, for instance.
posted by saladin at 8:57 AM on April 27, 2016 [1 favorite]

Low - example track: Murderer

TV on the Radio - example track/video: Staring at the Sun (not as bassy as I recalled, but that may just be a YouTube/video issue)

Yahoo Answers did a decent job with answering a question about good indie songs for learning bass, so there's a good bass presence in those songs. Thanks to one answer, I found Vía Láctea by Zoé, a Mexican band.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:14 AM on April 27, 2016 [2 favorites]

How about Foals? There are a lot of their songs where think the bass is the most interesting part, e.g. 1, 2
posted by btfreek at 1:38 PM on April 27, 2016 [2 favorites]

DIIV you've covered, so I'll say Beach Fossils
Radiohead especially Scotch Mist or From the Basement
Seconding Low and TVotR.
posted by a halcyon day at 3:23 PM on April 27, 2016

Well, there's the song I am listening to while reading your question. Athens, Greece band Whereswilder. Song: Bo. Or maybe you prefer their song, Snow?

I feel you on this! Indie bands really benefit from a strong rhythm section. From a prior generation, the Minutemen would be an example of this, or (more obscurely), Moving Targets.

Lastly, the past 20 years of Einsturzende Neubauten's music is criminally underappreciated. Given their unconventional instrumentation, the bass often takes the melodic lead. An example, the gorgeous Sabrina.
posted by ferdydurke at 5:37 PM on April 27, 2016 [1 favorite]

Love Language - Calm Down
posted by josher71 at 6:41 AM on April 28, 2016

Best answer: Blonde Redhead- 23
posted by josher71 at 6:45 AM on April 28, 2016

Best answer: Big Business brings the thickness to their riffs. 'Indie' seems a borderline definitionless term, and they may drift on the heavier side of things altho I wouldn't qualify them as 'metal'. They are Melvins-adjacent, to the point that several members of BB were playing with the Melvins during '(A) Senile Animal' days. Either way, they goddamn rock.
posted by FatherDagon at 11:28 AM on April 28, 2016


Look into Japanese indie/shoegaze bands. I find they consistently have really interesting bass parts. Arukankaku. Kinoko Teikoku.
posted by koucha at 5:38 PM on April 28, 2016

posted by josher71 at 8:18 AM on April 29, 2016

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