The concept of indie electronic was coined to describe a wide range of music that fits somewhere between pop, rock, electronica and experimental – often with danceable rhythms. Artists working in the genre often use organic instrumentation as the foundation for their compositions, but include electronic sounds to create deeper sonic textures and effects. Indie electronic artists are also known for taking a more abstract approach to songwriting, often using unconventional structures, harmonies and rhythms.
Indie electronic started in the 1990s and has since exploded. Today many artists pursue this type of sound to great effect. With that in mind, here are 8 modern indie electronic acts that are sure to please even the most discerning music aficionado.
Ibibio Sound Machine
Ibibio Sound Machine’s music blends disco and Afrobeat together to create a completely new funk experience. Their latest album, Electricity, is littered with electro-pop jams that flit around the border between funk, disco, Afrobeat, and indie electronic. Produced by Joe Goddard and Al Doyle of Hot Chip, much of the album is set to syncopated rhythms that call back to the work of legendary African drummers like Tony Allen.
Vancouver-based producer/songwriter Jack J has been working his way up through the indie electronic music scene for years, having found success with singles like the instant classic “Thirstin” and signing to Mood Hut records. Jack J constructs dreamy yet complex songs with unmatched detail and texture, as evidenced on his recently released full-length debut album, Opening The Door. Showcasing a uniquely austere vibe that keeps you spaced-out grooving with every play, the album brings to mind vintage Arthur Russell imbued with the hazy, new-agey electronic vibe we’ve come to expect from Jack J and the Mood Hut camp.
Rheinzand is a Belgian collective spearheaded by multi-instrumentalist, producer and sound alchemist Reinhard Vanbergen, Charlotte Caluwaerts (vocals), and Mo Disko. The group was formed with the ambition to create not only dance floor-friendly music but also focus on the creation of well-produced pieces which would be able to stand on their own outside the club. Propelled by heavy bass lines, explosive synths and lush soundscapes, the music of Rheinzand infectiously grows inside you with each listen.
Born in 2014, the Massachusetts duo of Jay Matthews and Augustus Muller blasted out of the gates with “Pain,” a single that racked up hundreds of thousands of views on YouTube. Their sound is distinctly dark and gothy but also imbued with a sense of fun. Boy Harsher’s latest album, The Runner, is a post-apocalyptic soundtrack, and an exploration of the duo’s indie electronic sound—melodic, pulsing synth-pop beats and appealingly austere vocals that meld into an undeniably fresh and exciting sound.
Charlotte Adigery & Bolis Pupul
Belgium’s Charlotte Adigery and Bolis Pupul are an electro-pop duo with a flair for inventive, genre-bending sound design and propulsive rhythms. With lyrics that make jabs at racism and xenophobia and instrumentation that splices dizzying percussion with rumbling bass and warped synth patters, their punchy, propulsive brand of electro-pop is also primed for the dance floor. With lyrics that reflect on every day life with a punky attitude and sardonic wit, their new album Topical Dancer is a burner of a debut that suggests the duo are only just getting started in developing their sound.
Sofia Kourtesis creates house music masterpieces. Her signature style is awash with sounds, textures and timbres so finely crafted that listening to it is like sinking into a well-worn chair. Kourtesis’s music has been compared to that of DJ Koze, Four Tet and Pantha du Prince, but the comparisons quickly break down—she shares their propensity for bells and synths; their sense for lushness and latent melody; their love for soothing deep bass tones—but not their pacing, which allows her to carry a track’s mood from beginning to end. Her 2021 Fresia Magdalena EP fuses disparate elements to create a lush whole that swings from beginning to end while always seeming to find the right tone at the right time.
Sheffield-based electronic artist Danae emerged from relative obscurity last year with her debut album Good Fruit, which saw her teaming up with prolific producer Maurice Fulton to craft an instant classic. The album bounces from downtempo R&B to four-to-the-floor house to Afro-Caribbean vibes, with every track evoking a summery, joyous feeling. It never confines itself to one genre, with Danae’s lyrics, songwriting and performances slotting perfectly into Fulton’s production.
Sofie Royer has always been surrounded by music. At the age of four she started playing the violin, and at fifteen she became an integral member of the growing Boiler Room team and an NTS Radio resident DJ. After a break-up and a family illness, Sofie moved back to her native Vienna and began writing her own music, eventually resulting in the release of her brilliant debut Cult Survivor. The album fuses an eclectic range of influences—including experimental music, ‘60s pop ballads, Todd Rundgren and Serge Gainsbourg—into a captivating indie electronic listen.