Before It Goes Mainstream: Top 10 Hipster Bands

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Everyone always has that one friend who, by some force of nature, is always in the know when it comes to the latest in hipster music.
Gaining this lucrative position among your peers can often be difficult because finding obscure bands can be nearly impossible if you don’t know where to look. But if you wait for the other alternative, which is for these bands to make it big, well then you’ve entirely missed the point.
This time though, prepare to be the envy of all your friends as College Magazine takes the guesswork out for you.
Here is a list of 10 of the hottest hipster bands that have yet to hit the mainstream. These bands not only embody the hipster spirit in rhythm, style and sound, but they haven’t infiltrated the airwaves. Take a glimpse at these burgeoning bands before they make it big!

1. The Antlers

The Antlers may have only released two official albums since their debut Hospice in 2009, but this has not stopped this critically acclaimed band from blowing up the blogosphere. With heavy themes pervading each record and an eclectic group of instruments, such as a bowed banjo and harp, this trio is a force to watch in the indie rock scene.

2. St. Vincent

St. Vincent is the solo effort of the multi-instrumentalist and singer-song writer Annie Erin Clark, and her melodic tunes are an absolute listening pleasure. She has opened for some of the most notable names in indie rock like Death Cab for Cutie and Arcade Fire and also worked with artists ranging from Bon Iver to Kid Cudi. She may not be a household name yet, but it is only a matter of time before her talents are noticed by the mainstream. If anyone has the gusto to produce the world’s next breakout hit like Foster The People’s “Pumped Up Kicks,” she can be the one to do it.

3. Dumbo Gets Mad

The illusive and oddly named Dumbo Gets Mad spent 2011 splashed across every reputable indie music blog. His ’60 vibe, funky bass and hypnotic melodies seem effortlessly forward-thinking. If you are looking for a relatively unknown hipster band that will leave you shaking off one serious acid-trip, Dumbo Gets Mad is your moneymaker.

4. m83

This French-based act exemplifies the shoegazing genre with its extensive use of reverb and softly sung lyrics over wildly loud instruments. These guys have been on the scene for about a decade and have remained somewhat underground, but judging from their raw talent it is probably not an accident. Their interesting guitar work, haunting vocals and cool vibe leaves a lasting impact that every true and wannabe hipster will rejoice in.


Based out of Brooklyn, this five-piece group has deep roots in the indie pop sound. However, the use of tribal beats, classical orchestration and echo pedals sets SNOWMINE apart from the rest. Hipsters and indie lovers alike will flock to SNOWMINE for their natural sound, but they will stay for the band’s constancy in providing such a compounded experience.

6. Nerves Junior

This indie rock group is fresh out of Kentucky and brings something utterly new to this diverse music culture. Their music’s darker atmosphere is paired elegantly with loads of rock and electronic elements, which lend for a richer sound. They use the same vocal, rhythm and guitar scheme like many of their colleagues but stack them up in a way that feels original despite its pop influences. Every good hipster loves a band that isn’t afraid to change it up, and Nerves Junior fits that mold precisely.

7. Miniature Tigers

Their song “The Wolf” may have appeared in the film “Easy A,” but this short burst of airtime wasn’t enough to propel the talented band into the Top 40 list. However, their quirky style is catching eyes and shows with obscure soundtracks will surely be giving this indie pop group some stints. Known to have songs with witty lyrics, humorous subject matter and booming percussion, Miniature Tigers are sure to leave behind a legacy of catchy tunes that most music lovers will enjoy.

8. Real Estate

This indie rock band is relatively new on the scene, but this should be seen as only a plus to fans of hipster music. The newer bands are often the ones who try to introduce a different sound onto the scene, and Real Estate is trying to establish itself by doing just that. Real Estate reminds us of the warm, oldies sound mixed with its New Jersey roots. This means their new sound contains serious reverb and delay on every single track, while each harmony retains a hint of familiarity and nostalgia.

9. Youth Lagoon

Say “Youth Lagoon” and you’ll imagine a dreamy and woozy like state, which is a quality that can be found in songs by the band of the same name. The young group capitalizes on this immersive effect and perfects it to the point where it can entrance even the strong-minded. These tracks are sure to pop up in film and TV soon so get to know their sound before everyone does. 

10. Delta Spirit

The debate of whether or not the hipster brand was born in California may rage on, but Delta Spirit is a great argument for those who believe it was. This group utilizes odd “instruments” like trashcan lids and orchestral bass to round out their natural tones. The self-proclaimed hybrid of northern soul and rock is famous for its celestial influences and truly Californian-feel.  
Check out our ranking of the 10 Most Hipster Campuses.

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