A 7-Band Cheat Sheet For Pretending You Know About Hipster Music


Do you love new music? There's a problem with finding it: it isn't easy trying to play catch up to your hipster friend or colleague. In fact it's nearly impossible. Somehow the hipster will always manage to be one step ahead of you when it comes to finding new music, and I've quit trying. So as a helpful tool to anyone else that, like me, just can't manage to beat a hipster to new music, can at least have something to talk with them about. Furthermore, as a guy whose music career ended in high school, I've provided a handy dandy comparison cheat sheet for each of the forthcoming bands. 

1. Silversun Pickups - The Pit:

What it Kind of Sounds Like: The Silversun Pickups really sound a lot like the Smashing Pumpkins; they have the same melancholy chord progressions, as well as a lead singer whose voice is going to take some getting used to. This is a very-love-it-or-hate-it band, but their most recent album, Neck of the Woods (2012), can be very versatile. One half of it sounds like a suicide note, and the other is a great work-out album. It's up to you to decide how your day will go. 

Notes: If you are asked about the Silversun Pickups, be sure to reference: their Pitchfork album rating for their album Swoon, the grandiose style as to the way the compose the melodies of their songs, and the very degrees of musicality that juxtapose with each other while listening.

2. Wintersleep - Resuscitate:

What it Kind of Sounds Like: You! Well, that time when you completely wasted and were trying to sing that Jason Mraz song, but you couldn't remember how it went and ended up singing it all on the same pitch. Sure it sounded like incoherent moaning, but at least you had a great time.

Notes: "Resuscitate" is from Wintersleep's newest album Hello Hum (2012). It sounds very similar to the above song and is also very Canadian, so you will occasionally hear an "aboot" and more than one apology. Also, Wintersleep has been featured prominently on the SyFy show Being Human so be careful name-dropping this band around 16-24 year old girls unless you are really into vampires and werewolves.

3. Django Django - Default:

What it Kind of Sounds Like: Imagine if the guythat stomps his foot in Mumford and Sons had a love child with the static from the television in The Ring.

Notes: This band is in no way connected to Django Unchained ... believe me, I've checked. The lyrics do not make sense, so it is allowed to make them up, if need be. Name-dropping this band will only impress hipsters as positively no one else has heard of them. The appropriate way to describe this band is eclectic, or unorthodox.

4. Ben Howard - Old Pine:

What it Kind of Sounds Like: Bon Iver. Like, if you took Bon Iver and made him British and less self-absorbed? It has that same kind of folk sound which makes it the perfect song to put on for your significant other to show him or her that you are cultured and deeply emotional ... or get high to.

Notes: Is not Bon Iver. If you confuse the two you will sound like an idiot and nothing is worse than a hipster's condescending laughter. 

5. The Killers - Runaways:

What it Kind of Sounds Like: An 80s power ballad. Possibly Styx, but more likely Journey, which puts this song in a safe category on your "Music Should I Play When My Father Is In My Car" mixtape.

Notes: The Killers have some history behind them. C'mon, everyone has had to have heard "Mr. Brightside" by now. So you could talk about this song with pretty much anyone that isn't wearing a Lynyrd Skynyrd shirt on.

6. Matt and Kim - Let's Go:

What it Kind of Sounds Like: That other song by this band ... what was that called?

Notes: It will take about three listens before you can begin to enjoy the song, much less the album, so give yourself a solid six hours for a full album listen, you may want to take notes too. Despite the cutesy exterior of Matt and Kim, their fan base is very hardcore, so if you say that you like Matt and Kim, you had better be able to explain why. (Hint: it should have something to do with musical diversity.)

7. The Neighbourhood - Sweater Weather:

What it Kind of Sounds Like: A hip-hop/alternative fusion project. Be prepared for strong beats and strange (also, vaguely inappropriate) lyrics. The Neighbourhood's debut EP consists of: a song about sweaters, a song about killing the president, a song about women committing larceny, and two songs about leaving someplace and then returning.

Notes: Despite this markedly Californian band obnoxiously using the British spelling for their title, they get two thumbs up from me for actually being really good ... shocking.

Until these bands become old and lame (in approximately three months) use this list to win over the respect of your music listening peers, and possibly springboard into some other new bands and music.