The 20 Worst Hipster Bands: 10-1

White Rabbits
White Rabbits

The 20 Worst Hipster Bands: 20-11

Top 20 Worst Bands of All Time

Top 20 Musicians of All Time, in Any Genre

Top 20 Whitest Musicians of All Time

Upcoming Events

10. White Rabbits

Why do bands need a second drummer? In recent years everyone from Local Natives to Bon Iver to fucking Radiohead has thrown a second kit out there, or at least a floor tom or two. If you think all that extra bashing make bands' music more interesting, then you must love Brooklyn's White Rabbits, because they've sometimes employed three drummers! Unfortunately, they end up proving that when you write forgettable, buttoned-down indie rock, no amount of percussion can save you from sounding like a second-rate Spoon. -Andy Hermann

Beach House
Beach House

9. Beach House

Beach House lead singer Victoria Legrand has been compared to Nico, which makes sense in that Nico has an extremely vapid voice. A wash of down-tuned Baltimore neo-soul, it's trip-hop for people who never knew Massive Attack and post-rock for those who missed Stereolab; in other words, derivative electro mush. The band's moniker is also misleading. As Linda Richman might say, they're neither about beaches nor house music. Discuss. -Linda Leseman

The Airborne Toxic Event
The Airborne Toxic Event

8. The Airborne Toxic Event

They named themselves after a Don DeLillo plot device. They frequently play with a string quartet. They released a live album recorded at Disney Concert Hall. Their best-known song contains the lyric, "She's holding her tonic like a cross." They favor the sort of spiky, Modest Mouse-y guitars that signify "edgy." And the bio on their website touts their "captivating blend of literate, visceral indie rock and propulsive, anthemic choruses." If any L.A. band has hipster pretension down to a science, it's TATE. -Andy Hermann

See also: The Airborne Toxic Event Likes Motorcycles, Mexican Food and Blowing Stuff Up

Ariel Pink
Ariel Pink

7. Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti

[Editor's note: The Weekly staff is divided on Pink; for an argument in favor of his genius see our recent feature story. For the opposite opinion keep reading.] Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti is the Inception of hipster bands: From the '70s sitcom synth lines to Pink's nonsensical psychedelic babbling, their music is layers of irony within irony manipulating you into thinking you're listening to something original or innovate. Live, Pink has the stage presence of a bored teenager and sounds like he's doing drunk karaoke covers of Hall & Oates on Sesame Street. -Andrea Domanick

 

Beirut
Beirut

6. Beirut

Beirut's Zach Condon? Please step into our office. It's time to talk about what it is your band does here at Rock Industries' Eclectic Division. "Ok. Um, well, you see, we take Boards of Canada..." Go on... "Then we throw it to a merciless horde of Slavic horn players to be savagely violated while an unintelligible cheap Jonathan Richman knock-off croons. Sounds interesting, right?" No Beirut. It does not. In fact, it sounds like the type of thing you invented just to get laid at Bonnaroo. To boot, Balkan Beat Box is killing you in every performance metric right now. Please collect your things, security will see you out. -Paul T. Bradley

Grizzly Bear
Grizzly Bear

5. Grizzly Bear

These altar boys embody everything bad about the clean-scrubbed end of the hipster spectrum. They spend more time on expensive and fastidious arrangements than choruses, which they sound annoyed to have to throw in occasionally. Their lyrics evoke nothing you can see with your eyes, as if they assume the "beauty" of their tentative melodies will fill in the blanks. Many bands have made vaguer, more directionless music but none of those ever had the chutzpah to crack Billboard's top ten. At least with say, Godsmack, you can tell why they're depressed. -Dan Weiss

Bright Eyes
Bright Eyes

4. Bright Eyes

Conor Oberst has been straining to open an impossibly sealed mason jar for about 14 years now. At least, that what his singing sounds like. Between his impish whine and depressing lyrics, it's a wonder he has any fans who aren't yet suicide victims. Since he basically robbed fellow Nebraskan Simon Joyner of his sound, he's even unoriginally terrible. Oberst once hilariously told an interviewer that he was influenced by a Cure record he bought in 3rd grade -- perhaps the worst "I was into them before you were" hipsterism possible. Presumably he was really into Leonard Cohen as a zygote, too. -Paul T. Bradley

 

Arcade Fire
Arcade Fire

3. Arcade Fire

If the essence of hipsterdom is fetishizing the authentic, then Arcade Fire deserve a Canadian Nobel Prize for sucking the life out of the pop music canon. Sure, all artists build on their influences, but Arcade Fire sap the passion, intensity, and sincerity from greater acts who came before them, wringing their sounds out through a sponge and lustily devouring the drops. In a way, they're like the over-processed food our generation consumed as children; with color and nutrients added after the fact, they almost smell and look like something that's good for us. But they're not. Arcade Fire is not good for us. -Ben Westhoff

tUnE-yArDs
tUnE-yArDs

2. tUnE-yArDs

tUnE-yArDs hAs a mOsT aNnOyInG nAmE and their sound isn't far behind. The group's magnum crapus, 2011's w h o k i l l, is a collection of sonic refuse cobbled into atonal melodies and rhythms that fail to approximate tUnE-fUllNeSs. That the album won the 2011 Pazz and Jop awards is a testament to the emperor has no clothes phenomenon that continues to afflict music writing. -Linda Leseman

Justin Vernon of Bon Iver
Justin Vernon of Bon Iver

1. Bon Iver

"But the melodies! The harmonies!" You protest. Sorry, but it's time to admit that Bon Iver is the sonic equivalent of an empty canvas totebag. Worse, the Justin Vernon-fronted act is wholly indicative of our musical fall from grace. What happened to us as a generation that this guy gets to bear our sonic torch? Those who came before us rocked, bumped and grinded. They exuded raw sexuality and riotous anger; sweaty human realism. They hoovered drugs or angrily rejected them, they humped strangers in club bathrooms in adolescent indiscretion; they broke shit, laughed, cried, partied on rooftops or in warehouses, exercised cultural demons and personal failures, made spectacles. We, instead, get a whiny guy who built his own studio in the woods; perfectly exemplifying that narcissistic hipster ethos of "Whatever man, I'm just gonna go over here and be chill, I don't want to be bothered or have my mellow harshed." Bon Iver coos the celebratory ballads of hip poseurs who refuse to get their hands dirty, that is, unless that filth is quaint and photogenic. -Paul T. Bradley

The 20 Worst Hipster Bands: 20-11

Follow us on Twitter @LAWeeklyMusic, and like us at LAWeeklyMusic.

Top 20 Worst Bands of All Time

Top 20 Musicians of All Time, in Any Genre

Top 20 Sexiest Female Musicians of All Time

Top 20 Whitest Musicians of All Time

Upcoming Events


Sponsor Content

Newsletters

All-access pass to the top stories, events and offers around town.

  • Top Stories
    Send:

Newsletters

All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >