Indie Rock and Stuff

The 20 Worst Hipster Bands: 20-11

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Tue, Aug 21, 2012 at 4:00 AM

click to enlarge The Decemberists
  • The Decemberists
The 20 Worst Hipster Bands: 10-1

Top 20 Worst Bands of All Time

Top 20 Musicians of All Time, in Any Genre

Top 20 Whitest Musicians of All Time

Who are these hipsters we see each day in the streets, on our Tumblr feeds, and on the local news? And why are so many in bands? It's not the mere existence of hipster groups that distresses us -- some of our best friends are hipsters, after all -- it's their lemming-like tendency to, if you'll pardon a mixed metaphor, ape each other.

On its surface hipsterdom seems to be an individuality-grab, but most of today's 20 and 30-something bands from Silver Lake and Williamsburg sound shockingly similar. They're all playing variations of retro garage and soul music -- or bringing glockenspiels and choirs on incestuous nationwide tours -- all the while clad in vintage garb likely infested with lice. Below, then, are the 20 worst offenders. -Ben Westhoff

click to enlarge The Black Keys
  • The Black Keys
20. The Black Keys

The guitar-and-drums "blues" punk combo thing wasn't very good even when The White Stripes did it. Still, that hasn't stopped legions of bearded, be-flanneled ersatz blues men from bringing great shame upon their ancestors. The Black Keys stand at the very vanguard of posh cracker blues rock, displaying a lack of authenticity that would make John Fogerty blush. Further, whereas Jack White can actually play, Black Keys guitarist Dan Auerbach is more concerned with beard grooming and disheveling his hair. -Nicholas Pell

click to enlarge TV On The Radio
  • TV On The Radio
19. TV On The Radio

Sure, TV on the Radio concocted an original aesthetic, but it was so hideous we should be glad no one thought of it before. The supposed "soul"-indie fusion of their early work is walled up by rigor mortis drum machines, off-the-grid falsettos and drab, moaning textures. This wasn't helped by their look-at-us Pixies cover or calling their first record OK Calculator. Band member-producer David Sitek has even managed to make Scarlett Johanssen sound ugly. -Dan Weiss

click to enlarge Sleigh Bells
  • Sleigh Bells
18. Sleigh Bells

Remember in 2010, when we all lost our collective minds over these guys, with their iPod beats, garage-metal guitars and schoolyard-chant vocals? It was, like, the most original sound ever! Then the second album came out and everyone was more like, "Huh. Actually, this kinda sounds like shit." Also, Alexis Krauss started wearing her own band merch at shows, which you're really only allowed to do if you're Morrissey. -Andy Hermann

click to enlarge Fun.
  • Fun.
17. Fun.

One could argue that fun. is not a hipster band; that the sincerity behind songs like "We Are Young" by default bars them from the title. We argue that having punctuation in their name earns this distinction by default. The stylization is bad enough, but their music rides the very worn coattails of Arcade Fire and Edward Sharpe, the kind of overblown romanticizing of youth and self-destruction that at this point sounds more cliche than "carpe diem." -Andrea Domanick

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