Bon Iver

L.A. alt weekly L.A. Weekly, who is known to put together some of these “Worst … Ever” lists, just piled together their 20 Worst Hipster Bands countdown. Their thesis:

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. We’re not saying that they should be outlawed by, like, Congress or something. Just that they should be avoided.

(via LA Weekly)

The list:

20 The Black Keys
19 TV On The Radio
18 Sleigh Bells
17 fun.
15 Death Cab For Cutie
14 Wavves
13 The Decemberists
12 Pomplamoose
11 Edward Sharpe And The Magnetic Zeros
10 White Rabbits
09 Beach House
08 The Airborne Toxic Event
07 Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti
06 Beirut
05 Grizzly Bear
04 Bright Eyes
03 Arcade Fire
02 tUnE-yArDs
01 Bon Iver

View the paper’s breakdowns here.

Comments (246)
  1. Was their criteria ‘good bands that are popular amongst people who like music’? Because that seems to work for most bands on the list.

  2. Jess H. Livinghouse  |   Posted on Aug 24th, 2012 +50

    This is..stupid

  3. Are they just upset that no one cares about Incubus and 311 anymore?

  4. I saw a number of bands I enjoyed on the list and figured it would interesting to hear a different perspective on them, but that was exceptionally poorly written.

  5. They were just fishin’ four some clicks y’all. And it’s funny because some of these bands (fun.) aren’t even for hipsters. Nice try, L.A. Weekly.

  6. It’s good to see LA Weekly really going for the gold there.

  7. I suppose the author of the LA Weekly article is a fan of the likes of Justin Bieber or Taylor Swift. I prefer real musicians who can actually perform well live and sound like themselves without lipsynching and endless technological “help”. You know, like the ones on this list.

  8. “YOU’RE THE SONIC EQUIVALENT OF A OF AN EMPTY CANVAS TOTEBAG”- What I said out loud while reading the list on the phone next to my dad.

  9. You’re right, L.A. Weekly, I should have been more dismissive from the get-go.

  10. This is the most desperate cry for clicks I’ve ever seen in my life. Tons of great bands on here. Tons of stupidly written reasons why they aren’t great by the LA weekly. The whole thing is a sensational mess. Moving on….

    • Apparently the “music elite” are able to dismiss some of the best bands of the current times because of their clothing. Everyone complains there’s nothing new to be done in rock well some of these guys have reinvented originality and what do they get for it – listings on “hipster” lists by desperate journalists. I wonder if this article brought anyone as much pleasure as one good track from one good album from one of those bands.

  11. I watched fun. on TV the other night and got the strongest urge to punch a lead singer in the face since the first time I saw a Buckcherry music video.

  12. Extreme trolling for clicks on LA Weekly’s part.

  13. Side note, under the Bon Iver part, he discusses that music was better when “they humped strangers in club bathrooms in adolescent indiscretion”. Maybe this hack should stop listening to Bon Iver and Beirut and go pick up a Ke$ha album…

    • Yeah, or they should just stop contradicting themselves cus on their 20 worst bands ever they had Sex Pistols top 3. The Pistols might not have been humping strangers in bathrooms (just doing drugs w. them and cutting their own winkies), but they kind of embody the whole rock star nihilism thing LA Geekly’s putting on a pedestal in the Bon Iver part, though I actually agreed mostly with the Bon Iver blurb.

      Another funny point is how they left off hipster-heralded (but what is a hipster even) AnCo which was in the top 5 of their worst ever bands list. They missed an opportunity to rip into how the new album hz. to listen to and how their latest video reveals that their circus act has been a jest the whole time. Even if I’d have disagreed with it cus the new album KICKS!

  14. Any time I see the word “hipster” used as baseless derision, it makes me want to write a thesis paper on how the word doesn’t mean anything anymore and how it’s just a catch-all for something you don’t like.

    Seasame Street is hipster.

  15. For what they deem a scene of shockingly similar-sounding bands, they’ve assembled a pretty varied-sounding list.

  16. I’m not even going to give them the satisfaction of a page view.

  17. nothing about this makes sense.

  18. Caroline McPartland  |   Posted on Aug 24th, 2012 +3

    Is a “hipster” someone who is actually in-the-know, or just someone who lives in a trendy area?

    Based on this list, “hipster” is defined by the latter statement. Several of these bands (specifically, fun. ;MGMT; Death Cab For Cutie; Arcade Fire.) are not exactly cool anymore, though I’d wager a guess that the young parents in SIlver Lake and Wiliamsburg still sing along…and their kids will grow up thinking “Kids” is in fact, about kids. haha.

  19. I realize that I should just shrug this off as a totally subjective and downright ignorant list, but it’s really getting to me. It’s just insulting to music culture. It reminds me of an article published in Men’s Fitness where a writer went around Comic-Con and insulted cosplayers who had some weight issues.

    If you don’t like specific music, shut the fuck up and don’t write stupid lists about it.

    • The whole thing was written to get a rise out of people, the writer him/herself probably doesn’t even believe half the shit written in the article. Seems odd to get worked up about something like that.

      • Yeah, you’re right about that. It does come across as an insincere sort of “shock” piece, and I definitely shouldn’t be as annoyed about it as I am.

        Just felt compelled to get some steam out.

  20. I like a lot of these bands…
    Also, there are a bunch that are just “alt-rock” for the mainstream.
    I’m confused and I don’t appreciate that.

    • yeah.. bands like black keys, MGMT, fun., Death Cab are all pretty much pop acts, just not plugged with as much corporate sludge, hardly the “underground music” “hipsters” listen to. Its easy to see that hipster is a term that has come to refer to just the aesthetics of music, but its so inconsistent relative and generic that no one actually knows what theyre talking about, so instead people like LA Weekly just look like idiots making a random list that means nothing

  21. What hipster listens to fun. or airborne toxic event? Don’t secretaries listen to fun.? Isn’t your older brother who loved Candlebox into Airborne Toxic Event?

  22. Pomplamoose? L.A. Weekly has crossed the line.

    • Seriously. I was at a total loss with that one. A couple people who figured out how to go completely around the system and make a living creating music that is only distributed through YouTube and iTunes. Not much need for hate there, methinks (I’m sure somebody will disagree, though).

  23. Also since when is The Black Keys a “hipster” band? These guys are about as commercial as they come now (which isn’t a bad thing).

  24. “sound shockingly similar”

    Sleigh Bells – Arcade Fire

    MGMT – tUnE-yArDs

    Wavves – Beirut

    TVOTR – Bright Eyes


    • hahaha, you’re so damn right.
      this guy forgot to write his weekly article and by the time he realized, he only have five minutes to do so. then suddenly he came up with this shit because they were playing the black keys somewhere.

  25. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

  26. Right, they’re too cool to like hipster stuff. Everybody’s into that shit now, it’s totally over.

    Oh, please.

  27. They should change their name to LA WEAKLY!!!!! lololololololololololoolol right?

  28. yeah anybody who can claim that bon iver sounds like tune-yards sounds like black keys sounds like tv on the radio etc etc….fucking idiots.

  29. AWESOME!!!!!!!

  30. At least they’re getting page views, which is unusual for this terrible ‘magazine.’ The word ‘hipster’ apparently means someone who listens to the same music as everyone else…?

  31. I find it amusing that first it’s said, “they all sound the same,” and then to explain what “the same” means, the author throws out a bunch of heterogeneous descriptions: “retro garage”; “soul music”; “glockenspiels and choirs.” Because those things all sound the same!

    • Yeah, fucking TV on the Radio, a bunch of Beach House wannabes. And don’t get me started on The Airborne Toxic Event, or as I call them, Bon Iver.

    • I’m guessing that’s the result of different word jockeys commissioned to write different patches of the piece and the introduction writer wasn’t really sure what the overall theme/message was supposed to be because they just wanted to do something provocative and easy (“HIPSTERS! Am I RIGHT?!?”)

      But even within their own blurbs it’s confusing. They equate fun. with Arcade Fire, Death Cab with Weezer, Beach House with Massive Attack and Stereolab. It’s all so… huh?

      I’ll never understand the point of provoking people at an attempt of being edgy and counter-counter-cultural. Other than pageviews.

  32. One thing I will agree on, after seeing the People’s List on Pitchfork, is that we’ve arrived at too much of a critical canon. It’s important to have outliers, experimenters, freaks and weirdos.

    • Thanks for giving words to my thoughts exactly regarding the People’s List. However, it’s really amusing that this LA Weekly list does absolutely nothing to illustrate that point.

    • It’s not that there is a canon- there are just some albums that more people own and like- how the ‘Fork really screwed up with that dumb list is that they could have easily listed the top 2000 albums and had comments from lot’s of number 1s from people that weren’t in the top 200- we all could have reflected on a bunch of albums many of us have forgotten. In one fell swoop they could have had there own little IMDB for albums of the last 15 years- and then they could have run like a Baseball Reference ELO to fine tune it- that would have been fun. Instead they hit the lowest common denominator of the most albums that are generally well regarded, but not anything polarizing or maybe a little bit out there. However, that list wasn’t really that bad relative to Pitchfork’s yearly list of top [novelty] tracks that would become embarrassing mix tapes in 10 months.

      • But does that make Is This It, Funeral, and My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy bad albums? I agree with you that their songs list is terrible usually.

        • I’d argue that those three albums are undeserving of the canonization they’ve received. Hell, Is This It isn’t even the best Strokes album. And MBDTF, for a “perfect” album, sure has a lot of skippable moments.

    • The main thing I got from the People’s List is that lots of people seem to think Radiohead are the second coming of Christ. Radiohead are a prime example IMO of a band that is vastly overrated while still being quite good.

  33. fun. are hipsters? I thought they were just cunts?

  34. For better art criticism from Los Angeles, I recommend LA Canvas. A free monthly mag with good taste and a nice aesthetic.

  35. Hey, wait. That resembles my music collection! Am I a hipster now?

    No Bon Iver, though. I must be safe!

  36. They never made a “20 worst weekly magazines” list because they were sure to hit the jackpot!

  37. Beach House is #9 and Tune-Yards is #2…Thanks for reminding me how utterly ignorant you are, L.A. Weekly.

  38. The argument in their thesis does contain a shred of truth, but then they picked 20 of the most popular distinctive sounding bands. yup.

  39. Now you’ve upset Bowie…

  40. And who the hell is Pomplamoose?

  41. I’m pretty sure the writers were just taking the piss out of us, but a lot of what they said could probably be true. However, when they mentioned Beach House, “As Linda Richman might say, they’re neither about beaches nor house music.” That was pretty hilarious.

  42. Jeeesus!!! I’m not a hipster! That’s the fault of my ears… Those capricious bitches are always trying to embarrass me! I attempt sometimes to convince them: “Can’t you just settle for something popular, something bland and inoffensive like Miley Cyrus or Jonas Brothers?” But they constantly act like bloody beatnicks under influence. They love those songs where there’s no chorus to hum in unison, those bands with badly dressed people who sing occasionally out of tune but always with the spirit of adventure! One day, I will cut off those misbelievers and throw them inside the eternal flames of a Virgin Megastore….

  43. Hey LA Weakly intern blogger,

    Feel free to leave Los Angeles today. None of us lice infested lemmings will do a thing to stop you. Return post-haste to Brooklyn where reducing the residents to worn-out cliches might still get you a chuckle, instead of the middle finger in your face that you are getting here right now.

    One cannot be considered a writer of integrity when the entire premise of your article is rooted in the prejudicial stereotyping of a person based upon the way they dress. These times call for higher standards, get them or get out. The LA Weekly has become a trash rag.

    Radio Free Indie

  44. “Hey, I like this song,” I said to my wife. “Is this Bright Eyes or Sleigh Bells?”

    • Hipster 1: “OMG I love Death Cab! That song “Gangsta” is totes the best!” Hipster 2: “Actually, that song is by Tune-Yards, not Death Cab.” Hipster 1: “Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa?” She screamed, as her PBR came crashing down on the floor of her Williamsburg loft. Inconsolable, she cleaned up the mess, humming her favorite Wavves song “The Sound of Setting” amidst sobs of embarrassment.

  45. I like most of these bands, but this article is actually pretty funny. What’s funnier is that the list has sent fans alike into complete outrage. Yes, LA Weekly is s hit-whore, but it’s got people talkin.
    Struggling though to see how Spin Doctors made the Top 20 Worst of all Time

  46. Does this mean I’m a hipster?

  47. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

  48. Instantly putting the two big name grammy indie acts (AF and Bon Iver) in the top 3 shows they just picked the most visible/recognizable bands they could think of regardless of how “hipster” or bad they are, especially considering AF hasn’t been hip in almost a decade now. Also, black keys, fun, TATE, Edward Sharpe, and MGMT are reviled/despised by most hipsters I’d say.

  49. I’m not being ironic here, I really want to know who they think is good.

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