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. Just someone tell me, what the hell is a hipster?

    I’m guilty of passing that title on to someone before and this was my understanding of it at the time:
    it’s some one who

    1. regurgitates the wikipedia entries they studied the night before in order to appear cultured to anyone they talk to

    2. is a highbrow snob. they enjoy the “finer” things in life and look down on you if you don’t know about them or don’t enjoy them

    3. has to be ahead of the curve. “oh thats old news”

    4. Calls other people hipsters in some shoddy attempt to distance themselves from the title. “you like ____ because its trendy. I, however, like ____ for the right reasons.”

    Now, i thought these rules applied to anyone, whether they listened exclusively to R&B or Punk doesn’t make a difference. The hipster titled used to umbrella music, fashion, literature, movies, etc. never made sense to me.

    Really though the entire thing is ridiculous. “they” statements are made to describe people who make us feel inferior. It seems really “hip” these days to call people hipsters.

    • It’s also seems to be many other things, such as the cafe you go to, the neighborhood you live in, the diet you have… The word hipster has stopped existing to me because it seems to be everything now.

    • It’s also seems to be many other things, such as the cafe you go to, the neighborhood you live in, the diet you have… The word hipster has stopped existing to me because it seems to be everything now.

    • Based on most of these my 55 yr old republican stepfather is a hipster. This reads more like the overgeneralized stereotype of what people think ‘hipsters’ are. Lot of different type of people can be highbrow snobs.

      • hmm, then I guess they would be pseudo highbrow snobs? mionno. labeling people doesn’t work to anyones advantage. i guess that was just a list of pet-peeves.

    • Yeah that’s what I thought. The term as I understood it a few years ago applied to certain types of highbrow snobs, but more specific stereotypes started developing as to what these people were into, then it started applying to many more things than music or art and now it’s totally meaningless. It can’t even be said to be a simple stereotype because what it applies to is so vague.

  2. Beach House should not be on this list. I can see no connection between their music and retro garage or soul music. There is no band around today that sounds like them as far as I know. They have made some of the most beautiful music I ever heard, along with being humble good people who do not rip off their fans or sell out.

    • could say the same about Grizzly Bear.

      • Technically Grizzly Bear does- Knife could easily be a motown song in the 60s and they did a cover of The Crystals “He Hit Me.” The arrival of Dan Rossen definitely sent the band into a more folky musical direction than soul, but I think the influence is still down there somewhere. Regardless, I don’t think that author knows or cares enough about Grizzly Bear to consider my argument about what genres they fit into.

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

    • Absolutely agree. Love Beach House and they should be given immunity along with half the others on the list.

  3. And people are hired to write this shit. Waste of money and time. Why does it matter what-so-ever if someone tours with glockenspiels and choirs, they can tour with a pink dragon for all I care.

  4. If my band didn’t make the list, does it mean we’re still in the club?

  5. I cannot believe no one has made a “Bon Iver should be higher” joke. I guess that one is over?

  6. The only thing these acts have in common is the mean-spirited stereotype of their fan bases. ‘Hipster’ is exclusively used now to insult people based on what they wear and what they listen to, regardless of the type of person they may or may not be. Not sure when that became a funny joke to make.

    This stuff gets under my skin.

  7. Worst Ever Journalism List.

    2. Fox.
    1. L.A. Weekly.

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

  9. Can anyone direct me to some good glockenspiel music?

  10. finally Bon Iver at the top of a list where he belongs.

  11. What hipster wrote the list??

  12. LA Weekly and NME should have a ‘list off’ to determine who gets to cement their legacy as the kings of making lists of no consequence on the blogosphere.

  13. That does it… Hell in a Cell. Right now, LA Weekly. You can pick the special guest referee, I don’t care.

  14. I feel like those of us who comment things like ‘I don’t even know what a hipster is.’ Or ‘What is a hipster, anyway?’ Or ‘Hipster is so over-utilized as to have rendered it completely meaningless.’ are totally hipsters. Oh yeah, and pretending to have like 75% of these bands second albums also puts you into the category.

    • ‘liked’, I meant.

    • Exactly. But that’s the thing though, people who are hipsters generally don’t believe they are guilty of being one. Its all part of their psychology, hipsters don’t want to be seen as conformists, yet society has easily been able to classify them as there is conformity in hipsterdom. Alot of it. And they can’t stand the fact that society has been able to reduce down their entire meticulously overwrought persona with just one word, because it is like looking at their own hypocrisy in a way, so they deny it. And just because some people misuse the word “hipster” doesn’t mean that hipsters don’t exist. That’s some awful logic right there.

      • I’m a hipster, does that make me not-a-hipster?

      • You say “they’ve” been easily classified but only 1 or 2 acts on this list are really at all alike. Too much is lumped into the label, and at some point it does start losing its meaning. This rant proves the mean-spirited nature of its usage, too. No one’s saying hipsters don’t exist, but someone is going to be defensive if 20 bands they like are on a list like this.

    • Let’s just be honest and embrace the term 10 years later. We’re all fucking hipsters. Including you, eldave.

      • No, no, no, lil, you’re totally right. I’ve been a hipster for at least two years. And I really wanted to be a hipster for like 20 before that. I’ve had the great mustache and everything. I think that we have all made a lifestyle choice and that choice (the defining, unifying quality of those hipsters in the cartoon above) is to sit in judgment at the throne of “life”. We all judge with the fear of being judged, so we have created some false alternative in which no one is righteous enough to judge us because we have really put concentrated thought into every aspect of our personhood. This is why hipsterdom is sooooo difficult to i.d. via physical manifestations. The true mark of the hipster is hidden under the messy-on-purpose hairdo. It’s not wrong to be a hipster, which is the core of the issue, here. People don’t scorn hipsters because they are thoughtful. It’s the pretense that proves irksome. Liking something because you have discovered a true value in it despite the consensus doesn’t make you wrong. But pretending to like every Animal Collective album more than the next guy does make you wrong (and a giant asshole whose opinion/perspective/original angle is rendered completely invalid by your own selfish desire to love just one fucking thing more than anyone else. Because let’s face it, at the root of every cynical asshole is just a little guy like me who has a lot of love to give.).

    • this isn’t about who is a hipster… it’s about the fact that the ‘list’ is totally fucked up.

  15. What a great way to boost Grizzly Bear sales!

  16. At some point the world is going to have to accept that the Black Keys have transcended “hipster” status. They are just a big, famous rock band at this point. Similarly, Death Cab has been a pop radio hit for 10 years and Arcade Fire won album of the year at the friggin’ Grammy’s. These are not “hipster” bands, it’s just what current music sounds like, accessible by any one with access to FM radio.

  17. hmmm, i don’t like maybe 5 of the bands on this list, but i don’t consider any of these ‘hipster’ because ‘hipsters’ only listen to things in an ironic sense don’t they? like bad hip-hop, yacht rock, and hair metal where i’m sitting. soo…what does this article achieve? nothing.

  18. This was really just a sequel to their other 20 worst bands list, they just added the “hipster” part to make it more, um, hip.

  19. i have read LA Weekly for most of my life and 99.99% of the time i highly value their opinion this is that moment that i and just extremely disappointed by them

  20. This list makes me want to drink a PBR.

  21. was this list written exclusively for stereogum commenters to ridicule?

  22. this is so ridiculous! maybe LA weekly are bieber fans, screw them!

  23. Bands on this list that actually sound similar:

    MAYBE and I mean MAYBE Bright Eyes and The Decemberists.

    That’s really it.

    Also, if you clicked the link in the article to their other worst-of lists, you would’ve been directed to a “Top 20 Worst Bands” list, which included;

    The Raconteurs
    Fleet Foxes
    Red Hot Chili Peppers
    Pearl Jam
    Animal Collective
    The Sex Pistols (are you kidding me? I don’t even like punk and this is ridiculous)
    LCD Soundsystem

    So apparently, “Californication,” “Vs.” and “(What’s The Story) Morning Glory?” don’t compare to legendary albums like “Chocolate Starfish” by Limp Bizkit or “Human Clay” by Creed.

  24. I didn’t read it yet, but HOW ON EARTH IS ANIMAL COLLECTIVE NOT THERE?

    Not that it matters, these lists are wretched. Like not “everyone has their own opinion you’re not gonna agree with everything”, but just “these are trash lists.”

    • Ok, I tried to read a couple of those lists but it’s maybe the worst attempt at pointlessly baiting people I’ve ever read on the hallowed, pointless halls of the internet. It doesn’t even make me want to read on to be outraged it just makes me neverwant to ever read anything from that publication again.

  25. Sorry but who the heck is the Airborne Toxic Event? Am I that out-of-touch?

    This is almost as weird as their Top 20 Worst Bands Ever list (which included LCD Soundsystem, Sex Pistols, Fleet Foxes, RHCP, and Pearl Jam – among others).

  26. I really don’t understand this stupid list. Are they saying these band suck? Or are they just being ironic? When did fun. become hipster? Should I be listening to them???? SO MANY QUESTIONS!!!!

  27. in my examination ‘hipster bands’ is not what the list is really about. what they’re getting at is the bands most pumped up by phonies, not hipsters.

    it’s sort of a ‘I listen to (insert list band) because I think it gets me indie/hipster ‘cred’ but I probably wouldn’t like it other than the fact that some obscure blog/website/friend touted it and I have trouble forming an original opinion on anything’ list.

    shocked that dirty projectors and grimes aren’t on this.

    and no, lowercase isn’t hipster, it’s just lazy right now.

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

  29. What this list should be called is “20 bands someone on our staff doesn’t like and we need to fill up space. Also, some of them might have popularity that outweighs their relevance or ability.” But AT LEAST half this bands are perfectly legitimate, and while I’m neutral about the label ‘hipster’ label, Airborne Toxic Event DOES NOT fit that category. I won’t even start into these writers’ completely made-up notions of what rock and roll is “supposed to be”. It comes across only as aging Gen-Xers prattling on about how music was so much better back in the day.

    For some of the bands, they actually make good points (not going to say which ones, but describing Pitchfork as the ‘hipster gestapo’ sounds pretty dead-on). What this article should say is something I’ve felt for a long time: recording shitty music in lo-fi doesn’t make it not shitty. That is all.

  30. god this list is stupid

  31. LA Weekly’s 20 Worst Hipster Bloggers

  32. It’s so ironic that this is a list a bunch of holier than thou hipsters would come up with. Although I don’t consider half of these “hipster bands” I mean, some of them have won Gramys and had number 1 albums.

  33. I think I will check a few of these bands out, if they are like the other bands on the list.

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

    • The strange thing about Justin Vernon’s vocals (Bon Iver) is that he released about 100 songs prior to Bon Iver where he NEVER sand in falsetto. I’m not sure why he went that route with Bon Iver, but I’m hoping he mixes it up more in the future.

      • He’s got a great voice all round. I think the falsetto works for the songs he’s done so far as Bon Iver but he’s got a great, soulful lower register too.

  35. OK, this can’t be serious, right? I mean, I just went and looked at their ’20 Worst Band of All-Time’ and there’s no way they could expect ANYONE to believe that was a serious list.

  36. When did my dad start writing for LA Weekly?

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

  38. I was doing a bit of nostalgia-surfing yesterday and was looking at Vampire Weekend’s “Band to Watch” article from 2007, someone commented on the same page in 2008 talking about the backlash against VW at the time, and there was a reply:

    “Dave | Posted on Nov 23rd, 2008
    Of course there is. This is stereogum. Its fashionable at the moment, give it time i’m pretty sure Justin Vernon will be seen as the spawn of satan…”

    True wisdom there from Dave. There does seem to be a bit of a 4 year cycle or so through hype, back-lash and then eventually acceptance.

  39. fun..wait…fun…no wait…fun..a hipster band…has anyone from LA weekly ever seen a hipster?

  40. everyone should just into emo now

  41. what?? the guy who wrote this must spend his time listening to britney spears or her nanny dusty records. stupid jaundiced bastard, he probably doesn’t fit in any music festival.

  42. Makes me so glad I stopped reading the Weekly a long time ago, and yet still ashamed to be an L.A. resident.

  43. lost me at “The guitar-and-drums ‘blues’ punk combo thing wasn’t very good even when The White Stripes did it.”

  44. I didn’t read the entire thing, I couldn’t be bothered. But it seems weird they’ve assumed the same detached, ironic self-awareness that they appear to criticise.

  45. I can agree to some extent. Except about Grizzly Bear, Arcade Fire, The Black Keys, Beach House, The Decemberists, Wavves, Tune-Yards, eh.. the whole list blows. Fuck them.

  46. I’d like to see the list of the best 20 hipster bands.

  47. Well if there’s an article to say Sleigh Bells are a crappy band for hipsters, though the rest is pretty good, I’m in.

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

  49. Author Ben Westhoff’s most recent published book is on Southern Hip-Hop. He’s breaking the first rule of writing: WRITE WHAT YOU KNOW. Also, the second rule of writing: Become a tax salesman before you sell out so thoroughly that you have resorted to compiling shitty shock-value lists from mostly OTHER online writers that only matter if they cause a stir. We’re laughing at you, not with you.

  50. It’s reaally easy to criticize.

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