Bikini Kill - "New Radio"

Time is a valuable thing, and the musicians who can make a quick point in a short amount of time deserve their props. We’ve put together a quick list of ten excellent songs from indie’s past (and from a few associated genres), all of which end in 120 seconds or less. These tracks throw their shit on the table right away, drive their points home as fast as possible, and end quickly enough that they’re still rattling around in your head long after the next track has already started. The best part: You can listen to the whole playlist in less than 20 minutes.

Wire – “Three Girl Rhumba”:

Minor Threat – “I Don’t Wanna Hear It”:

The Smiths – “Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want”:

Primal Scream – “Velocity Girl”:

Bikini Kill – “New Radio”:

Guided By Voices – “Game Of Pricks”:

DJ Shadow – “Organ Donor”:

Neutral Milk Hotel – “King Of Carrot Flowers, Pt. 1″:

The Mountain Goats – “Dance Music”:

Joanna Newsom – “On A Good Day”:

Plenty of other great songs could’ve made this list: The White Stripes’ “Fell In Love With A Girl,” the Misfits’ “Braineaters,” Spoon’s “You Gotta Feel It,” Sleater-Kinney’s “Little Mouth,” the Vaselines’ “Molly’s Lips,” Madvillain’s “Accordion,” the list goes on. In the comments section, name some of your favorites.

Comments (115)
  1. I’m surprised “Cold War” by The Morning Benders didn’t make it on here. And is DJ Shadow really “indie rock”?

    • Going with a big blanket definition type of thing there, but Endtroducing is as much a part of the ’90s indie canon as any other record on here.

    • You’re surprised that A Morning Benders song didn’t make it onto a list of the “Greatest” Indie rock songs of all time? Weird.

      I guess it wouldn’t be fun to load the list up with lots of songs by one band.. But Guided By Voices- A Good Flying Bird is a monster of song.


      Animal Collective- Sweet Road
      Arthur Russell- You Can Make Me Feel Bad
      Vivian Girls- No
      Orange Juice- Intuition Told Me Part 1

    • if they are allowing DJ Shadow, then you have to allow MF Doom Special Herbs and Spices….. “Jasmine Blossoms” .. just sayin.

  2. Pavement’s “I Love Perth” is missing from this list. Sadface.

    • More glaringly, I think, is the omission of “Zurich is Stained.” THE FUCK? I mean, that’s a no brainer. This list should just be Zurich Is Stained 10 times and then call it a day.

  3. hmmm no white stripes

  4. Cloud Nothing’s “Rock”

  5. The Minutemen!!

    • I was about to say that myself. you have a whole catalog there of songs that are almost all under 2 minutes. I would probably throw an entire side of Double Nickels on the Dime on here. gotta be one of my favorite albums.

  6. You missed

    Fell in love with a girl – white stripes
    Highly evolved – vines
    Wreckin’ bar – vaccines
    1977 – the clash
    Been a son – nirvana

    And Fitter Happier

  7. Also the Magnetic Fields. Both bands give you lots of choices.

  8. Serpentine Path

  9. Cut Copy’s “Saturdays (Reprise)”

  10. “The Clap” by The Unicorns

  11. I’m quite partial to “Nørgaard” by The Vaccines.

  12. yeah yeah yeahs-pin

  13. every GBV song pre-1996

  14. Telekinesis – Palm of your hand
    Neon Indian – Laughing gas
    Jay Reatard – It’s so easy
    Olivia Tremor Control – Jumping Fences
    Pixies – Something against you / Allison

  15. It’s been said, but you could make a pretty good entire album of GBV songs under two minutes.

    Some other favorites not on the list

    Spoon: Utilitarian & Car Radio
    Brian Jonestown Massacre: This is Why You Love Me
    Super Furry Animals: Do or Die & God! Show Me Magic
    The Thermals: Our Trip & Overgrown, Overblown

  16. Was hoping this list would just consist of every track from New Brigade

  17. I was about to say I could think of about a bunch of black flag songs that should replace the minor threat song but a quick check on itunes shoed they were all slightly longer than 2 minutes. Also Nirvana’s version of Molly’s lips kills the original any day of the week. At least in my opinion

  18. Nice and fun list. “On A Good Day” and “King of Carrot Flowers” immediately came to mind, so I was glad to see you concur! Maybe the list should be Top 20, so as to include more GBV and White Stripes.

  19. What about Napalm Death’s “You Suffer”???

    Seriously though, it’s a fun playlist but truthfully the top ten indie rock songs under two minutes are ALL by Guided By Voices.

  20. Some wildcards/faves:

    Bad Religion – “Suffer” / “Walk Away”
    Idaho – “Crawling Out”
    Jawbreaker – “Boxcar”
    Minutemen – “Political Song for Michael Jackson to Sing”
    Pixies – “Tame” / “There Goes My Gun”
    Sense Field – “Outlive the Man”
    TMBG – “Particle Man”

    I think it was on a major, but one of my favorite sub-2:00 songs is Suicide Machines’ “No Face”.


  21. If only Intro by The XX was 8 seconds shorter…

  22. The Magnetic Fields: Reno Dakota

  23. I’m not trying to qualify these as the “best” “indie” “songs” or anything, but here’s a few of my favorite songs under 2 minutes:

    Yes, You’re Busted :::: by Kind of Like Spitting
    My Year In Lists :::: by Los Campesinos!
    One of Each :::: by Molly Rankin
    It’s Love :::: by The Softies
    YR Broom :::: by Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin
    We Put a Pearl in the Ground :::: by St. Vincent (Mike Garson)

    and let’s not forget every single Tokyo Police Club song ever written…

  24. “At Last” by Neko Case immediately springs to mind…one of my fave short songs…

  25. misfits-HybridMoments

    Side By Side-You’re Only Young Once

    The Hated-I don’t Like YOu

    No Bunny- Gone For Good

    Oblivians -SOmething for Nothing

    White Stripes – Slicker Drips,,dun-dun— Nobody to Love dun–dun, . Dun….

  26. BTW– I Don’t want to hear it is not an Indie song-Now if you picked Salad Days (minus the 120 second rquirement)

  27. My favorite all-time: “Under a Hollow Tree” by Royal City


    “Fall of the Star High School Running Back” – the Mountain Goats
    “Deianara Crush” – the Mountain Goats
    “Rush Apart” – the Rural Alberta Advantage
    “The Hoofs” – WHY?

    And if we allowed five more seconds:
    “Trees Are A Swayin’” – say hi
    “Country Caravan” – Blitzen Trapper
    “We Don’t Say Shut Up” – Danielson
    (not indie, I know) “I Can’t Explain” – the Who

  28. The fact this list doesn’t have any Pavement songs makes me very sad indeed. How long is Trigger Cut?

  29. Sebadoh – “Good Things”
    Nirvana- “Very Ape”

  30. The Lemonheads have a bunch of classics (to me at least)

    Being Around
    Rockin Stroll
    Bit Part
    Alison’s Starting To Happen
    Ceiling Fan In My Spoon
    Frank Mills

  31. Though I’m not surprised it isn’t on here, Los Campesinos!’ “My Year In Lists” definitely deserves a shout-out.

  32. King Of Carrot Flowers Pt. 1 is 121 seconds. Fuck you.

  33. woah woah woah… Particle man

  34. Los Campesinos! – My Year in Lists

    oh, and just about every mclusky song, ever.

  35. Sleigh Bells – Straight A’s’

  36. Oh I think I read the title wrong, I thought it meant we could play all of those songs under two minutes so I just played them all at the same time. That didn’t work : P

  37. Thanks Stereogum, I like the fact that I can listen to all these songs in under 20 minutes. I don’t know if this has been mentioned yet but it could be interesting to do a list on the opposite end of the spectrum such as indie rock songs over 6 minutes

  38. Bend Down the branches – Tom waits
    is this it (original demo) – the strokes
    gigi leung is dead- my little airport
    kitchen tile – typhoon
    benaki – hermit thrushes
    honeybee – mountain man
    abandoning – parenthetical girls
    the easter parade, pt. 2 – emmy the great
    yomigaeru – pastels/tenniscoats
    tim i wish you were born a girl – of montreal
    Ævagömul Orkuflula – ólöf arnalds
    giraffe – miniature tigers

    adventure.exe- final fantasy (is just two seconds too long!)

    those are a few that I enjoy.

  39. Ty Segall — Pretty Baby (You’re So Ugly)
    The Exploited — Punk’s Not Dead
    The Dismemberment Plan — Soon to be Ex-Quaker
    King Missile — Martin Scorcese
    My Bloody Valentine — Touched
    And most importantly, The Ramones — Judy is a Punk. The prototype for all 2 minute long songs!!!!

  40. modest mouse – might
    why? – the hoofs
    the microphones – i felt your shape
    pavement – zurich is stained

    A lot of GBV could be on this list, personally i was rooting for Always Crush Me.

  41. I’ve always thought Low’s “Sea” was both economical and yet totally affecting in all the best ways.

  42. “Fat” by Archers of Loaf, which is also (one of) the best breakup song(s).

  43. Joanna Newsom may be independent, but rock she does not.

  44. Denis Schröder  |   Posted on Oct 18th, 2011 +1

    90% of the songs from Deerhoof’s “Reveille”

  45. White Denim – El Hard Attack DCWYW

  46. also Spoon’s “Car Radio” is pretty great

  47. Definately one of the best list ideas I have seen in a long time. SUCK IT NME!!!

  48. here are some that i don’t think have been mentioned:

    frog eyes – “the fence feels its post” and its chaser, “the akhian press,” “ship destroyer,” or
    “time reveals its plan at poisoned falls”
    deerhoof – “kidz are so small”
    neutral milk hotel – “communist daughter,” “the fool,” or “a baby for pree” (all actually under two minutes)
    phosphorescent – “at death, a proclamation”
    pixies – “oh my golly!”
    the unicorns – “ready to die”

    one that isn’t indie rock, but oh well:
    vashti bunyan – “diamond day”

    …and i also heartily second:
    the microphones – “i felt your shape,” which i couldn’t believe didn’t make the list.

  49. Hot Freaks!
    Titus Andronicus Forever!!

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