Everyone knows you’re only as cool as your music taste is. Not to say that the Hot 100 isn’t a blast to listen to (“Lean On,” anybody?), but—everyone is listening to it. Where’s the fun in that? Sometimes, bass drops and offensive rap lyrics aren’t enough to soothe the violent heartache you’re feeling one lonely night. In response, you turn to Ed Sheeran. But it’s not enough—he’ll never be enough. Yeah, he’s sentimental and emotional and blah, blah, blah—but there are other artists out there, artists not on the Hot 100 that will soothe that ache in one, heart-wrenching song.
Don’t you dare “take me into your loving arms,” Sheeran.
To ensure that you’re not wallowing in bed, drowning in your own tears, I’ve created a list of five bands and ten songs that will guarantee that you go to bed tonight with a dry pillow.
1. The Maccabees
The Maccabees is an indie rock band from South London who formed in 2004. The five-piece have a sound that is distinctly British, and it’s not because lead singer Orlando Weeks croons in that lovely accent. Think jangly guitars and groovy, moving bass lines that demand that you dance (see: “All In Your Rows”).
For heartache? Have no fear: they have songs for that too. You’ll be initially terribly confused, unsure whether or not you should flounder about in your own sadness or dance the pain away. The important part, however, is that your heartache will instantly dissipate.
Essential Tracks: “Toothpaste Kisses” and “Tissue Shoulders.”
2. Kings of Convenience
Kings of Convenience is an indie-acoustic duo hailing from Bergen, Norway. Yes, the Scandinavian countries have a music scene, and, yes, it is banging. You have to do something when you’re snowed-in, right? Formed in 1999, Erlend Øye and Eirik Glambek Bøe have been writing songs to break your heart.
What I particularly like about Kings of Convenience is that their songs do not praise beauty nor do they call out for one specific man or woman. My favorite song is “I Don’t Know What I Can Save You From” because it totally destroys the trope that the man or woman has to save their beloved in order to be in love with them. Awesome.
Essential Tracks: “I Don’t Know What I Can Save You From” and “Misread.”
3. Jack Peñate
Yet another South Londoner! Jack Peñate began creating music as a teen, starting his first band, Jack’s Basement, with fellow south Londoner (wait for it), Felix White of The Maccabees (what a small world.) Come 2006, Peñate went solo and released his debut album, Matinée on Young Turks. With a voice laden with that cherished English accent, even when Peñate is belting out on record with soul, there is something beneath it all that makes your chest ache.
Essential Tracks: “My Yvonne” (featuring Adele) and “Pull My Heart Away.”
4. Milo Greene
Milo Greene is a five-piece ensemble who formed in 2009 in Northern California. Each member, while playing their respective instruments, sings on the record. Half of the fun listening to the record is discerning which member is singing. The vocals on the record echo quietly for dramatic effect. The emotionality of each song is increased tenfold as the voice seems to whimper off, defeated by its heart. Their eponymous debut is a folksy record (their second album deviated away from this sound) and filled with tracks that haunt you long after the album finished. Take my advice: listen to the whole thing.
Essential Tracks: “Don’t You Give Up On Me” and “Autumn Tree.”
5. The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart
Yes, The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart have a very long name and when you tell people you like them, you might need to take a breath before you can finish speaking their name. Whatever.
The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart (TPOBPAH) formed in New York (like all good groups) in 2007. Since then, they have released four records of absolute lo-fi, shoegazing bliss. With soft vocals, melodious guitar and thumping bass, The Pains of Being Pure At Heart is your indie answer to Ed Sheeran’s harmonious wailing.
Essential Tracks: “Masokissed” and “Say No To Love.”
There’s something incredibly soothing knowing that you’re not the only one with a gaping hole in your chest, huh?
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