The Top 10 Indie Vinyl Records to Start Your Collection

Starting your journey into the world of vinyl can be a daunting task, given the vast array of albums that exist. However, every collection has a beginning, and what better place to start than the vibrant realm of indie music? An oasis of originality and creativity, the indie genre presents an exciting landscape for vinyl enthusiasts. Join us as we explore our carefully curated selection of the top ten indie vinyl records to start with. Each one of these remarkable albums has its own distinct narrative and sound, lending an unparalleled listening experience when played on vinyl. From the evocative tones of Arcade Fire's 'Funeral' to the psychedelic rhythms of Tame Impala's 'The Slow Rush', our list spans across the rich and diverse spectrum of indie music. So whether you're a longtime fan of the genre or a newcomer keen to discover more, these "indie vinyl records to start with" will give your vinyl collection an exceptional foundation. With these ten "indie vinyl records to start with", you will dive into the enchanting world of indie music on vinyl, inviting the distinct and immersive experience that only vinyl can offer right into your home. Begin your vinyl adventure today! 

Indie Vinyl Record Music

1. **Neutral Milk Hotel - 'In The Aeroplane Over The Sea'**

Sure, you've probably heard folks go on about Neutral Milk Hotel's standout album, often praised to the moon and back. It's seen as a staple of indie music and a crowd-pleaser, given its easy-to-get-into vibes. But beyond the hype, this vinyl record is genuinely something a bit special, mixing offbeat lyrics with a folk sound that's as unexpected as it is catchy. 

The album was put out by "Pet Sounds Music", a nod to the Beach Boys' legendary album. If you're a trivia fan, here's something fun: Neutral Milk Hotel drew inspiration from Anne Frank's Diary while creating some of the themes for this album. Talk about mixing history and music!

And before you start worrying about your wallet, here's the good news. Despite its status in the indie world, it's no rare, expensive find. In fact, it's typically sold brand new for less than $20. So, whether you're starting your vinyl journey or looking to add to your growing collection, this one's a solid pick that won't break the bank.

2. **Arcade Fire - 'Funeral'**

Let's talk about 'Funeral' by Arcade Fire, a record that might be more intriguing than you'd initially think. 

First off, this isn't just some album that Arcade Fire randomly named -- the title is a reflection of the band's life at the time. During its making, several of the band members lost close family members. The title 'Funeral' is in reference to these personal tragedies. Heavy, right?

If you're wondering how 'Funeral' stacks up in the band's discography, it's safe to say it holds a pretty high spot. This WAS the band's debut album, and the one that put them on the map - many fans and critics would argue they've yet to top it. Sure, they've had other successful albums, but there's just something about 'Funeral'. It's raw, it's emotional, and it laid the groundwork for everything that came after.

As for the music, Arcade Fire drew from a broad palette of influences. You'll hear hints of punk, chamber music, and anthemic rock, all wrapped up in their signature indie style. It's the kind of music that's ambitious and grand, yet deeply personal, which is quite a balancing act to pull off.

3. **Bon Iver - 'For Emma, Forever Ago'**

Ever wondered how someone could make a heartbreak sound so good? Ask Justin Vernon, the man behind Bon Iver. After a series of personal setbacks, including the end of a relationship and his band's split, Vernon decided to take some 'me' time and headed for his father's hunting cabin in Wisconsin. What was supposed to be a few weeks of solitude turned into three months of musical catharsis, and voila, 'For Emma, Forever Ago' was born.

This record is Vernon at his most vulnerable. His raw vocals paired with stripped-down acoustic melodies give the album a distinct, intimate vibe. It's like he's having a one-on-one chat about his heartbreak, only he's doing it through song

As for how 'For Emma, Forever Ago' fits into Bon Iver's discography, it's the foundational stone. This was the debut that set the bar high. Vernon's later works have been more experimental, drawing in electronic and avant-garde elements, but they all trace back to the raw honesty of 'For Emma, Forever Ago'. 

4. **Sufjan Stevens - 'Michigan'**

'Michigan' is not just a title - it's a theme. Stevens embarked on what he dubbed the 'Fifty States Project', aiming to create an album for every state in the U.S. While he later admitted that the project was more of a promotional gimmick, 'Michigan' was indeed the first stop on this hypothetical musical journey. And yes, Stevens is a Michigan native, so this album's a bit of a love letter to his home state.

Within 'Michigan', Stevens navigates stories of local towns, personal memories, and the state's history, all wrapped up in his folk-infused, indie sound. This album feels personal, but its reach extends beyond the boundaries of one state. Through exploring local narratives, Stevens taps into broader themes of love, loss, and longing that resonate universally.

The album's sweeping orchestral arrangements and gentle folk melodies are a real treat on vinyl, lending a warm, organic feel to Stevens' intricate compositions. Whether you're a casual listener or an avid vinyl collector, this indie vinyl record is a worthy addition to any collection, offering a rich sonic journey through the Great Lakes State. 

5. **Arctic Monkeys - 'Favorite Worst Nightmare'**

Arctic Monkeys, hailing from Sheffield, England, burst onto the music scene with their stellar debut album, 'Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not'. Talk about setting the bar high, huh? So, when it came time to follow up, the pressure was on. The result? 'Favourite Worst Nightmare' - an album that showed these guys were no one-hit-wonders. 

This album saw the Monkeys shifting gears slightly. While their debut was all about capturing the raw, raucous energy of their live shows, 'Favourite Worst Nightmare' shows them branching out, taking a few more risks, and getting a bit more experimental with their sound. Yet, they still kept their snappy lyricism and catchy riffs that fans loved. 

The raw energy of the Arctic Monkeys translates so well onto vinyl - give it a try on Spotify on headphones and then try wax on the turntable -- an excellent reminder of why you're reading this blog post on indie vinyl records and why we are all collectors of these heavy circles.

Indie Vinyl Records - Getting more Serious

6. **Fleet Foxes - 'Fleet Foxes'**

Now, Fleet Foxes aren't your typical indie folk band, and their debut album is proof of that. Born out of Seattle, a city known for its grunge roots, Fleet Foxes took a different path, creating lush, harmonic melodies that feel like stepping into a pastoral dreamscape. The band's lead singer, Robin Pecknold, has said their sound was inspired by the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest, and boy, can you hear it in the music.

Here's something you might not know. The album's cover features details from a painting called "The Blue Cloak" by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, a 16th-century Dutch artist. Why, you might ask? Well, it reflects the band's aim to create music that's timeless, like art - music that can be appreciated regardless of the era it's listened in.

'Fleet Foxes' was the band's big introduction to the world, and what a way to make an entrance. Critics and fans alike fell in love with the band's rich harmonies, introspective lyrics, and the way they managed to make indie folk feel fresh and exciting again.

7. **Tame Impala - 'The Slow Rush'**

'The Slow Rush' is the fourth studio album from Tame Impala, the Grammy-nominated music project helmed by Australian multi-instrumentalist Kevin Parker. Now, when I say "music project," that's because Tame Impala is essentially a one-man band. Every album, including 'The Slow Rush', is primarily written, recorded, and produced by Parker himself in his home studio.

The album came out five years after the band's critically acclaimed 'Currents', which can seem like a lifetime in the music world. But here's a tidbit for you: the 'slow rush' Parker is referring to is the concept of time itself – how it can seem to crawl or fly depending on your perspective. It's also a nod to Parker's own journey in creating this album, taking the time he needed to get it just right.

'The Slow Rush' explores different aspects of time, musing over past regrets, present moments, and future anxieties. Sonically, it's a bit of a departure from the band's earlier psychedelic rock sound. Here, Parker delves into a more electronic, dance-oriented style, blending in elements of disco, house, and R&B. Yet, it still retains that distinctive Tame Impala touch, a lush, psychedelic soundscape that feels both retro and modern.

8. **LCD Soundsystem  - 'Sound of Silver'**

'Sound of Silver' is the second studio album from LCD Soundsystem, the electronic rock project led by James Murphy. While the debut album introduced us to Murphy's clever fusion of rock and dance music, 'Sound of Silver' took that formula and pushed it even further, resulting in an album that's rich, vibrant, and endlessly danceable. 

Murphy is a bit of a music geek, and his wide-ranging influences are all over this record. You can hear traces of punk, disco, synth-pop, and more, all wrapped up in LCD Soundsystem's distinctive style. Yet, despite this mix of sounds, the album never feels disjointed. That's the magic of Murphy's production – he knows how to make diverse elements work together seamlessly.

Then there's "All My Friends", a 7-minute epic that's often hailed as one of the best songs of the 2000s. It's a melancholic yet upbeat reflection on growing older, set to an incessant piano riff that will stick in your head for days.

Indie Vinyl Record Staff Picks

9. **Radiohead - 'In Rainbows'**

'In Rainbows' is Radiohead's seventh studio album, coming after a bit of a hiatus following their 2003 release 'Hail to the Thief'. During this break, the band was free from their record contract and decided to experiment with a new way of album distribution. 

Musically, 'In Rainbows' is often seen as one of Radiohead's most accessible works, contrasting with the more experimental, electronic-leaning sounds of their previous albums 'Kid A' and 'Amnesiac'. The band's frontman, Thom Yorke, described the songs as his versions of "seduction songs". Tunes like "Nude" and "House of Cards" showcase this approach, blending evocative lyrics with lush, atmospheric instrumentation. 

As for indie vinyl record collectors, 'In Rainbows' is a must-have. Its warm, organic sound is particularly well-suited to vinyl, and its cover art, a vibrant collage of colors and shapes, makes it a visually striking addition to any collection. 

10. **Vampire Weekend - 'Vampire Weekend' **

Vampire Weekend hit the music scene with their debut album, sounding like nothing else at the time. Here were four guys fresh out of Columbia University, mixing indie rock with world music influences, particularly Afrobeat, which they blended with their own brand of preppy, Ivy League charm. 

The album, 'Vampire Weekend', is full of sharp, clever songs that discuss everything from campus life to comma usage. "Oxford Comma", for instance, questions the necessity of the Oxford comma in grammar over a catchy guitar riff, while "Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa" blends indie pop with Congolese dance music.

"Campus", one of the album's standout tracks, tells a love story set on a university campus. But did you know that the 'campus' in question was inspired by Columbia University, where the band members met and formed Vampire Weekend? Bet you didn't expect to get a mini tour of their college life through their music!

As far as vinyl is concerned, 'Vampire Weekend' is readily available and a great addition to any indie vinyl record lover's collection. The distinctive sound of the album, with its bright guitar tones and intricate rhythms, comes alive on vinyl. Plus, the record sleeve features an interesting aerial shot of a chandelier, making it a visually appealing piece as well. 

In conclusion, stepping into the world of indie vinyl records can feel like an exploration into the uncharted territory of music. The diversity and uniqueness each record brings not only enriches your collection but also enhances your understanding of music as a creative art form. Whether you're just starting your vinyl collection or seeking to broaden its boundaries, these ten "indie vinyl records to start with" provide an exceptional foundation and an immersive listening experience. Remember, each vinyl album tells its own story, from the music etched into its grooves to the artwork that adorns its sleeve. So, sit back, relax, and let the needle drop on these beautiful indie vinyl records, allowing the rich sounds and compelling stories they carry to transport you into their uniquely captivating worlds. Happy listening!

You may also like

View all
Example blog post
Example blog post
Example blog post