Closer Look: 2001 Indie Rock

If grunge was the nineties telling hair metal to get real, then indie rock of the 2000s was telling grunge to lighten up. Rock and all of its various forms had made its way around the world and back by the turn of the century, and the next logical step in 2001 was a victory lap. The sounds of the new era were dynamic and cutting edge, carrying a vibrant sheen that made the genre feel more celebratory than ever. 2000’s indie found strength in experimenting wildly while still sounding inviting and accessible. This explosively fun sound quickly leaked into the mainstream and found itself ubiquitous across popular culture.

Enjoy and subscribe to the latest Closer Look above! Scroll down for the individual tracks selected from the Indie Rock of 2001.

The heavyweights of the early 2000’s were a mixed bag of seasoned veterans and fresh new faces. Hard hitters of the nineties like Weezer and Radiohead kept their momentum going into the modern era while up and comers like the Strokes, and the White Stripes breathed new life. There was a whirlwind of sonic directions, as the scene brought influences of punk, blues, soul, and electronic to the rock and roll roots. Radiohead continued their exploration of the farthest reaches of rock while the White Stripes built upon the basic foundation of blues and rock and roll to create something that was new and refreshingly honest.


The expansiveness of the space was surely the most intriguing element, as rock was pulled in every conceivable direction. Indie Rock manifested in countless different ways during this era but it was all universally human at its core. Every song from this movement feels personal, almost like it was made just for whoever listened to it. This is exemplified by The Microphones’ opus: The Glow, Pt. 2. This album was recorded on outdated recording technology, using antiquated equipment like analog tapes. This choice makes the record feel raw and authentic, a secret whispered to the listener by the artist. 

Few genres can take a listener back to their youth quite like this one can. Above the variety of musical styles and rich history of rock that preceded it, indie rock of this time is ultimately defined by the compellingly energetic and fresh aesthetic. It was rich, honest, and supremely timeless. It makes the two decades since feel like mere minutes.

Jack White

The White Stripes – Fell In Love With A Girl

The Strokes – Soma

The Shins- Caring is Creepy

Gorillaz- Re-Hash

Super Furry Animals- Juxtapozed with U

Travis- Sing

Sparklehorse, PJ Harvey- Piano Fire

Death Cab for Cutie- Debate Exposes Doubt

The Microphones- I Want Wind To Blow

Radiohead- Pyramid Song

If you enjoyed this piece, check out