Indie Sleaze is back! If you’re not familiar, “Indie Sleaze” was coined as a term for the grunge hipster aesthetic that started around 2006 and fizzled out in the early 2010s. The era consisted of party photography, smudged eyeliner, ripped tights and messy yet chic outfits. Though many remember the Indie Sleaze era through its fashion, the aesthetic actually stemmed from the indie music genre. Artists like LCD Soundsystem, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and The White Stripes ruled the party scenes, providing a certain free-spirited yet grimy feeling that differs from the dance and house music we have today. If you look back and wish that you could have lived in that era, you’re just in luck. It appears that the Indie Sleaze aesthetic is making a return, along with all of the artists that were pivotal in making Indie Sleaze what it was.
Due to social media, users have unearthed this aesthetic and music catalog, which has been spreading like wildfire across several platforms. It seems that the industry higher ups have taken notice of the uptick in streams from artists of the genre. In January, Just Like Heaven, a music festival in Pasadena, California, released its 2023 lineup. A smorgasbord for Indie Sleaze lovers, the festival’s lineup features artists like Yeah Yeah Yeahs, MGMT, Empire of the Sun, Future Islands, M83, and more. In addition to the lineup, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Future Islands, and M83 have all just announced US tours. Just like that, we’ve stepped right back into 2011.
Sky Ferreira, a musical artist that was one of the faces of the era, released music this past year for the first time since 2013. Her 2012 EP Ghost was a quintessential piece to the Indie Sleaze catalog, consisting of the hits “Everything Is Embarrassing” and “Lost in My Bedroom.” In May 2022, Fererrira released her single “Don’t Forget” from her upcoming album Masochism, which is potentially being released this year. The single is a mix of the grunge indie music she was privy to in the early 2010s, but with a twist of 80s synth-pop. The release of this single has Indie Sleazers wanting their next fix of the addicting Sky Ferreira sound.
Yeah Yeah Yeahs, the band who gave us many iconic hits, such as, Heads Will Roll and Maps, also made their comeback this past year. For the first time since 2013, the indie-rock band released their new album, Cool It Down. This album is a more refined, yet reminiscent version of the music they put out a decade ago. Featuring fan favorites like Spitting Off the Edge of the World (featuring Perfume Genius) and Burning, Yeah Yeah Yeahs are locked and loaded with new material to perform at their upcoming shows.
Based on the trajectory of the music being released, live shows being announced, and in combination with social media, the Indie Sleaze aesthetic has the potential to become larger than it was in its heyday. While many have been prophesying that Indie Sleaze would make a return for years, it appears that 2023 might be the year that it comes true.
Featured Image from Yeah Yeah Yeahs.
Written by: Preethi Mangadu