32 Best Indie Songs of 2013

The most commercially successful songs are being played up and down the radio.

Certainly, there is also very good quality music among these chart toppers. However, you eventually overhear the songs repeated for the umpteenth time.

That's why we have hand-picked the tracks, many of them are indie songs, whose musical quality we have not mainly made out on chart successes and which are not necessarily already known to the general public.

We have compiled 32 indie songs from the year 2013, which have moved us, which seem timeless to us.

1. Devil or Angel - Lou Doillon

We begin this list with the song Devil or Angel by French indie pop singer and actress Lou Doillon that was released as a single in 2013 via the Verve Records label.

In the music video you can see the singer walking through a beautiful autumn landscape with meadows, rivers and snow-covered hills. At the beginning and end of the video the performer is lying in the grass. In other scenes she walks down the stairs in a house, breathes on a window pane from the inside so that it fogs up and she can paint a heart on it.

2. Out of My League - Fitz and the Tantrums

Our list continues with Out of My League, a track from the American indie pop band Fitz and the Tantrums. The lead single from the album More Than Just a Dream was released on February 7, 2013.

The song is about being in love, hardly being able to grasp one's own happiness, having found the girlfriend who seemed unattainable.

3. Für Hildegard von Bingen - Devendra Banhart

And now we go to a track dedicated to a woman who saw the light of day about 915 years earlier than the song was written. It is the song "For Hildegard of Bingen" by American indie folk singer-songwriter Devendra Banhart. The single was released on March 12, 2013.

The music video for "Für Hildegard von Bingen" is not on Devendra Banhart's YouTube channel, but on the YouTube channel of The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA).

By the way, countertenor Klaus Nomi appears for a few seconds (from 1:47 to 1:50) in the music video, which is set in the early 80s.

4. Song for Zula - Phosphorescent

Next in our list Song for Zula is a song by the American indie rock band Phosphorescent, which appeared on the 2013 album Muchacho as the second track. 

On The Amazing Spider-Man 2 soundtrack, Song for Lula is included as the 16th track.

In the music video for the song you can see a woman who is tied to the ground with a chain. The woman is dressed like a woman from the Stone Age and tries to break the chain with a large stone, in which she drops the stone again and again on the chain lying on the ground. Finally, after numerous attempts, she succeeds in blowing up the chain and walks towards the camera as the last scene. Presumably, the video was shot in a park of a city.

5. Pleasure - Thylacine

Pleasure is an instrumental track by French electronica project Thylacine, released on October13, 2013.

The music video shows a man going into a castle, inserting a roll of film into a projector in a darkened room and starting the film. Then a film is projected in which a woman starts to dance. Finally, the man also starts dancing.

6. Line of Fire - Junip

Line of Fire is a song by the Swedish indie folk rock band Junip from 2013. The solid core of Junip consists of José González and Tobias Winterkorn.

In the Pitchfork Live video for Line of Fire, they perform along with guest musicians.

7. Falling - HAIM

Now we come to Falling by the American indie pop rock band HAIM, the next track in our list. The third single from their debut album Days Are Gone was released on February 12, 2013.

The music video was directed by Tabitha Denholm.

8. Diamonds - Boxer Rebellion

Next we come to Diamonds, which is the first song by British indie rock band in our list. The band in question is: The Boxer Rebellion. The single was released on March 26, 2013.

The music video shows an inexplicable event in everyday office life. The singer of the band receives two clients and shortly after greeting them, falls head over heels and passes out.

9. Elevate - St. Lucia

From the New York indie electronic music project St. Lucia comes Elevate, the next song in our list. 

Behind the stage name St. Lucia is the musician couple Patti Beranek and Jean-Philip Grobler.[1]

10. Silver Timothy - Damien Jurado

On the next track Silver Timothy by American indie rock singer-songwriter Damien Jurado, it's a little tricky with the release date.

It is the second track and the lead single on his album Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Son, but the album was released in 2014. The official YouTube video for the song was released on November 18, 2013.

11. Team - Lorde

2013 was the year that New Zealand alternative pop singer-songwriter Lorde really took off around the world.
Team was the third single from her debut album Pure Heroine and was released on September 13, 2013.

In the American TV series Grey's Anatomy, the song was played in the episode "Man on the Moon" (season 10, episode 11).

12. Hurricane - MS MR

The single Hurricane by the American alternative pop & rock duo MS MR was actually released in 2012.

However, the single was re-released the next year and thus appeared in 2013, just like the official music video on YouTube.

13. Despair - Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Next up is American indie rock band Yeah Yeah Yeahs with Despair, their second single release from their album Mosquito. The single was released on July 19, 2013.

The music video for the song Despair is a very special premiere. Because Yeah Yeah Yeahs was the first band that was allowed to shoot a music video on the roof of the Empire State Building, the 86th-floor observation deck.[2]

The track is not as negative as the song title suggests, and rather gives reason for hope. One striking song line: "If it's all in my head there's nothing to fear".

14. Avant Gardener - Courtney Barnett

The next track Avant Gardener is by Australian indie rock singer-songwriter Courtney Barnett. 

The single was released on March 20, 2013. In the music video you can see a doubles tennis match in which Courtney Barnett herself plays as player.

15. Holding on for Life - Broken Bells

And we come now to the song Holding on for Life by the American indie rock band Broken Bells. The single was released on November 4, 2013. 

Broken Bells is a two-man supergroup, because the two musicians also have their own well-known music project. Brian Burton is also known as Dangermouse and James Mercer is the singer and guitarist of The Shins.

16. Portrait - Josephine

We continue in our list of best songs with the track Portrait by the English singer-songwriter Josephine, whose full name is Josephine Oniyama. The song can be found on the studio album of the same name, released on July 5, 2013.
In the music video for the song, the full plot runs backwards.

17. My Number - Foals

A good mood track from the British alternative rock band Foals awaits us next, namely My Number

The single was already released on November 13, 2012, but it is rather a 2013 song. 

The official music video shows the band Foals performing the song live in front of an audience.

18. Reflektor - Arcade Fire

And immediately follows the next track Reflektor by the Canadian indie rock band Arcade Fire. The single was released on September 9, 2013.

David Bowie has contributed his background vocals for the track.[3]

19. White Noise - Disclosure ft. AlunaGeorge

On February 1, 2013, White Noise, the next track in our list, was released as a digital download.

The tune comes from the British musician duo Disclosure featuring the English musician duo AlunaGeorge.

20. Closer - Tegan and Sara

To be precise, the single Closer was released by Canadian indie pop duo Tegan and Sara on September 25, 2012.

However, the song is again a candidate, which is rather to be classified in 2013 and thus found the place in this list. 

With the track Closer Tegan and Sara won the Juno Awards 2014 for "Single of the Year".

21. Garden of Love - Winston McAnuff & Fixi

Especially because the Jamaican singer and composer Winston McAnuff is particularly well known in France, it is obvious that he has collaborated with a French musician, namely Fixi. This joint musical production resulted in the 2013 single "Garden of Love".

You can get an idea of the energetic live performances of Winston McAnuff and the congenial musical interplay with the accordion playing of Fixi in the official music video for the song.

22. Purple Yellow Red and Blue - Portugal. The Man

In the song Purple Yellow Red and Blue by American indie rock band Portugal. The Man features the voices of siblings Este and Danielle Haim from the band Haim. Haim are also represented in this song list.

The single, which was released on April 23, 2013, is included on the album Evil Friends as the 13th track. No less than the music producer Dangermouse, he can also be found in this list on the Broken Bells song, has produced this album.[4]

And about the music video, what can I say? Just don't think about it, it's crazy art.

23. I‘m Waiting Here - David Lynch & Lykke Li

On June 3, 2013, the song I'm Waiting Here, composed and written by American director and musician David Lynch and Swedish indie pop singer-songwriter Lykke Li, was released as a single. The tune is sung by Lykke Li.

The music video predominantly shows a car ride, viewed from a driver's perspective, under a cloudless blue sky on the roads of a desert landscape.
Time progresses as if by the hour, it gets darker and the sun disappears into the horizon.

 The music video for the song was not directed by David Lynch himself.

24. Just Make It Stop - Low

Let's move on to Just Make It Stop, a track by the American indie rock band Low. The single was released in 2013 (on March 19), the year Low celebrated their 20th anniversary as a band.

Wegen des Todes der Sängerin Mimi Parker im Jahr 2022 wurde die Band inzwischen aufgelöst.

Definitely recommended is also the video for the song, which could be titled with either one or the other of the following two questions: Is nature taking back technology? Or: Can technology help us explore our connection to nature?

25. Must I Wait - Yumi and the Weather

Must I Wait by English indie pop singer-songwriter Yumi And The Weather is featured as the second track on the EP All We Can. The EP was released on October 21, 2013.

British-Canadian actor Matthew Jure is featured in the official music video for the song.

26. Money Rain Down - Big Black Delta

Our list is next dedicated to the track Money Rain Down by Big Black Delta, the electronic rock solo project of American singer and bassist Jonathan Bates. The single was released on April 29, 2013.

Amidst the singer sitting on a chair and around him two dancing women and two dancing men, and fancy film effects. This and a bit more can be seen in the official music video for the song.

If I didn't know the year of release, the song could have been written in the 80s.

27. Muizenberg - John Wizards

Just released in 2013, on December 16, the song Muizenberg by the South African pop rock band John Wizards could also be well classified in 2014. But for now, the decision is made for the year of the single's release, that is, for this Best of the Year song list.

It's a track that can't be easily squeezed into a song structure or a clear musical genre.

The important thing when listening to this song is: listen to it from the beginning to the last second, it's definitely worth it. You'll hear why.

28. In A Feeling Like This - Blouse

For the 2013 track In A Feeling Like This by the American alternative rock band Blouse, the partly surreal music video once again underlines the special effect of the song.

Whether the band Blouse still exists or has since disbanded is hard to say. In any case, the official band website no longer exists.

29. In Kind - Braids

Now it shows how small the world can be when it comes to relationships or activities of us humans.
It's not intentional, but the coincidence that this song was chosen by me right now is quite remarkable: The music video for the song In Kind by the Canadian indie, dream pop band Braids was directed by Angus Borsos, who also directed the music video In A Feeling Like This by Blouse.
And if you scroll back a bit in this song list, you'll see which song appears before this track.

The nearly 8-minute track In Kind was not released as a single, but is featured as the 11th track on the critically acclaimed 2013 album Flourish // Perish.

30. Bye Bye - Destroyer

Bye Bye is a Spanish-sung song by Destroyer, a Canadian indie rock band, which is the fifth track on the EP Five Spanish Songs

The EP was released on November 26, 2013.

31. Chain My Name - POLIÇA

Chain My Name by American indie electronic band Poliça is a single released in 2013. 

It is the second of two singles from the album Shulamith.

32. The Trip - Still Corners

To conclude our list of the best tracks from 2013, we come to the song The Trip by the British/American dream pop band Still Corners. 

It's the opening track from the album Strange Pleasures, which was released on May 7, 2013.


[1] Bedian, K. (2014, December 16). Sharing Stories and Songs: St. Lucia - Sound of Boston - Boston Music Blog. Sound of Boston - Boston Music Blog. https://soundofboston.com/sharing-stories-songs-st-lucia/, para. 4

[2] Hogan, M. (2013, June 24). Watch Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ Towering ‘Despair’ Video, Shot Atop the Empire State Building. SPIN. https://www.spin.com/2013/06/yeah-yeah-yeahs-despair-mosquito-video-empire-state-building/, para. 2

[3] Coulehan, E. (2013, September 10). David Bowie Sang on Arcade Fire’s ‘Reflektor’. Rolling Stone. https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-news/david-bowie-sang-on-arcade-fires-reflektor-237517/

[4] The Fader. (2013, April 22). Video: Portugal. The Man, “Purple Yellow Red and Blue.” The FADER. https://www.thefader.com/2013/04/22/video-portugal-the-man-purple-yellow-red-and-blue, para. 1

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