Playlists have quickly become the preferred method of music consumption for a generation, leading artists like Drake to toy with the idea of releasing music in a playlist format, and labels to turn to Spotify influencers as the new gatekeepers disseminating their artists to the masses. But not all playlists are created equal, just as not all curators have a keen eye on both a genre’s deep history and the breadth of music being released. For a music fan looking for the best Spotify playlists available, it can be a tiresome task to sort through them.
This list of the best indie rock playlists on Spotify is not meant to be exhaustive, but just a jumping off point for some of the best-curated lists for both music enjoyment and discovery. Some are constantly updated, others are completed works of art. But all of them contain great tunes from people that care about the music their followers are listening to.
I Never Learned To Drive by David Greenwald
David Greenwald is the former pop music critic for The Oregonian and a longtime contributor to the public music conversation, be it through his writing or through his social media presence. And, he’s also a playlist maker. I Never Learned To Drive is a snapshot into dreamy indie rock with shoegaze, twee, and synth-pop moments that was crafted in 2016, and hasn’t seen anything added to it since. But at 68 songs, it is a solid four-and-a-half hours of carefully considered indie bliss, with songs that speak to each other and make sense as a cohesive work. In a sense, it is what playlists should strive to be.
Best New Music ’18: Rock by Ryan Schreiber
Pitchfork founder Ryan Schreiber is very active on Spotify, including putting his name behind Pitchfork’s very popular list, What’s Good. But this genre-specific playlist, Best New Music ’18, feels like a part of the DNA on which the influential site was built. It’s a massive resource for basically everything new that is released in the indie rock world and has the ear of the blogosphere. And with multiple songs added daily, it’s a playlist that rewards return visits.
KCRW Top Tracks by KCRW
Los Angeles’ public radio station KCRW is one of the best in the business at discovering new talent and amplifying quality tunes, with its daily Morning Becomes Eclectic show receiving national attention for both its tendency to premiere essential new music and its intimate live performances. They veer mostly toward indie rock in their taste, and their playlist highlighting their top tracks is a great resource for fans of the genre. It’s only updated every couple months, but its 120 song length provides a portal to some of the best indie tunes of the past year.