Pavement
Mellow Gold
Exile in Guyville
Sebadoh

Pop/Rock » Alternative/Indie Rock » Lo-Fi

During the late '80s and early '90s, lo fidelity became not only a description of the recording quality of a particular album, but it also became a genre onto itself. Throughout rock & roll's history, recordings were made cheaply and quickly, often on substandard equipment. In that sense, the earliest rock & roll records, most of the garage rock of the '60s, and much of the punk rock of the late '70s could be tagged as Lo-Fi. However, the term came to refer to a breed of underground indie rockers that recorded their material at home on four-track machines. Most of this music grew out of the American underground of the '80s, including bands like R.E.M., as well as a handful of British post-punk bands and New Zealand bands like the Chills and the Clean. Often, these lo-fi bands fluctuated from simple pop and rock songs to free-form song structures to pure noise and arty experimentalism. Even when the groups kept the songs relatively straightforward, the thin quality of the recordings, the layers of tape distortion and hiss, as well as the tendency toward abstract, obtuse lyrics made the music sound different and left of center. Initially, lo-fi recordings were traded on homemade tapes, but several indie labels -- most notably K Records, which was run by Calvin Johnson, who led the lo-fi band Beat Happening -- released albums on vinyl. Several groups in the late '80s, like Pussy Galore, Beat Happening, and Royal Trux earned small cult followings within the American underground. By 1992, groups like Sebadoh and Pavement had become popular cult acts in America and Britain with their willfully noisy, chaotic recordings. A few years later, Liz Phair and Beck helped break the lo-fi aesthetic into the mainstream, albeit in a more streamlined fashion.

Lo-Fi Artists Highlights

Pavement
Pavement
Sebadoh
Sebadoh
Guided by Voices
Guided by Voices
Neutral Milk Hotel
Neutral Milk Hotel
No Age
No Age
Daniel Johnston
Daniel Johnston

More Lo-Fi Artists

Lo-Fi Album Highlights

Mellow Gold
Beck
Mellow Gold
Exile in Guyville
Liz Phair
Exile in Guyville
Slanted and Enchanted
Pavement
Slanted and Enchanted
In the Aeroplane Over the Sea
Neutral Milk Hotel
In the Aeroplane Over the ...
III
Sebadoh
III
Lush
Snail Mail
Lush

More Lo-Fi Albums

Lo-Fi Song Highlights

Title/Composer Performer Stream
Loser Beck
Summer Babe Pavement
Fuck and Run Liz Phair
Motor Away Guided by Voices
Tidal Wave The Apples in Stereo
In the Aeroplane Over the Sea Neutral Milk Hotel
Pristine Snail Mail
TV
Colleen Green
He's a Mighty Good Leader Beck
I Wish I Could Cry Saturday Looks Good to Me

More Lo-Fi Songs

Other Styles in Alternative/Indie Rock