These days, you’d think that the Billboard Top 100 list is taking its cues from The Fader. We have been hit by the waves of next-gen indie/alternative bands, with big album debuts and releases by Wet, Chairlift, St. Lucia. Josef Salvat and Seafret dominating the iTunes and Apple Charts. With eclectic, artsty fusions of diverse genres like electronica, rock, folk, pop and R ‘n B, this legion of new-school indies join contemporaries like C H V R C H E S and Grimes in the a New Wave of alt-pop goodness.

Poignantly emotional melodies, heartbreaking lyrics and dreamy vocals are the order of the day. Sure it’s pop – technically speaking – BUT it ain’t exactly Taylor Swift.

And major labels want in on the action: only a few short months after The Fader lauded Wet “the most promising new music group”, back in April 2015, Wet debuted their first major-label album, “Don’t You”, on 29 January 2016, after signing with legendary record label Columbia.  Watch Wet performing “All the Ways” off their debut album Don’t You at the Lyric Theatre in Los Angeles:

Not only are major labels starting to care more about promoting awareness for indie bands, but big global brands like American Airlines seem to see the benefit of aligning with alt-pop acts, too. Recently, American Airlines partnered up with South African-born synthpop crooner St. Lucia on the release of Matter (29 January 2016).
They provided  St Lucia with a dedicated radio station in-flight, allowing ‘Matter’ to be heard as passengers board and de-board flights globally February-March. American Airlines also hosted a listening session with the band at NYC’s JFK airport and they launched fan flyaways for the upcoming tour dates in Chicago, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.

To add some perspective, American Airlines reaches 6.5MM passengers per month, with over 44,000 flights per month.

Watch St. Lucia go behind-the-scenes of sophomore album  Matter, giving a breakdown of  “Help Me Run Away”, “Always” & more:

Indie has become trendy. The inclusion of more traditional genre lines like R’n B and folk have allowed the always non-abrasive indie-pop genre to cast an even wider net, whilst retaining its sensitive, quirky edge. Are we witnessing a second wave of New Wave? One thing’s for sure – it’s become cool to wear your sunglasses at night, again!

Listen to Wet “Don’t You” here:
Listen to Chairlift “Moth” here:
Listen to Seafret “Tell Me It’s Real” here:
Listen to St. Lucia “Matter here”:
Listen to Josef Salvat “Night Swim” here:

Check out this 40 year anthology of synthpop, rock and alternative beats, from Joy Division to Josef Salvat, on Filtr ZA’s “I’m Not Goth” playlist.

Contributor: Larissa Fainberg