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10 Delightfully Bizarre Music Genres

Shoegaze

Shoegaze

Emerging from Great Britain in the late 80s/early 90s, shoegaze is a form of indie rock characterized by the heavy use of distortion and feedback to create a nearly unrecognizable combination of sounds. The term itself refers to the passive, apathetic singers who would look down during performances instead of trying to connect with the audience. So, if you're at a shoegaze show, don’t expect to make eye contact with the band. 

Shoegaze Band to Know: Ringo Deathstarr 

(image via Instagram)

Dream Pop

Dream Pop

In between the high energy of hair metal and the immediacy of grunge, dream pop was borne out of New Wave and ambient sounds. Deemed "an atmospheric subgenre of alternative rock that relies on sonic textures as much as melody" by The AllMusic Guide to Electronica, this genre aims to elicit a hypnotic experience from its listeners. Dream pop is best paired with hallucinogenic drugs. We're kidding, but not much. 

Dream Pop Band to Know: Pale Saints

(image via Instagram)

Wizard Rock

Wizard Rock

After the popularity of the Harry Potter series, many bands adopted the wizard rock style, with lyrics about witchcraft and magical creatures. During their live performances, the musicians will often dress up as their favorite characters from the Harry Potter universe and sing songs from their point of view. These concerts are a great place to break out your Neville Longbottom costume.

Wizard Rock Band to Know: Harry and the Potters

(image via Instagram)

Gypsy Punk

Gypsy Punk

Not to be confused with gypsy jazz, gypsy punk takes the themes and styles of traditional Romani folk music and adds the energy of punk rock. Songs typically include unusual instrumentation and lyrics in multiple languages. You might want to brush up on your gypsy history in order to get the full effect—and shame on you for letting it lapse in the first place.

Gypsy Punk Band to Know: Gogol Bordello 

(image via Instagram)

Chap Hop

Chap Hop

The British are known for their quirky brand of humor, and rarely is it more apparent than in chap hop, a combination of the Chappist/steampunk movement with hip hop. Presentation is key in the world of chap hop, featuring bushy mustaches, suspenders, and 19th century bicycles. The results target a very specific subsection of nerd subculture. Listening to an Englishman rap about manners and the difficulties of life before electricity is an acquired taste, to say the least.

Chap Hop Band to Know: Professor Elemental 

(image via Instagram)

Cuddlecore

Cuddlecore

Typically performed by all-female bands, cuddlecore was an offshoot of indie rock that celebrated the bubblegum pop of the 1960s. Infused with punk elements, this movement was popular in the 1990s, contrasting with the more gritty sounds that were featured frequently in the alt rock of the era. Basically, cuddlecore is for people who were “too cool” for mainstream music but couldn’t handle grunge.

Cuddlecore Band to Know: Tullycraft 

(image via Instagram)

Unblack Metal

Unblack Metal

A play on black metal, a genre which frequently contains themes surrounding satanism, unblack metal features the same disgruntled sound, with a twist—explicit Christian references. The hope is that these artists will make their way into the hands of angsty youth, tricking them into buying into organized religion. It is difficult to imagine the makeup of this undoubtedly small target audience.

Unblack Metal Band to Know: Frost Like Ashes

(image via Instagram)

Folktronica

Folktronica

Though folk and electronica are at two ends of the musical spectrum, in the early 2000s they were combined in order to form something new altogether. In order to achieve folktronica, artists lay samplings of string instruments on top of computer-generated beats. You might be asking how folk and electronica fit together—and that is a question you will probably still have after listening to folktronica.

Folktronica Singer to Know: Juana Molina 

(image via Instagram)

Cowpunk

Cowpunk

With its twangy guitar sounds and loose delivery, cowpunk served as the musical link between psychobilly and alternative country. Especially prominent in cities like Los Angeles and Austin in the 1970s and 1980s, cowpunk artists were equal parts country and punk rock. Their music was more about audience involvement than it was about promoting an agenda. This is definitely the genre for people who wish Willie Nelson screamed more.

Cowpunk Band to Know: Rank and File

(image via Instagram)

Nintendocore

Nintendocore

Using the sounds of synthesizers and other electronics, participants in the Nintendocore movement are able to recreate the musical stylings of 1980s video games. Sometimes referred to as “nerd rock,” these bands come from a variety of subgenres to show their appreciation for the 8-bit world they so affectionately adore. The nostalgia factor of Nintendocore will make you feel like a kid again, though you may not be able to listen to it for too long.

Nintendocore Band to Know: Horse the Band

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