15. Arcade Fire
Years active: 2001 - present
Influenced: Large orchestral groups, incorporation of strings and organs with more traditional rock
Hometown: Montreal, Quebec
Jam: "Rebellion (Lies)." A song that quintessentially captures the emotions of escape, youth and freedom within its shifting surface.
For those of us who actually started listening to Funeral independently from Pitchfork's seal of approval, for those of us who chanted the lines of "Rebellion (Lies)" on long car rides home under freeway underpasses and pedestrian streetlamps, for those of us who studied Neon Bible with the same fervor pastors study the original—Arcade Fire is an important band. So when the Montreal group won Album of the Year out of nowhere at 2011's Grammys for their third album The Suburbs, it felt like a really important moment for this generation's claim to indie rock. Here's an interesting dilemma within indie—bands aren't supposed to sell out or gain commercial mainstream success, but critical success is always lauded. Perhaps it's the idea that we were right all along about the music, and seeing the larger culture award a band their rightful recognition feels good—but seeing that music accompany messages to sell cars doesn't. Either way, Arcade Fire have become kind of an emblematic band for twentysomethings that worship at the throne of indie rock, and their next record slated for sometime this year will probably only cement that further.