During my 6 months exchange here at UKC, the thing I have probably missed the most was concert season for all my favourite Italian indie bands. So, to make up for it, I am going to tell you all about them and why I love them so much.

Fast Animals and Slow Kids – Also known as FASK, they are the band that first got me into Italian indie, because my Tumblr crush at the time really loved them, so I had to love them as well. They have been around for over a decade now, starting off in central Italy’s Perugia. They have released four albums, but never forget their origins and humbly start every live show stating the band’s name and where they come from, as if they were just introducing the main band and needed audience to remember them. Over the years their emo and punk rock sound has become even more gritty and hardcore. They are the band you want to go see live during exam season – scream from the top of your lungs, jump and push for two hours straight and get all your stress out. I have seen them live five times now and the best memories I made are losing a shoe, my bra constantly unclasping from how much I was jumping around, and drenching my shirt in sweat. Their music is pure energy, and you would not tell that they seclude themselves in the rural Italian countryside to write and record all their songs. The best part though – they go drink a beer with their fans after every show.

Favourite lyrics, from ‘Te lo prometto’: “We will be friend/ I promise you/ I already have a couple of ideas/ To make you unhappy/ I can ruin everything and I will/ It’s a tendency to distress* / That I can’t contain anymore/ I can’t contain myself anymore”

I cani – This was the second indie band I fell in love with. They cannot actually be called a band since they only have one member, Niccolò Contessa, though he never performs alone and he calls I cani – literally “the dogs” – a project more than a band. During their prime years, now gone, they were the epitome of hipsterdom, with songs titled ‘Wes Anderson and ‘Hipsteria. Their sound is more mellow, and they mostly fall into synth pop and the electro/techno genre.

Favourite lyrics, from ‘Il posto più freddo’: “Cause now the night is gone and the drugs have come down/ Here for you is the loneliest creature in the world/ And the shivers come up from the legs to the chest/ The coldest place is right here in my bed/ Please stay with me another moment/ Please stay with me till I fall asleep”

CalcuttaAnother one-man band, Calcutta is one of the newest faces in the Italian indie scene, with his first successful album Mainstream being released in 2015. He has a wide variety of influences, from Italian singer-songwriters of the 60s to tropical and Brazilian beats. What mostly stand out are his lyrics; apparently nonsensical, they mostly aim to evoke an atmosphere. He was also recently involved in a controversy, as he was paid €5000 by the city of Bologna for the playlist that was going to be played in the town’s square on New Year’s, but not DJed by anyone.

Favourite lyrics, from ‘Gaetano’: “I painted a swastika in the centre of Bologna/ But it was just to start a fight/ I didn’t want to party and I needed a pretext/ To let you go”

[Trust me, I’m from Bologna, it’s fine, we are not offended by the swastika thing. We actually have meme-events on Facebook about going to find that piece of graffiti.]

Willie Peyote – Guglielmo “Willie” is a rapper more prominent in the indie scene than in rap. When I first saw him live it was the first time he was playing in a venue that made Italian indie history, and he couldn’t believe he was performing there as well. If you saw him you would not think his stage name is of a psychoactive drug: scrawny and nerdy with glasses, but he can rap fast. He has a funky sound and his lyrics are smart and play with words and your expectations.

Favourite lyrics, form ‘C’era una vodka’: “I have had issues with alcohol in the past/ But now everything is fine/ We got back together”

Ex-Otago – They are my new love. Their style can only be described as indie pop, whatever that oxymoron means. What I most like about them are the very simple beats you cannot stay still to. Their lyrics are very simple as well, you will remember the chorus after the first listen and sing along every time after that. They are the band I listen to while making dinner, cleaning my room and folding laundry. They are even approved by my British housemate who only listens to grime.

Favourite lyrics, from ‘Quando sono con te’: “When I’m with you/ I feel inside me/ A racket, a music/ And I don’t know where it comes from/ And it probably doesn’t have a name/ But it caresses me and it invades me”

Italian indie can take on many different faces and sounds. So why do I like it so much? Well, firstly, it is not just me. I feel that this genre of music is what most of my generation back home listens to. It just gets us. They understand what being a 20-something in a messed-up country means. Recurring themes and lyrics in these artists’ songs are about not seeing a future for yourself, an inability to communicate and to create meaningful interpersonal relationships. There is an overarching feeling of instability and uncertainty, feelings that pervade everyone in their 20s but I feel are extremely prominent in my country, were people have not been able to see a future for themselves since the 2008 financial crisis. The one verse that I feel encompasses this feeling the most is from Fast Animals and Slow Kids and it says: “Hopes when you are 20 ears old, being still but feeling distant”. We do not listen to this kind of music to get even more depressed about our situation, but to connect with people from our generation that get it as well. It is a for of escapism from the older generations that screwed everything up for us and are now telling us to that we are not working hard enough.

My hope is to have widened your horizon of what is out there in the indie music scene, and to have showed you how other people can relate to music. Maybe you will pick up one of those bands, even if you don’t understand a word they are saying.