General Question

rabbitheart's avatar

What are some 'indie' pop or rock artists that use a violin or full orchestra in their songs?

Asked by rabbitheart (785points) August 31st, 2009

Some good examples would be Florence + The Machine, Cloud Cult, Ra Ra Riot, Kissy Sell Out (on one track, but it was amazing), Margot & the Nuclear So and So’s, Marina & The Diamonds, The Royal We, etc…

A strong drumbeat or fairly fast-paced songs would definitely be a plus.

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35 Answers

whatthefluther's avatar

Blue October.

eponymoushipster's avatar

Decemberists, Arcade Fire, Camera Obscura, Okkerville River (i think), A.C. Newman

whatthefluther's avatar

And Margot & The Nuclear So & So’s is actually a cello.

rabbitheart's avatar

Should have included Arcade Fire and Camera Obscura in the examples, love them.

And I’m happy with any variation of a string instrument, really :D

whatthefluther's avatar

Nickell Creek (bluegrass) Violin and mandolin

cbloom8's avatar

I don’t know if they’d fit, but Apocalyptica does rock/metal like music with cellos, and The Section Quartet does covers of rock songs.

Buttonstc's avatar


Viva la Vida

mrentropy's avatar

Emilie Autumn
And, as mentioned, New Model Army (because they’re awesome).

OreetCocker's avatar

Elbow are a quality act from the UK that do both :-)

Ria777's avatar

responding to the original post, you could check out the chamber pop sub-genre, because that means pretty much what you described.

le_inferno's avatar

Bright Eyes… the whole Lifted album is orchestra-based.
Some examples include:

False Advertising:

Don’t Know When But Day’s Gonna Come: (takes a while to actually build to the orchestrated parts… about 3:38)

mrentropy's avatar

I could also mention that the Moody Blue’s album, “Days of Future Passed” is done with an orchestra.

RareDenver's avatar

Here is one of the most beautiful songs I have ever heard that would fit nicely into this category

The Dark Is Rising by Mercury Rev

Tink's avatar

Los Campesinos!

Tink's avatar

WAIT!! WAIT!! What the hell was I thinking!??! Not Los Campesinos! I meant Ra Ra Riot, they use violins.
Sorry ‘bout that misunderstandment, I’m slow today.
Damn, I didn’t see you mentioned them already.

eponymoushipster's avatar

@Tink1113 Los Campesinos! uses violin too.

Also, Belle and Sebastian.

To add to my prior comment, both Belle and Sebastian and The Decemberists have played concerts with the Los Angeles Symphony. The Decemberists even did a tour where they played with various symphonies around the country. The show in Chicago was awesome – it rained, and Colin encouraged everyone to run the stage!

Tink's avatar

@eponymoushipster Really? I never noticed…

eponymoushipster's avatar

@Tink1113 yep. in this song you can hear it quite clearly, and at the end, check out the instrument of the girl who kicks over the music stand.

it’s also quite evident on ”...HAHAHA This is how you spell…” :)

Tink's avatar

@eponymoushipster Haha, it does! I hadn’t heard of that song till now, his voice makes me laugh. So they also use a violin…


eponymoushipster's avatar

@Tink1113 yeah, i want to see them live. i also nominate Aleksandra Campensino for hottest indie chick ever

Tink's avatar

@eponymoushipster So do I!
Lol I agree 100%

deathmango's avatar

Gogol Bordello are frequently described as gyspy punk. It’s very high energy music, combining fiddle and accordion with electric guitar and pneumatic drill, slavic folk tunes with reggae, punk, and rock. Very talented bunch.

galileogirl's avatar

Go back to the guy who started it all and has never been surpassed in his orchestral use of the kazoo-SPIKE JONES!!

Buttonstc's avatar

Or the guy who looked to him as a role model

Weird Al Yankovic and his accordion.

fathippo's avatar

evanescence, within temptation….?
that kinda thing…. =)

polos's avatar

Beirut and DeVotchKa spring to mind, though neither are as mainstream as the likes of Florence and the Machine.

Pcrecords's avatar

Some great examples already given especially the sublime Elbow. I also love arcade fire and their arranger owen pallet (?) working with last shadow puppets is excellent too.

Best indie strings crossover for me is the universal by blur. Fantastic strings and a brilliant song.

markyy's avatar

How could I have missed this thread :(

Anyway most good bands have been mentioned already, I just wanted to point out that if you need to look any further try tags like Baroque Pop, Chamber Pop or Chamber Music to find similar bands to the one you mentioned.

rabbitheart's avatar

Thank you so much everyone!

@Ria777 and @markyy, I checked out the chamber pop sub-genre, and interestingly enough, not a lot of the bands were to my taste. I must have a narrow and bizarre musical palate.

nomnomlifeispeachy's avatar

Andrew Bird? I’m surprised nobody mentioned him.
He does all the violin and guitar layers himself with loops and whatnot.

Also Aberfeldy sometimes uses violin in the background, but it’s fairly minor.

fathippo's avatar

oh and Emilie Autumn has a whole ton of violins =]

dammit_cynthia's avatar

Arcade Fire? They have sweet songs with violin usage.

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