Indie films have always peaked interest among artsy movie goers based on their quirky, raw style and ability to conquer perfection against a small budget.  Granted, not all indie films are a great success, but the ones that are have one thing in common; they all have amazing soundtracks that almost become their own character.  This music helps to bring us into the world the characters are living in, it helps us to feel what they are feeling, and it helps to drive the film.  There are lots of good stories out there, and the thing that makes the great ones stand out, is the music carrying us through.  Here are some of the best and most successful indie films with soundtracks that made them the movies that we love.

Singles Movie

Singles (1992)

It has been said that this particular soundtrack is single handedly responsible for catapulting the Seattle grunge scene into main stream American culture.  The soundtrack went platinum and reached the billboard top ten, which was a first for many of the alternative artists.  This platform gave some of the biggest names in alternative music, and rock, their start and the exposure they needed to make it to the big time.  Smashing Pumpkins, Pearl Jam, Alice and Chains and Soundgarden are just some of the household names that were just getting started when Singles hit the scene.

Kids (1995)

This controversial film dealt with the sensitive subject of teens who were living sexually charged lives, and suffering all the consequences, in New York City.  Folk Implosion, previously unknown, got their mainstream start with the release of the film, and found their single “Natural One” topping the charts, achieving great success in the mainstream rock scene.

Stealing Beauty (1996)

This sexy coming of age film, starring Liv Tyler in her breakout role, did receive mixed reviews; one thing is certain, the soundtrack played an essential role in this film, carrying you through to the end.  The music was the perfect combination of sexy and obscure that fit the mood of the film to a T. Artists like Portishead, Liz Phair, and Mazzy Star paired with Billie Holiday and Stevie wonder created a genius mix that really set the mood.

Trainspotting (1996)

When this soundtrack was released it old so well and created such a frenzy, it prompted execs to release a second follow up soundtrack of other songs from the film that even included ones that didn’t make the final cut of the film.  The album featured a cool combination of artists with tracks from Iggy Pop, Iggy Pop covering David Bowie and David Bowie himself.

Hedwig and the Angry Inch

Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2001)

This brilliant film about a transgender singer, was adapted from a stage musical, and created an instant sensation.  The film and its music had an immediate cult following.  What is most impressive is that the adaptation and direction were performed by the star of the film, John Cameron Mitchell, who drove the story and never let you go, keeping you captivated with passionate rock ballads and a series of standout rock performances that would rival any front man.

The Life Aquatic (2004)

This being a Wes Anderson film, naturally it was scored by Devo member Mark Mothersbaugh.  Of course a comedy of this caliber would require a soundtrack just as unique.  Not only does this compilation feature and actual Devo song, a first, it also features a series of David Bowie covers…in Portuguese.

Garden State (2004)

Zach Braff helped to compile this soundtrack, winning an award in the process, by basically pulling together any and all songs that he saw fit during the time in which he wrote the screenplay for the movie that he would star in.  This films quirky, hip, young vibe was achieved perfectly with a combination of smart writing and smart music to match.  The Shins “new Slang” was an instant hit following its exposure from the film.  With artists like Simon & Garfunkle, Frou Frou, Iron and Wine and Zero 7, is an eclectic mix used brilliantly to keep you in tune with the complex emotions of the film.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

Composed by Jon Brion, this soundtrack fittingly contains songs whose lyrics pertain to or have some focus on the sun and sunshine.  The Willowz, Beck and E.L.O. are just a few of the many contributors to this mix of varied artists transporting you to this spotless reality.


Juno (2008)

This soundtrack is mostly compiled of songs from the bands Antsy Pants and the Moldy Peaches, both featuring Kimya Dawson.  He director wanted to know what Ellen Page, Juno, thought that her character listened to, and her answer was the unknown Moldy Peaches.  After the films release, the band became widely known in the indie rock scene.

Away We Go (2009)

The bulk of this soundtrack is original music by Alexi Murdoch, a singer/songwriter from Scotland.  Also featured are Bob Dylan, Velvet underground, and George Harrison, providing a mood of deep contemplation fitting for two characters who stumble around the country “finding themselves.”  The album is heavy in the folk category.

This are was writing by Zack Jenkins. When not listening to the latest soundtrack releases he fills her need for entertainment news with HitFix.

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