Indie Rock Music Documentaries You Need to See

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


Whether you’re a music lover or a documentary buff, these five indie rock docs are definitely worth your time. From the rise of Nirvana to the legacy of the Talking Heads, these films offer an in-depth look at some of the most influential bands in alternative music history.

What is Indie Rock?

Indie rock is a subgenre of rock music that originated in the United Kingdom in the 1970s. Indie rock is characterized by a DIY ethic, and a focus on independent record labels, artists, and songwriters. In the 2010s, the term “indie rock” has been used to describe a wide variety of genres and subgenres, including lo-fi, noise pop, emo, and indie pop.

The Origins of Indie Rock

The origins of indie rock can be traced back to the 1950s, when a group of young musicians in the United Kingdom began playing a style of music that was influenced by American rock and roll. These musicians, who would come to be known as the “British Invasion,” were led by bands such as The Beatles and The Rolling Stones.

In the 1970s, punk rock emerged as a reaction to the mainstream rock music of the time. Punk rock was characterized by its aggressive sound and DIY ethic, and it quickly gained a following among music fans who were looking for something different.

In the 1980s, indie rock began to take shape as a distinct genre. This new sound was indebted to both punk and classic rock, but it also incorporated elements of other styles, such as new wave and jangle pop. Indie rock bands such as R.E.M., Sonic Youth, and Hüsker Dü helped to define the genre with their unconventional approach to songwriting and their independent spirit.

In the 1990s, indie rock reached new heights of popularity, thanks in part to the rise of alternative rock radio stations and the success of bands like Nirvana and Pearl Jam. At the same time, many indie rock bands began to experiment with different sounds and structures, resulting in a wide range of subgenres, from lo-fi to math rock.

Today, indie rock is one of the most popular genres of music, with fans all over the world enjoying its unique mix of influences. Whether you’re a fan of classic indie or you’re more interested in contemporary takes on the genre, there’s an indie rock band out there that’s sure to appeal to you.

The Indie Rock Sound

The term “indie rock” is used to describe a wide range of musical styles, but there are some common elements that are often found in indie rock music. These include a DIY or independent approach, a focus on songwriting and musicianship, and a rejection of the commercial trappings of the mainstream music industry.

In terms of musical style, indie rock often draws from alternative rock, punk rock, and folk music. But because the term is used so broadly, it can be hard to pinpoint what makes something “indie rock.” That said, there are some touchstones that are generally agreed upon by fans and critics alike.

Pavement is often cited as one of the most influential indie rock bands. They were known for their lo-fi sound and discordant song structures. Another important band in the genre is The Smiths, who blended alternative rock with pop sensibilities to create a sound that was both radio-friendly and deeply personal.

Today, there are countless bands operating in the indie rock realm. Some, like Arcade Fire and The National, have achieved mainstream success, while others remain underground favorites. But what they all have in common is a commitment to making music on their own terms.

The Best Indie Rock Music Documentaries

In this article, we’ll be discussing the best indie rock music documentaries. We’ll cover a range of topics, from the history of the genre to modern-day bands that are keeping the sound alive. If you’re a fan of indie rock music, or if you’re just curious about the genre, then this list is for you.


If you’re a fan of indie rock music, then you need to see Dig!, a documentary about the rivalry between two bands: The Brian Jonestown Massacre and The Dandy Warhols.

The film follows the two bands over the course of seven years, from their beginnings in the 1990s to their rise to fame in the 2000s. It chronicles their professional and personal relationship, as well as their musical evolution.

Dig! is an insightful and entertaining look at the music industry, and it’s a must-see for any fan of indie rock.

No Age: An American Documentary

Released in 2007, No Age: An American Documentary is an intimate look at the punk rock music scene in America. The film follows a group of young musicians as they travel across the country, playing shows and living out their dreams. No Age: An American Documentary is a must-see for any fan of indie rock music.

Sonic Highways

If you’re a fan of both rock music and documentaries, then you’ll definitely want to check out Sonic Highways. This 2014 film follows the Foo Fighters as they travel across the United States to record their eighth studio album. Along the way, they visit some of the most iconic and influential music venues in America, including Nashville’s renowned Bluebird Cafe and New Orleans’ Preservation Hall. Sonic Highways is a fascinating look at the history and evolution of American rock music, and it’s essential viewing for any fan of the genre.

Why You Should Watch These Documentaries

If you’re a fan of indie rock music, then you need to check out these documentaries. They offer an inside look at the lives of some of your favorite musicians, and they’ll give you a new appreciation for the music you love.

They’re Entertaining

Not only are these documentaries entertaining, but they also offer an insider’s look at the music industry that you won’t find anywhere else. If you’re a fan of indie rock music, then you need to see these documentaries.

In addition to being entertaining, these documentaries offer an insider’s look at the music industry that you won’t find anywhere else. If you’re a fan of indie rock music, then you need to see these documentaries.

They’re Educational

More than just entertainment, documentaries can be educational, showing us worlds we may never experience firsthand. They can introduce us to new concepts and teach us about different cultures and time periods. They can also inspire change by bringing attention to important social issues. Whether you’re looking to learn more about a particular topic or just want to be transported to another place, these five music documentaries are sure to educate and entertain.

1. “Dig!” – This 2004 documentary follows the rise and fall of two very different bands – the Dandy Warhols and the Brian Jonestown Massacre. While the Warhols found commercial success, the Massacre became infamous for their drug use and erratic behavior. The film offers a unique insight into the world of indie rock and the characters that inhabit it.

2. “Hype!” – This 1996 doc looks at the grunge scene in Seattle and how it blew up in the early 1990s. Featuring interviews with major players like Kurt Cobain, Eddie Vedder, and Krist Novoselic, it’s a must-see for any fan of grunge or alternative music.

3. “What Happened Miss Simone?” – This 2015 film tells the story of legendary singer Nina Simone through previously unseen footage and interviews with those who knew her best. A classically trained pianist, Simone became one of the most influential vocalists of her time with her soulful mix of jazz, blues, and folk music.

4. “The Kid Stays in the Picture” – Based on Robert Evans’ autobiography of the same name, this 2002 documentary chronicles Evans’ fascinating life and career in Hollywood. From his early days as a successful actor to his stint as a powerful studio executive, Evans’ story is truly incredible. And as an added bonus, his voice narrates the entire film!

5. “20 Feet from Stardom” – This 2013 Academy Award-winning doc shines a light on the unsung heroes of the music industry – backup singers. Featuring interviews with some of the most acclaimed backup singers of all time, including Darlene Love and Merry Clayton, it’s a must-see for any music fan.

They’re Inspiring

Documentaries about music have been around since the late 1800s, but the format has changed drastically in that time. Nowadays, you’re just as likely to find a music documentary on Netflix as you are in your local art-house cinema.

Of course, with such a wide range of subjects to choose from, it can be tough to know where to start. Here are ten of the best music documentaries currently available:

1. 20,000 Days on Earth (2014)
2. A Band Called Death (2012)
3.Amazing Grace (2018)
4.Anvil! The Story of Anvil (2008)
5. Cobain: Montage of Heck (2015)
6. David Bowie: The Last Five Years (2017)
7. Gimme Danger (2016)
8. Janis: Little Girl Blue (2015)
9. Mr Dynamite: The Rise of James Brown (2014)
10. Searching for Sugar Man (2012)

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