Music is one of the most important parts of our culture. Even if you’re not a self-confessed music mogul, then you’ll love a good old sing along to a classic (‘We Will Rock You’, anyone?) So, it follows, that as the ease with which recording and sharing music grows, so do musical subgenres. At Zimrii, we’re into wonderful and wild subgenres, so we thought we’d bring together twenty-one of our favourites that you might not have heard of.
Aggrotech is a form of electro-industrial that has features of hard trance music. Our first musical subgenre, it has a techno bass drum and oscillator sounds. Aggrotech surfaced in the mid-late-1990s, and is the dark, aggressive, transgressive cousin of techno.
Sludge metal combines doom metal and hardcore punk. It’s loud, heavy, distorted, and focused on the creation of a dissonant sound.
Brostep is the LADS musical subgenre of the music world. It’s dubstep, as played by your brother’s mate who’s played a little too much Call of Duty. And its focus is on its ability to create a filthy and disgusting sound. We’re going to need a shower.
Not just the pretty girl from your high-school disco; Discofox is a musical subgenre that evolved from the popularity of the Discofox dance in German Euro-discos of the 70s and 80s. Think Studio 54, Saturday Night Fever, disco beats and roller disco vibes.
Grindcore combines the most devious parts of your musical nightmares, winning the nastiest of the nasty crown. Untuned guitars, screams instead of vocals, and a high-speed tempo all feature; and this subgenre of interest is not for the faint of heart.
Moving away from metal, Indie subgenre shoegaze (so called by critics due to the singer’s tendency to stare down at effects pedals on stage) is next. It’s pretty much the polar opposite, and combines ethereal vocals, dreamy, effects laden flanged guitars and atmospheric soundscapes in which you slowly swim.
Nerdcore is exactly like it sounds. Hip-hop, but with themes of interest that you might consider “nerdy”. Think songs about spaceships, literature and Dungeons and Dragons. It’s also delivered what we at Zimrii consider the single best rap about Edgar Allan Poe. High praise, indeed; Lenore.
Keeping again, with a visual theme is Steampunk. A sci-fi fantasy genre, set in a world that favours an alternate history, drawing on 19th century British Victorian era where steam power has had a continued use – Steampunk music addresses historical and political issues at the time, or just focuses on the power of good ol’ cogs and steam.
Taking this concept around the globe is Visual Kei. What cogs and steam are to Steampunk; frilly dresses, lace, and androgyny are to Visual Kei – and Japan. Visual Kei music is heavier than you’d expect, with catchy choruses that echo Western Glam-Rock gods.
Wizard rock bands are inspired by, you guessed it, their love of Harry Potter. It has a classic rock sound, paired with lyrics about the Harry Potterverse. Therefore, the band will often play in their house colours. So, before you see them, don’t forget to get your sorting hat on.
Can you guess where this is going? Chap hop is hip-hop, but for those with more refined tastes. Gone is the social commentary and heavy beats, replaced with violins, the tea duel, and a dance where you bob up and down. I say!
Ok, so, we reckon you’ve got the hang of concept bands now. Do you want to guess what Pirate metal is? No, not fool’s gold. Or, rum for that matter. Its people dressed like pirates with kick-ass guitars and wenches no doubt called Polly – because dramatic irony isn’t dead.
If you’re looking for the Orphic Hymn to Hermes, you won’t find it here. Unblack Metal musical subgenre seeks to subvert the cliche of devil-worshipping black metal by giving god the chance his own rock anthem. After all, you can’t believe in one without the other, right…?
Nostalgic for retrogaming? Ever wish you could live your life inside the tetris soundtrack? The musical subgenre Bitpop has you covered. The answer to your 8-bit earworms, Bitpop is made entirely on the chips of old 8-bit and 16-bit games consoles.
It’s storytime now: once, many moons ago, in 1986, the NME was the ultimate in music reporting. They thought it would be nice to release a cassette tape of new bands they loved, who were signed to independent record labels. The tape primarily featured bands with power-pop structures (that’s the bit that makes your heart leap) and jangly guitars; and a musical subgenre heralded by awkward boys with floppy hair was born.
Like C-86, Ectofolk evolved way back when mailing lists were still cool. This sound grew out of the long forgotten ‘Ecto’ mailing list. It’s ethereal, ghostly folk, the kind you’d not find out of place echoing through a dark cottage in the middle of the night when no one is home…
Solipsynthm is your best-friend’s-beau-who-went-travelling-on-his-gap-yah’s favourite type of music. It is truly the sound of the hipster elite, and uses a solo laptop on a voyage of lonesome electronica. It’s sparse, weird, and wonderful.
Along the same lines, then, is lowercase. This electro, single laptop genre focuses on giving volume to ambient, incidental sounds. The whurr of a fan, the clicks of the keyboard, and the sighs of your co-workers. It can bring you a great sense of focus in-the-moment, just give it a miss if you’re misophonic.
Taking the prize for the second most improbable subgenre of interest is Krishnacore. Punk music; but with Hare Krishna values. If you think that the anger of punk has no place with peace then you’re mistaken. Punk music has long had ties with social and political change, and Krishnacore paved the way to the mindfulness revolution we see everywhere today.
Zydeco was made for dancin’. It hails from Louisiana, and features a tempo quicker than a horse can gallop, accordion, and scrub or wash-board (to play). It was developed by Creole musicians so they would have music to dance to when they got together socially, and packs one hell of a blues punch.
Of course, we left the best for last. Burger-Highlife. Jazzy horns and an abundance of guitars from Ghana fuse with German disco and funk to create this truly unique style. Ghanaian immigrants to Germany in the late 70s and early 80s came up with it. They brought their musical styles to the culture of that decade in Deutschland. Lecker! Shame you can’t eat it. It’s lunchtime and we’re kind of hungry.
Got a favourite music subgenre of interest? Tell us what! Then why not join Zimrii, the innovative music platform that allows you total control of your music business. Using BlockChain technology to register your Copyright and lock-down your ownership, Zimrii uses Smart Contracts and integrated crowdfunding features to help you connect with your audience and earn direct to artist – cutting away the outdated middleman. It’s the twenty-first century music revolution!
Also published on Medium.