Niche genres of internet music

The vast, infinitely dizzying web of music history is confusing, to say the least.

Over time, music has fragmented across the globe in a vast puzzle that constantly re-configures itself to fuse modern and old styles into new genres, which appear faster then they can be cataloged.

So, if you can’t separate your -wave’s and your -core’s from your post-’s and neo-’s, fear not. Here is a list of some of today’s most prominent niche genres.



Listening to vaporwave is what I would imagine it would be like to drink a gallon of Nyquil and then spend the next 24 hours aimlessly wandering around the most generic shopping mall imaginable.

Vaporwave is defined by manipulating, chopping up, and synthesizing the background music that populates dentist’s offices, shopping malls, and elevators everywhere. Smooth jazz and contemporary R&B tracks are slowed down and looped to create an ambient atmosphere.

Notable artists: Macintosh Plus, Virtual and Internet Club.



In 1983, the anti-folk movement started in Greenwich Village as a protest by songwriter Lach, whose music was deemed too punk for typical folk venues.

From there, artists with similar styles banded together to organize the annual New York Anti-folk Festival, which keeps the movement alive and centralized.

Stylistically, the sound of anti-folk is near impossible to pin down aside from acoustic instrumentation, lyrics dripping with sarcasm, and a strict adherence to punk ethics.

Notable artists: The Moldy Peaches, early Kate Nash and Nana Grizol


Ambient Death Metal

While ambient death metal seems like an oxymoron, it is actually a widely respected genre with vibrant scenes in New York City, Norway and Tokyo.

The genre strips away any semblance of death metal’s typical light-speed rhythms and favors long, wordless pieces which sound like radio static mixed with the roars of a freight train.

Notable artists: Burzum, Merzbow and Sunn O)))


New Weird America

To understand new weird America, it’s best to know what old weird America was. The term was first used to describe the pre-World War II forefathers of traditional folk and blues who made the success of songwriters like Bob Dylan possible.

New Weird America’s followers delve into the same stylistic roots but distort and re-imagine them in different ways. There is typically a strong psychedelic influence running through their sound and an overall strangeness that varies between artists.

Notable artists: Akron/Family, Animal Collective and Devendra Banhart



Japanese music, like Japanese game shows, loves pushing stylistic boundaries to their breaking point. The eclectic family of the Japanoise movement thrive off of complete musical freedom and the spontaneity of improvisation.

Japanoise artists can vary from rock to electronic instrumentation, but they all indulge in a love of harsh, grating noise used to infuse visceral intensity into their music.

Notable artists: Boredoms, Boris and Acid Mothers Temple


Witch House

No, musicians haven’t started attaching guitar strings to broomsticks and hiring black cats as their lead singers (though that would be awesome).

Witch House combines the dreamlike reverb of artists like My Bloody Valentine and Cocteau Twins with the dance heavy back beats of hip hop and house music. They also rely on the distortion of chopped up vocals that create a surreal, ghoulish atmosphere. It’s the perfect soundtrack to your next community seance.

Notable artists: Purity Ring, Grimes and Zola Jesus