Top 10 Indie Tunes That Feature Handclaps

We’ve already given you the lowdown on the top indie songs that feature whistling so why not exercise our brains a little attempting to identify the best ones that include decent hand to hand action. As it turns out the handclap is much more commonplace in indie circles than its whistling bretheran, probably down to the fact that it can be such an effective percussion tool. So here is our Top 10 (well 12 really) in no particular order with an extended list of honourable mentions underneath. KD

Broken Social Scene – Stars And Sons

A merry band of revolving players that emerged at a time in the early part of the century when Canada was producing almost all the best new music. This one comes from Broken Social Scene’s brilliant ‘You Forgot It In People’ album and features the sort of rabid hand clapping you might expect of a buffalo where it to possess hands in the middle of the baking flea-bitten heat of summer.

More Info: Broken Social Scene

I’m From Barcelona – We’re From Barcelona

We do hope there’s actual clapping on this one but even if not merely hearing it only encourages us to clap along in unison such is its happy disposition. The numerous Swedes (that are patently not from Barcelona) that make up this band seem to have lost their way of late but for a while they were about to rob Polyphonic Spree of their best multi-membered-band-in-the-indie-world title.

More Info: I’m From Barcelona

The Cure – Close To Me

So obvious and a template for bands looking for a reason to go happy clappy. The Cure transcend the indie/mainstream divide but they are a band that never lost the zeal for inventiveness. ‘Close To Me’ appears on all of their greatest hits packages but we never tire of its elaborate tailored self.

More Info: The Cure

Belle & Sebastian – Women’s Realm

If any band was built for handclaps it is Glasgow’s Belle & Sebastian. They emerged slowly like a creeping tiger, with their folk ditties and witty lyrics, and checked out a few years later like the cat that stole all the cream.

More Info: Belle & Sebastian

The Arcade Fire – Rebellion (Lies)

By the time the handclaps kick in on ‘Rebellion (Lies)’ you are likely to be so in raptures you could already be engaged in a similar form of percussion. Taken from the Arcade Fire’s seminal debut album ‘Funeral’ this song proved to be the knockout, building as it did from a striking thud to an all out attack on your senses.

The Arcade Fire – Rebellion (Lies)

More Info: The Arcade Fire

Elastica – Connection

Elastica were subjected to famous boyfriends, NME adoration and calls of plagiarism when all they wanted to do was recreate the 3 minute single. To a large degree they succeeded, the pity was that it happened on so few occasions. But kudos and open palm gesticulation was deservedly theirs, especially towards the end of ‘Connection’.

More Info: Elastica

Sigur Rós – Gobbledigook

Given the video that’s in it most people’s attention will probably be averted to the other body parts of the body that aren’t relevant to the discussion in hand. ‘Gobbledigook’ was a real bolt from the blue from the normally more intense Icelanders but my how it impressed (like the majority of their back catalogue). This would probably only suit advanced handclappers, even more so if they intend to replicate the experience in a chilly forest while utterly under-clothed.

More Info: Sigur Rós

Beck – Where It’s At

Beck Hansen was always the coolest cat, despite his anthem to the contrary, but on 1996’s ‘Odelay’ he became a superstar. ‘Where It’s At’ was one of that album’s pillars and had some nuanced palm togetherness at its core.

More Info: Beck

The Magic Numbers – Forever Lost

They came, they conquered and they promptly disappeared but not without leaving us with a treasure chest of nuggets. ‘Forever Lost’ is probably the Ealing siblings most well known tune and if the swoonsome melodies weren’t enough they saw fit to spice things up with some mid-tempo applause of their own.

More Info: The Magic Numbers

The Afghan Whigs – Debonair

If we’re honest Greg Dulli and his band didn’t half scare the bejaysus out of us. Such was the sonic carnage that they wrecked it meant that cushions were at a premium once they fully charged. That said 1993’s ‘Gentlemen’ fitted neatly into that post grunge slipstream and spawned the epic that was ‘Debonair’ whereupon the Cincinnati group saw fit to slip in a little collective finger rhythms.

More Info: The Afghan Whigs

The Acid House Kings – Do What You Wanna Do

The most overtly happy clappy tune on our list and with good reason given that it is produced by a bunch of Swedish indie pop connoisseurs. The Acid House Kings look the part and play it so well it is quite unforgivable that their bouncy numbers haven’t become treasured items on ipods the world over. Consider this your gateway to their mansion built on sweet melodies alone. Applause necessary.

More Info: The Acid House Kings

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – Clap Your Hands!

It would be remiss, nay, bordering on embarrassing if Clap Your Hands Say Yeah didn’t appear on any list that mentioned indie handclaps. So we went back to the start where they announced their most basic of intentions on ‘Clap Your Hands’ from their self titled debut (which still ranks among this centuries best opening salvo’s). It’s far from their best song but as a way to kick things off it is wildly exciting.

More Info: Clap Your Hands Say Yeah

Honourable Mentions

Noah & The Whale – 5 Years Time ~ already on our whistling list ;)

Super Furry Animals – Receptacle For The Respectable

The Magnetic Fields – The Death of Ferdinand De Saussure

The Postal Service – Clark Gable

Weezer – The Other Way

They Might Be Giants – Clap Your Hands

The Beta Band – Broken Up A Ding Dong

Badly Drawn Boy – Four Leaf Clover

Feist – Mushaboom

The Go! Team – The Power Is On

Smog – Somewhere In The Night

The Shins – Kissing The Lipless

Gorillaz – Dirty Harry

Hey Marseilles – Rio

Written by:


  1. Dan H.
    November 19, 2012

    Check out Rio by Hey Marseilles. So good.

    • hugger
      November 19, 2012

      Yeah! Thanks for the tip, it’s a goodie so I’ve added to the bottom of the list.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *