We tend to think of indie rock as a young person’s game, with each new, trendy subgenre attracting a younger set of crush-worthy wunderkinds. But as the underground continues to age and its icons keep on rocking, it sometimes hits us (as it did watching The Flaming Lips perform last night) that some of our childhood crushes are looking better now than ever. With that in mind, after the jump, we celebrate the sexiest indie rockers of both genres over 40. Add your obvious obsessions and guilty pleasures alike in the comments.
Wayne Coyne, 49 The Flaming Lips frontman is that rare type who actually gets more attractive as he ages (and it just about goes without saying that he’s still making great music, too). Need proof? Check out the adorable but not yet full-on dreamy Coyne in the video for their 1993 alterna-rock hit “She Don’t Use Jelly.” Now watch him bare the full monty in last year’s clip for “Watching the Planets.”
Kim Deal, 49 When someone has written a song called “Cool as Kim Deal” about you (oh, and if you happen to be the bassist of one of the most important indie bands of all time, Pixies), you know you’re hot. These days, she’s chopped the long tresses that defined her early-’90s style, and we love the way the short hair brings out her intense eyes.
Jarvis Cocker, 46 If there is such a thing as sexy male librarian chic, Jarvis Cocker is its poster boy. The former Pulp frontman (currently a very Pulp-like solo act) has always had a gawkily handsome look, and he makes love to a mic (not to mention holds crowds in the palm of his bony hand) like no other. And he’s even got a good sense of humor about getting up there in years. In “Leftovers,” a track from his most recent album, Further Complications, Cocker sings, “If you wish to dinosaurs/ I know a specimen whose interest is undoubted.”
Kim Gordon, 57 No, your eyes aren’t failing you. Kim Gordon, Sonic Youth’s model-gorgeous leading lady, really is 57 years old. We don’t know what her secret is, though we’re fairly sure that no Botox or surgery is involved… and that if you could bottle it, you’d be rich in an instant. Thurston Moore, you are a lucky, lucky man.
Bill Callahan, 44 Like Wayne Coyne, Bill Callahan (formerly known as Smog) is a musician who aged into his ruggedly handsome looks. In the ’90s, we knew him for his lo-fi compositions and baby-cowboy face. But there’s something about the way he looks post-40 (sometimes long-haired and stubbly, other times clean-shaven) that matches his timeless, rural music perfectly.
Polly Jean Harvey, 40 It’s been nearly 20 years since we first heard Harvey’s throaty whispers and shrieks. Since the mid-’90s, she’s reinvented herself many times, losing a bit of her rough-edged anger but not a touch of her power in the process. And, as long as you go for the mysterious, sullen, dark-haired type (and really, who doesn’t?), Ms. Harvey is looking just as hot as ever.
Beck, 40 Another ’90s alternative veteran, Beck has recently renewed his indie cred by collaborating on an album with Charlotte Gainsbourg (who, by the way, only missed this list by a year), launching his cover-happy Record Club, and writing an epic response single to a silly rant by Fiery Furnaces’ Matthew Friedberger. Thankfully, the long-haired pop whiz is just as spritely (and sometimes pleasantly scruffy) as ever. Those Nordic types just never seem to age…
Kathleen Hanna, 41 We hope a woman who’s spent much of her career demanding that dudes stop staring at women’s chests and start listening to our words isn’t offended by her appearance on this list. From Bikini Kill to Julie Ruin to Le Tigre, she’s evangelized feminism to teenage girls everywhere. And while that remains her chief accomplishment, we’d be remiss not to shout out her beauty and style, too. Lady, we love the glasses.
Yamataka Eye, 46 Count on Boredoms’ Eye to keep independent music weird. The band traces its roots back to the mid-’80s, but Eye and his myriad solo and side projects remain an avant-garde staple, plotting memorable events like 77 Boadrum (and its sequels, 88 Boadrum and Boadrum 9). And although we’re well aware that Eye may be an acquired taste, if enjoying his Japanese Rasta look is wrong, we don’t want to be right.
Hope Sandoval, 44 Mazzy Star is classic make-out music, and frontwoman Hope Sandoval is just as beautiful as her honeyed voice. Now that the band is defunct, you can check out her current combo, Hope Sandoval and the Warm Inventions.