2012 Indie Rock Songs for Running

Published on April 27th, 2012

Here’s a fresh batch of songs to run to for 2012 so far. These songs were all released this year and have been Lady Southpaw tested and approved. They’re not all a perfect 90 or 180 bpm, but they’re close enough that you’ll be able to maintain a smooth stride with a quick turnover.

2012 Running Playlist

I’m using Grooveshark for the first time because of their handy dandy playlist widget, so you can give the songs a quick listen right on the blog. The widget features the songs in the order that I was running to them. At the bottom of the page you can see all the songs I tested listed by artist.


The Highlights:

Song: We Are Young – by Fun.
Run Type: Warm-up

This song is like candy to me and I can’t get enough of it. In fact I would recommend this baroque pop band’s entire sophomore album, Some Nights. It’s full of memorable songs that tread that fine line between plush pop and indie rock. “We Are Young,” is good as the first song in a playlist because the intro isn’t quite up to the right tempo so it’s good for when you are still getting yourself sorted out at the beginning of a run.

D.O.A. – by Sleigh Bells
Run Type: Treadmill

I first came across Sleigh Bells last year during Bonnaroo. They were one of the first acts and it was so packed with bodies we could barely get close enough to hear anything. It was electric. So I was really excited to see they released a new album this year, Reign of Terror. Sadly, it was a struggle to find a good running song on the album despite that at a listen it sounds like it would be perfect. “D.O.A.” is a song that was made for the treadmill, it practically sounds like it was recorded on a treadmill as you run to it. The bpm is a little slow at about 170 bpm but otherwise it’s so good I had to include it anyway.

Hit Me Down Sonny – by The Ting Tings
Run Type: Speed, Tempo, anytime you want to feel good!

This song is full of the right kind of spunky attitude that makes it perfect for running.The Ting Tings new album, Sounds From Nowheresville, is full of great songs, but this was the only one I found that was truly run-worthy. It more than makes up for the rest with it’s peppy “speedy gonzales” inspired lyrics.

Fall of ’82 – by The Shins
Run Type: Long Run

This song from recent release Port of Morrow is not as high energy as the last couple but for the Shins you can almost consider it peppy or at least optimistic in their uniquely melancholy way. It was enjoyable on long runs when you’re just cruising.

Don’t Get Married Without Me – by The Punch Brothers
Run Type: Long run, fun run

The album Who’s Feeling Young Now? was such a delightful discovery for me. There are so many great songs on this album including an amazing cover of Radiohead’s, “Kid A.” I usually like to run to electric guitars and beats, but their brand of “progressive blue grass” was fast moving enough that it worked pretty well. The tempo is a little loose compared to some of the other tracks on this playlist so it’s better for long runs or fun runs when you’re not too concerned about pacing. That said, it’s definitely enjoyable and the tempo never drops enough to leave you hanging.

Dislexicon & Zed and Two Naughts – by the Mars Volta
Run Type: Long Run

If you’re unfamiliar with the Mars Volta they may take some getting used to. Their new album Noctourniquet is typical of their insane, zany, cacophany of sound that somehow starts to makes sense the more you listen to it. My advice would be don’t analyze it to deeply just start running and you’ll probably find something to hold onto. They will definitely add some variety to your long runs.

Diet Mountain Dew – by Lana Del Rey
Song Type: Tempo, speed

This songstress has been stirring controversy since she hit the scene. Unfortunately it has to more to do with her image than her actual music. I don’t love the album Born To Die the way I do some of the others on this list. I would probably like it better if it had more guitars. The songs by themselves have a pretty slick feel to them which I like. This was the only song at 90 bpm and I really enjoyed running to it. Still, when you listen to the songs back to back they start to blend together. She has a really cool sound but not a ton of range.

Say Anything – by Say Anything
Run Type: Hills, Speed

I’ve been loving these guys since 2006’s “…Is A Real Boy.” Their new self titled album is dripping with the cartoonish heartfelt angst that I love about them. This song in particular has enough speed to get you over hill for sure.

The Men

This band was a totally new find for me. As I was going through their new album Open Your Heart, I was struck by how many of the songs seemed made for running. I sense an entire playlist/post inspired by them coming soon…

Please let me know if you’ve heard anything new that’s good for running!

Title Time Artist Album BPM
Nosebleed 4:22 Ceremony Zoo 180
Idaho 3:25 Delta Spirit Delta Spirit 180
Know Me 2:52 Frankie Rose Interstellar 92
We Are Young 4:10 fun. Some Nights 92
Please Be My Third Eye 2:26 La Sera Sees the Light 180
Diet Mountain Dew 3:42 Lana Del Rey Born To Die 88
Don’t Get Married Without Me 4:11 Punch Brothers Who’s Feeling Young Now? 88
D.O.A. 2:57 Sleigh Bells Reign of Terror 170
My Better Self 3:44 Tennis Young & Old 175
Dyslexicon 4:22 The Mars Volta Noctourniquet 180
Zed and Two Naughts 5:36 The Mars Volta Noctourniquet 180
Turn It Around 3:55 The Men Open Your Heart 182
Cube 2:25 The Men Open Your Heart 190
Ex-Dreams 5:30 The Men Open Your Heart 182
Please Don’t Go Away 3:40 The Men Open Your Heart 180
Open Your Heart 3:00 The Men Open Your Heart 178
Fall of ’82 3:48 The Shins Port of Morrow 96
Hit Me Down Sonny 2:51 The Ting Tings Sounds From Nowheresville Master 92
Say Anything 3:01 Say Anything Say Anything 195
My¬† Europa 1:48 Guided By Voices Let’s Go Eat The Factory 180


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