Music Talk Discuss music in all its forms: CD, MP3, DVD-A, SACD and of course live

My thoughts on 'indie' music

Old 09-20-05, 08:58 AM
  #1  
DVD Talk Platinum Edition
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 3,071
My thoughts on 'indie' music

i hope it is and i mean this in a good way.

in the past few years (and thanks to high profile television series and film soundtracks), many "indie" bands have been making it into the mainstream. only a very select few have made it out of the one hit stage, but many have increased their audiences substantially.

i would go back a few years to see the start of this, with The Strokes Is This It? or better yet The White Stripes White Blood Cells. beginning in 2000 or so, rock began to be revived in the mainstream, the move away from Limp Bizkit and Britney knock-offs was in gear.

for example, Modest Mouse, an indie band with many albums to their credit, got significant airplay in 2003/2004 with "Float On" off of Good News for People who Like Bad News. bigger yet, Franz Ferdinand, who five years ago would've only found a niche market, has broken into the mainstream in a big way. their second album will be out soon and it's already making waves.

i'm listening to Interpol right now, another band who, in another lifetime, would've been relegated to small audiences but who have seen their audience grow in part because of The O.C., amongst other things.

the 4 volumes of soundtracks thus far released for The O.C. all feature bands that would have, at one time, been considered obscure (by mainstream audiences) but who are making their names known. the most recent one has a song by Sufjan Stevens, this years biggest gainer in my opinion.

do i even need to mention Garden State? i suppose i should. especially since in the dialogue in the film it highlighted a band many people had only recently learned off, if they weren't hearing them for the first time: The Shins. the soundtrack to the film made waves (i.e. racked up sales, was downloaded a lot, etc.), so it's understandable that many people now have heard The Shins a few times over.

anyway, i hope this trend continues where real rock music is increasingly heard by more people instead of the mass market crap that many of the major labels try to force feed the public. is this a return to innovative mainstream rock? this is not meant to chastize those mainstream bands that have been around for years (like U2 or the Rolling Stones) as they are also still making relevant albums. it's more of a blow to the trends that exceeded their appeal really quickly - most notably the Limp Bizkit/Linkin Park/Korn rap-rock hybrid trend which grew stale very quickly (in my opinion, of course).

if you look to history there's precedent, as well, i would say. for example, The Doors were comparatively "indie" to the music of the day. their music was niche, but enough people caught on so as to make them bigger than they otherwise would've been. then again, a lot of the music happening at that time was different from the other music around it. much was yet to be done or explored and music hadn't become as much of a commodity as it is today.

lastly, i would just like to list some of the bands that i feel have found greater exposure thanks to this trend (and thank goodness for it): Interpol, Modest Mouse, Sufjan Stevens, Death Cab for Cutie, Franz Ferdinand, The Rapture, The Shins, Belle & Sebastian, Pedro the Lion, Kings of Convenience, Snow Patrol, The Postal Service, The Arcade Fire, The Fiery Furnaces, Rilo Kiley... I'll stop here because this list could go on forever.

anyway, i think "indie" has become the new "mainstream". i'm just happy that today's children will grow up hearing (not necessarily listening to) and being more exposed to "indie" music.

admittedly, popular radio is still dominated by hip-hop and related genres, but rock radio can again play artists other than classic artists (U2, Led Zep, etc).

and there are still bands that will have trouble finding a larger audiences, possibly purposely so, because their music is too eclectic for the average individual - even though i listed Fiery Furnaces above, they are the first that jump to mind. their new album apparently carries them further away from the new mainstream ('indie').

maybe it's time to redefine the meaning of 'indie', since many artists formerly considered 'indie' really don't belong there.


i don't know if i actually made any sort of argument there. i just wanted to post my thoughts on "indie", which are still muddled and probably confusing anyway...
DrRingDing is offline  
Old 09-20-05, 09:35 AM
  #2  
Moderator
 
wendersfan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Nuova Repubblica di Sal
Posts: 32,884
Everything old becomes new again. Substitute Nirvana for The Strokes or The White Stripes, and Poison or Motley Cre for Limp Biskit, and you've accurately described the music scene a dozen years ago. In roughly 10-15 year cycles 'rock' music reinvents itself when a band comes along that cuts through the bullshit and brings the music back to its simplistic roots (The Rolling Stones, The Ramones, etc.), after the prevailing style becomes too ornate and mannered. It happened in the mid-60's, the late 70's, and the early 90's.
wendersfan is offline  
Old 09-20-05, 09:59 AM
  #3  
DVD Talk Platinum Edition
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 3,071
i would agree to an extent. a few of the artists this time around are new to the game, true. but some of the ones breaking through have been around for a long time - belle & sebastian, modest mouse, etc. the swing this time seems to be partially about going for already established bands. even Interpol, while not old by any means, had a well-regarded but little recognized album out for awhile before the 'mainstream' took hold.

i guess, looking back at the early 90's, the trend just feels different this time around. i suppose, overall, you're correct however. we've seen this trend before. maybe it's that, wherein normally the trend that's being replaced has extravagent production, it seems like many of the new bands also have extravagent production, it's just more melodic and less aggressive than the early 90's.
DrRingDing is offline  
Old 09-20-05, 12:51 PM
  #4  
DVD Talk Hall of Fame
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: San Diego, CA
Posts: 7,533
If you are on a major label (like the Strokes), you are NOT an indie band!

Superchunk and Fugazi are indie bands. The Strokes are not. The White Stripes are not (anymore) either.
nodeerforamonth is offline  
Old 09-20-05, 01:48 PM
  #5  
Moderator
 
Giles's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Washington DC
Posts: 33,495
Being a XM satellite subscriber - I'd have to say if I was stuck with Washington DC radio, I'd pretty much be in the dark on current 'indie' music. The demise of WHFS and specifically 'Now Hear This' broadcast really came as a blow to the DC indie music scene fanbase. The lack of venues or booker's unwillingly to add DC as a stop for exposure also undermines the cities laclustre and declining music scene. Philly's music scene is far more superior and varied to DC's in my opinion.

recent (and upcoming) tours that bypasses the DC/Baltimore area:
- Maximo Park
- Franz Ferdinand (unexcusable in my opinion)
- The Go! Team
- Towers of London
- The Sights
- Athlete
- Four Tet
- Royksopp

(what's a music fan supposed to do )

Last edited by Giles; 09-20-05 at 03:14 PM.
Giles is offline  
Old 09-20-05, 02:24 PM
  #6  
DVD Talk Platinum Edition
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: NJ
Posts: 3,337
Which is a shame since DC had such a great scene only a decade or so ago. Some great bands came from there. Shudder to Think, Jawbox, Girls Against Boys, Burning Airlines and before that bands like Rites of Spring, etc.
fnordboy is offline  
Old 09-20-05, 03:13 PM
  #7  
Moderator
 
Giles's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Washington DC
Posts: 33,495
Originally Posted by fnordboy
Which is a shame since DC had such a great scene only a decade or so ago. Some great bands came from there. Shudder to Think, Jawbox, Girls Against Boys, Burning Airlines and before that bands like Rites of Spring, etc.
I recently saw a fascinating docu called 9:30 F Street and not only is it an illuminating documentary on and about the music (the punk scene) and the club. It ultimately became painfully obvious and depressing that nowadays the venues and the music (specifically the DC music market) are in a major slump, or are unwillingly to take the chances on newer groups. The Black Cat and the 9:30 are the only two major venues that book and overrall decide on who to book - and if it aint good enought - oh well. Even in the mid 90's DC had some venues that took chances on smaller indie US and UK bands: The Metro Club (I saw a blistering set from Muse at this club - very very memorable), The Bayou, the 15 Minute Club, now all closed. Nowadays, to see underground or local bands the support and availability to see them here in the DC area is rather slim: the Warehouse, DC9 (in DC) and Iota, Galaxy Hut in Arlington VA.

Nation is a joke and has never lived up to it's potential as a venue - it's cash comes from it's club nights: Cubik's on Friday's and Velvet Nation (gay night) on Saturday.

Last edited by Giles; 09-20-05 at 03:27 PM.
Giles is offline  
Old 09-20-05, 10:28 PM
  #8  
DVD Talk Special Edition
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Connecticut
Posts: 1,029
Originally Posted by DrRingDing
Interpol, Modest Mouse, Sufjan Stevens, Death Cab for Cutie, Franz Ferdinand, The Rapture, The Shins, Belle & Sebastian, Pedro the Lion, Kings of Convenience, Snow Patrol, The Postal Service, The Arcade Fire, The Fiery Furnaces, Rilo Kiley
You know I've just started listening to many of the bands you mentioned in the past couple of years and its like they've filled a hole that I didn't know was there before. Any other recommendations?
Mano is offline  
Old 09-21-05, 04:22 AM
  #9  
DVD Talk Platinum Edition
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 3,071
i don't think being 'indie' is defined as not being on a major label. yes, the title 'indie' is a direct reference to that, but i think it's also a misnomer. it's possible to be quoteunquote indie and be on a major. i think radiohead is a great example of this. their music is their own, not confused and convoluted by what the label thinks. they do what they want and their music serves a niche market - they gained a big following after OK Computer but they frightened many of their new fans off with their "over-produced" or "too electronic" Kid A...

plus, i know Rilo Kiley just signed with a major as have many others who have been recently exposed to the mainstream.

mano365 - other bands? despite posting about this yesterday, the ones i'm really in love with were mostly in that list... however, you can always try:
Muse
Athlete
The Betaband
Bowery Electric
The Coral
Discount
Pinback
Flogging Molly (celtic punk, excellent)
Jets to Brazil (very eclectic)
Kimone
The Libertines
Madvillain
My Morning Jacket
Need New Body (again, quite eclectic)
Peaches
The Polyphonic Spree
Poor Rich Ones (i like them quite a bit)
Q and Not U
Radio 4 (very dance rock a la Franz Ferdinand)
Damien Rice
Slumber Party
The Thrills
Ugly Casanova (an offshoot of Modest Mouse)
The Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Mason Jennings
(International) Noise Conspiracy
The Mars Volta
The Magnetic Fields (EXCELLENT "GROUP")
Sigur Ros
Spoon
Superchunk
The Walkmen (very similar to early U2, IMO)
Wilco
Elliott Smith
Godspeed You Black Emperor!
Iron & Wine (very mellow but very cool)
Pretty Girls Make Graves
!!! (pronounced Tchk-tchk-tchk, dance rock)

going back a bit:
Belly/Tanya Donelly
Poster Children
Fugazi
Sonic Youth
Pavement
Mazzy Star
Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds (not really ever 'indie' in the most literal sense, but i only recently discovered him after having heard his name for years)
Gang of Four (the originators of dance rock a la Franz Ferdinand, check out Entertainment!)
New York Dolls (early punks, well known but another group i only recently started actually listening to)
early R.E.M. (ca. Murmur and Reckoning) and early Blur (ca. Leisure and Modern Life Is Rubbish)
The Cure
The Breeders
G. Love and Special Sauce
Liz Phair
Throwing Muses
Matthew Sweet
The Sundays

some of those are major label artists, but who, i believe, maintained an 'indie' spirit. again, the list could go on much longer.

other recommendations:
take a peak every now and then at what's happening in England. artists like The Bravery and Bloc Party have broken out there recently and i think they command a decent level of 'indie' cred as well. they aren't 'indie' by the strict definition, but their music is certainly good. also, i find that the magazines (both from the UK) Q and NME do a good job of reviewing albums.

and, as was suggested by another member in a different thread, try out Pandora and use some of your favorite new artists to set a "radio station".

hope this helps!
-di doctor-
DrRingDing is offline  
Old 09-21-05, 01:13 PM
  #10  
DVD Talk Hall of Fame
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: San Diego, CA
Posts: 7,533
Originally Posted by DrRingDing
i don't think being 'indie' is defined as not being on a major label. yes, the title 'indie' is a direct reference to that, but i think it's also a misnomer. it's possible to be quoteunquote indie and be on a major. i think radiohead is a great example of this. their music is their own, not confused and convoluted by what the label thinks.
No! "Indie" means Independent. Means you put out your albums on an independent label (i.e. one not part of the major 5 music conglomerates).

Once you sign to a major label (and there's NOTHING wrong with that, though it may be a bad decision for many bands), you lose "indie" status.

Many bands on major labels (like Radiohead) have their music be "their own". So was Nirvana. And Metallica. And Slayer. But none of those bands are really indie (though Nirvana did put out quite a few releases on indie labels though after signing to Geffen). Metallica is far from "indie". Slayer too.
nodeerforamonth is offline  
Old 09-21-05, 02:00 PM
  #11  
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 112
Indie has come to describe a particular genre of music. It no longer has the same meaning as it once did about what type of label a band was on. As labels have learned not to meddle as much with indie bands and let them have creative freedom to keep from destroying the bands fanbase the fact of whether or not a band is on a truly independent label has become less and less important.
Absolut is offline  
Old 09-21-05, 02:09 PM
  #12  
DVD Talk Special Edition
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: The Sky Above PA
Posts: 1,205
Indie--to a large extent these days--is also applied to 'smaller' more 'artistic' type bands signed to larger labels that coexist between critical applause and some commerical appeal...I'd say a band like the Afghan Whigs back in the 90's signed to big labels like Elecktra or Columbia, bands that are left alone to a certain extent and allowed their 'artistic independence' in the corporate structure. (basically gives the illusion that label is also about making 'art' than money to other bands/media)

Then, its second and truest form is really what others said, a band that is unsigned or signed to a independent label--no affilifiation with majors or their distributation systems--and tour, self-promote, sell their cd's and merchandise from their cellars and apartments. (Look at 'Clap your hands and Say Yeah...25,000 on their own)

Of course the term 'Indy' these days also has a more pretentious, terminally myopic aura about it thanks to aspiring arbitors of taste like Pitchfork...These are magazines and hipsters in a strangely incestuous crowd that only deems esoteric bands and sounds as cool and relevant and upon the day these bands sign to a major, this crowd immediately disavows all devotion for that band...Its cool to be seen wearing that bands t-shirt in some Williamsburg New York bar than its to truly appreciate the bands work.

For the most part, the above crowd in Holden Caulfield's words are 'phonies.'

Last edited by lostatmidnight; 09-21-05 at 02:28 PM.
lostatmidnight is offline  
Old 09-22-05, 08:21 AM
  #13  
DVD Talk Platinum Edition
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 3,071
Originally Posted by nodeerforamonth
No! "Indie" means Independent. Means you put out your albums on an independent label (i.e. one not part of the major 5 music conglomerates).

Once you sign to a major label (and there's NOTHING wrong with that, though it may be a bad decision for many bands), you lose "indie" status.

Many bands on major labels (like Radiohead) have their music be "their own". So was Nirvana. And Metallica. And Slayer. But none of those bands are really indie (though Nirvana did put out quite a few releases on indie labels though after signing to Geffen). Metallica is far from "indie". Slayer too.
i think maybe you missed my point. i acknowledged that the term 'indie' comes from 'independent', as in an independent label, but i also think the term has been redefined (or reappropriated) now. it is much more than being on an independent label. it's more about following your artistic muse and less about which type of label you belong to.

the music also tends to be smaller. not as bombastic, stadium-sized as metallica or slayer or U2 or any of those other stadium-filling bands. nothing against those bands, as i do love them as well, but i just admire this trend where formerly (and literally) 'indie' bands make it big. they aren't losing their edge, so i feel they are bringing the term 'indie' with them to the big labels. it's a genre of music now, IMO, and it no longer defines what type of label a group belongs to.
DrRingDing is offline  
Old 09-23-05, 06:34 PM
  #14  
DVD Talk Platinum Edition
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: NYC
Posts: 3,192
No indie band recommendation thread is complete unless it includes Ted Leo and The Wrens.
illennium is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

Copyright 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.