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Poseurs 101
October 3, 2003 1:45 PM   Subscribe

How to Fake Being an Indie Rock Expert. The best advice I've seen all day -- "Start somewhere safe: Sonic Youth."
posted by serafinapekkala (70 comments total)

 
The only point I disagree with is the "don't make up fake bands" bit -- that is the best part of being a (fake) indie rock expert. now if you'll excure me, I'm off to listen to God Speed You! Black Emperor on my iPod...
posted by serafinapekkala at 1:48 PM on October 3, 2003


Three words: Yo La Tengo. If you cannot drop this name in any conversation about indie bands, you are clearly out of your depth. Guided By Voices might work as well, though in order to cite them, you'll have to proclaim loudly, that Do the Collapse was an aberration.
posted by psmealey at 1:59 PM on October 3, 2003


he forget to mention trucker hats. if you are not recycling this fad from 1992 you are definitely not indie.
posted by badstone at 2:02 PM on October 3, 2003


Record stores? Pfft. All the real indie rock experts have eMusic subscriptions. Note that iTunes and BuyMusic are not acceptable.
posted by punishinglemur at 2:05 PM on October 3, 2003


I am a music *snob*
posted by psychotic_venom at 2:09 PM on October 3, 2003


badstone - im afraid to break it to you that trucker hats have already become targets of derision by the indie set. :)
posted by atom128 at 2:09 PM on October 3, 2003


Oh me. As a lad I was supremely good at this. Pere Ubu. Rocket from the Tombs. Nowadays I keep a copy of Metal Machine Music around specifically to drive indy music experts out of the room. (Also to put an end to parties that have worn out their welcome, MMM being able to empty any room of humans in under a minute.)
posted by jfuller at 2:22 PM on October 3, 2003


Someone needs to write a whole other article on how to fake being a British Indie Rock Expert.. for example, you'll need a whole section on Welsh bands.. noting that the Manic Street Preachers stopped being interesting the moment Richie carved his arm open for an NME journalist.. and so on.
posted by ascullion at 2:23 PM on October 3, 2003


The Clash was the 'yes' to the Sex Pistols 'no.'

I can't remember where I heard that, but it struck me as the most indie-rocker wannabe rock critic statement I've ever heard. That said, I'm sick of "indie-rockers." I like the music, but the fans drive me nuts. It's another (yet another) one of these 'lets all look the same since we are all so different' kind of psuedo-movements. Thick clunky nerd classes aren't ironic. Flood pants are not cool. Trucker hats reflect a peculiar form of fashion victimhood. Clunky, non-functional footwear are not just ugly, but non-functioning, which, in regards to footwear, is a fucking sin. Then, to top off the whole urban clown suit, these children have to act apathetic, ironic, pretentious and choked in their own ennui.

Yes, I'm getting old.
posted by elwoodwiles at 2:24 PM on October 3, 2003


were, The Clash WERE the...
posted by elwoodwiles at 2:25 PM on October 3, 2003


jfuller-- I keep SPK's Information Overload Unit on hand to bring a party to a close.
posted by spartacusroosevelt at 2:30 PM on October 3, 2003


For the record, I liked Do The Collapse. yeah, I said it. what.
posted by sodalinda at 2:30 PM on October 3, 2003


...or you could be even more hip and indie and admit you LIKED do the collapse and that you 'got' what they were trying to do. i have a strumpet eye, yep.
posted by ifjuly at 2:35 PM on October 3, 2003


The first rule of indie rock: don't talk about indie rock.
posted by soundofsuburbia at 2:41 PM on October 3, 2003


I've been listening to a lot of Van Halen lately.

That David Lee Roth guy could really play guitar.
posted by attackthetaxi at 3:02 PM on October 3, 2003


It seems that the people with the most need to mock others are those who really wish they were a member of the target group.
Take a good look at yourself, could someone not write a whole article about how stupid it is to be you,
no matter who you are. Why would you want to fake (or pretend to fake) being something that you think
is stupid or worthy or ridicule. Life is too short for that crap.
posted by milovoo at 3:03 PM on October 3, 2003


atom128 -
dang, now i have one less easy way to hate indie kids. does that mean they're prepared to forge ahead and bring us into a futurified recursion loop?
posted by badstone at 3:06 PM on October 3, 2003


Spoon has 4 LPs now. old
posted by donth at 3:10 PM on October 3, 2003


milovoo - get a grip. making fun of pretentious people is like, page 1 in the Manual of Standard Comedy.
posted by badstone at 3:11 PM on October 3, 2003


This is all Weezers fault, dammit.
posted by elwoodwiles at 3:21 PM on October 3, 2003


David Cassidy is really cool.
posted by eddydamascene at 3:24 PM on October 3, 2003


in other news, has anyone else noticed that spikey haired asian kid on like a million different ads?
posted by mcsweetie at 3:27 PM on October 3, 2003


stock photos are DEFINITELY not indie-approved
posted by badzen at 3:41 PM on October 3, 2003


metal machine music is beautiful!

cum on feel the the noize.
posted by Satapher at 3:47 PM on October 3, 2003


I've always used my "Best of Red Sovine" CD that I got for $1 to clear the room. The only people left are the only ones worth having around.
posted by 2sheets at 3:56 PM on October 3, 2003


I just don't get it (although, fair enough, there are plenty of things I don't get)
but my other question is when was this written?

Is there anyone out there who even gives a damn about indie rock anymore?
A lot of the stuff they reference is out-of-print in the reissue, not because of obscurity,
just indifference, and a lot of these people are married with kids now or dead.

The real version so you want to be indie rock expert:
"so, what do you listen to these days?"
"I dunno, whatever's on"
"yea, cool"
posted by milovoo at 4:20 PM on October 3, 2003


my "get people outta the room" record is, and always has been the Birthday Party's Mutiny. a heroin-addled Nick Cave screaming and ranting about an old-testament god and rats and suicide seems to do the trick REAL well.
posted by sunexplodes at 4:22 PM on October 3, 2003


Anyone that would walk on a Red Sovine record doesn't deserve to live. "Big Joe & Phantom 309" - timeless.

Well, Joe lost control, went into a skid
And gave his life to save that bunch-a kids
And there at that crossroads, was the end of the line
For Big Joe and phantom 309

But, every now and then, some hiker'll come by
And like you, Big Joe'll give 'em a ride
Here, have another cup and forget about the dime
Keep it as a souvenir, from Big Joe and Phantom 309.

posted by groundhog at 4:28 PM on October 3, 2003


I tried using Diamonda Galas to end the party, but it scared my pets and alienated the neighbors. I do, however, adore her version of 'The Thrill is Gone.'

milovoo: Indie-rock is alive and well in the great pacific northwest. The bands everyone talks about are twenty years old, but the music is still carrying on. There are some really great bands and labels still active as well, as I said, the music itself is not the problem.

I suppose I'm an indie geek myself, except I don't know nearly as much about music as friends of mine do. I've seen conversations almost come to blows over which David Bowie album is the best. I've never particularly like talking about music myself though. One major pet-peeve of mine are those indie boys who won't shut up about Radiohead. I like Radiohead, but I've yet to buy the new album. Indie-poseur-psuedo-rock-critic-geeks just ruined it for me by talking about it over and over and over. It seems like every party and every hip bar has 'that Radiohead guy.'
posted by elwoodwiles at 4:33 PM on October 3, 2003


MMM being able to empty any room of humans in under a minute.

Unless it's a room full of Wire readers.
posted by inpHilltr8r at 4:36 PM on October 3, 2003


I'd just like to ask:
Why the fuck do anyone like Yo La Tengo? Sweet christ, if I desired to spend on money on them, that would be my "clear the room" record.
posted by kavasa at 5:00 PM on October 3, 2003


One major pet-peeve of mine are those indie boys[girls] who won't shut up about Radiohead. I like Radiohead, but I've yet to buy the new album. Indie-poseur-psuedo-rock-critic-geeks just ruined it for me by talking about it over and over and over. It seems like every party and every hip bar has 'that Radiohead guy[gal].'.

*slinks away, embarrassed*
posted by jokeefe at 5:12 PM on October 3, 2003


Oh, but I'm all excited about the new single coming out soon, and the tour going so well, and--*sounds of struggle, then an ominous silence*
posted by jokeefe at 5:13 PM on October 3, 2003


Kavasa: See, you already getting the hang of it! Just call them derivative of VU or accuse them of ripping off Modern Lovers, reference an obscure concert tour and then assert your love for The kills. You'll have indie-girls falling at your clunky shoed feet!

on preview: jokeefe, no hard feelings, we can talk about Iron and Wine or Dirty 3 if you'd like.
posted by elwoodwiles at 5:14 PM on October 3, 2003


Gosh, I've been wearing my official Grandaddy trucker hat for two weeks now, and I had no idea it was such a fashion statement, or that it aroused such derision. And I don't reallly care. I just thought it was a cool hat. (I happen to be 'that Grandaddy guy' everywhere I go, and I wear it proudly.)
posted by troybob at 5:27 PM on October 3, 2003


in other news, has anyone else noticed that spikey haired asian kid on like a million different ads?

You mean George Chen "the internet guy"?
posted by soren at 5:32 PM on October 3, 2003


Man, this brings back so many memories--I remember this was required reading at the campus magazine I used to work for a few years back. Well, not required, but highly suggested. And everyone started behaving according to it.

Nowadays kids don't even know who Guided By Voices is. (And if you're part of the grammar police, that sentence stands as 100% correct.)
posted by thecaddy at 5:36 PM on October 3, 2003


Oh dear, I was just poking around my cd collection and realized: I am what I hate.
*slinks away, embarrassed*

On preview: I ♥ GBV!
posted by elwoodwiles at 5:40 PM on October 3, 2003


The number one rule of being an indie rocker is to act distainful of anythign anyone else has heard (especially if they like it). Thus, it is not acceptable to like anything popular - thus the inde scene spirals hopelessly forward, with bands coming in and out of passe on a bi-weekly rotation.

The number two rule is to pledge blind allegence to James Leroy and the Posse, the best indie rock band of all time (this week). Lest week it was The Weakerthans, and the week before it was The Strokes with their new one, which has come in and out of passe a month before the record comes out! Keep up peseurs!
posted by Quartermass at 5:48 PM on October 3, 2003


err poeseurs. And "shock" the above James Leroy plug was a stab at shameless self promotion. We are big in Hawaii! (Ok, no, we are not big in Hawaii - this was a lie too).

Check out the press - "If you ever get the chance to see this band (they only tour europe), cover you ears and just watch. Two very attractive girls make out while two fat kids eat burgers and hott-dogs. Totally weird!" Blender Magazine

OK, again a lie. Perhaps I should just follow Splendid e-zines "13 Things we hate about press releases" , to which I violated a few rules.

Sorry.
posted by Quartermass at 5:55 PM on October 3, 2003


Why the fuck do anyone like Yo La Tengo?

*cries*
posted by boredomjockey at 6:08 PM on October 3, 2003


You mean George Chen "the internet guy"?

YES! at least the mystery is solved! thanks, dude.
posted by mcsweetie at 6:15 PM on October 3, 2003


Have you heard the latest Broken Social Scene?
posted by spilon at 6:22 PM on October 3, 2003


I just don't understand how anyone can still think they're cool listening to rock music. Sorry guys, the second-half of the twentieth century is over.
posted by Eamon at 6:38 PM on October 3, 2003


It sucks so much when people know in depth about the music made by their peers! The more they know, the more it sucks, you see?
posted by UlfMagnet at 6:49 PM on October 3, 2003


were, The Clash WERE the...

WAS, The Clash WAS the...
posted by G_Ask at 6:53 PM on October 3, 2003


Who is Yo La Tengo? Never heard of them/him/her.

I'm buried in "electronica" ... fun thread nonetheless :)
posted by starscream at 6:56 PM on October 3, 2003


After reading this thread I'm now buried in "warning quotes".
posted by botono9 at 7:30 PM on October 3, 2003


Poseurs. Never mentioned the Blake Babies or the Boston scene in the whole article.
posted by nyxxxx at 8:15 PM on October 3, 2003


Last week it was The Weakerthans

Goddammit! I haven't got their album yet, though I have seen (and blogged about) their recent video. Does that count?

And trucker hats were so over even before they started.
posted by jokeefe at 8:18 PM on October 3, 2003


elwoodwiles: jokeefe, no hard feelings, we can talk about Iron and Wine or Dirty 3 if you'd like.

Well, if you like VU and Modern Lovers ripoffs, with lame lo-fi pretensions, fine, but the three date tour they did with Galaxie 500 back in the early 90s was emo before emo, if you know what I mean. Now, cub, there was a band.

*feverishly fondles Amnesiac b-sides*
posted by jokeefe at 8:29 PM on October 3, 2003


I really, really hate to admit this, but the one record sure to clear my friends out of a room is Liz Phair's Exile In Guyville. Maybe I'm running with the wrong crowd...

On the other hand, we have serious plans to make Jonathan Richman t-shirts with his face in a big heart and that sort of thing, so maybe we aren't all bad.

Indie Rocker Extra Credit: go into Hot Topic and loudly ask where they keep the Modern Lovers shirts. When they give you a blank look, start yelling absentmindedly about Patti Smith posters.
posted by Ptrin at 9:55 PM on October 3, 2003


What if you wear a trucker cap non-ironically, like, you've been working on a car all day, and your hair is too greasy to be seen in public uncovered, and all you want a beer?
posted by notsnot at 10:18 PM on October 3, 2003


As a former music editor for various things, the most important phrase I've learned to arm myself with is "I've heard of them, but I haven't heard anything by them." In the age of file sharing, it's harder to get away with, but never admit to having never heard of a band...

I miss Man or Astroman?
posted by drezdn at 12:28 AM on October 4, 2003


Drezdn: In the age of file sharing, I find myself most frequently saying "I've downloaded a few of their songs, but I don't really *know* them." My mixes are littered with tracks by bands I've heard nothing else by, just that one song someone turned me on to...
posted by Banky_Edwards at 1:06 AM on October 4, 2003


Is Stompin' Tom Connors still popular with the young folk?





*crickets*
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:26 AM on October 4, 2003


I wouldn't even claim to be knowledgeable enough to be a poseur indie-guru, but does Tom Waits even count anymore? Was he ever really considered cool by anyone other than musicians?
posted by TeamBilly at 7:00 AM on October 4, 2003


All I can say is that Slint invented grunge nearly ten years before Seattle was known for anything but having a pointy building. Of course, it all derived from Squirrel Bait, but the sound really reached its zenith with Spiderland. It was all downhill from there, and I've always believed the knowlege of this obvious fact (plus the corrollary that everything they were doing had already been done better by the Pixies) originally inspired the title of Kurt and company's ubiquitous Nevermind.

How was that?
posted by rusty at 8:31 AM on October 4, 2003


i really, really hate sonic youth, and i'm not afraid to admit it in public. does that make me less indie? (game theory's lolita nation was everything daydream nation wanted to be and nothing it could deliver...and i'm not just saying that because they're both double albums that enigma records put out in the late 1980s with the word "nation" in the title.)
posted by pxe2000 at 9:52 AM on October 4, 2003


A slight update: Spoon has been getting some press lately, so using it as your "band that never broke" may backfire on you.

Also feel free to say stuff like "I think Enon is redefining indie rock." Or "The new Pretty Girls Make Graves is just fucking horrible." Knowledgeable nods will follow and you will be awarded 4-6 indie points.

A couple months ago "Man, when is the new Grandaddy coming out?" was 3 worth points right there.
posted by skallas at 10:54 AM on October 4, 2003


For a good "clear the room" album, try Clifford Darling, Please Don't Live In The Past by the Severed Heads. Extra points if you have the double LP version where sides B and D end in an infinite locked groove.
posted by monkey.pie.baker at 12:50 PM on October 4, 2003


A couple months ago "Man, when is the new Grandaddy coming out?" was 3 worth points right there.

And here I sat up until 1:30 am just to see them on Conan last night. Nobody gets to be underground for long anymore.

As far as clearing the room goes, The Good Ship Lollipop sung, of course, by Shirley Temple, does an excellent job of clearing the venue once Radiohead have finished playing. (okay, sorry)
posted by jokeefe at 2:08 PM on October 4, 2003


Most indie-rock is neither indie nor rock.
posted by jonmc at 2:28 PM on October 4, 2003


A couple months ago "Man, when is the new Grandaddy coming out?" was 3 worth points right there.

Man, Grandaddy opened for Super Furry Animals here last week, and I missed it. That sucked. (It's probably not + indie cred points to admit you missed a show, but I'm not going for that...)

I wouldn't even claim to be knowledgeable enough to be a poseur indie-guru, but does Tom Waits even count anymore? Was he ever really considered cool by anyone other than musicians?

Tom Waits is just cool, period.


I'll give you a topic.

Most indie-rock is neither indie nor rock.

Talk amongst yourselves...
posted by nath at 3:11 PM on October 4, 2003


Even Rolling Stone spelled Galaxie 500 correctly. Nyah.
posted by jonp72 at 3:19 PM on October 4, 2003


Even Rolling Stone spelled Galaxie 500 correctly. Nyah.

I bow my head in shame.

You know what was really great? When Green River played Vancouver and everybody hated them so much that they got unplugged and left the stage early. Yep. Those were the days. MoDaMu. That was a record label. [/clutching at cred straws]
posted by jokeefe at 4:20 PM on October 4, 2003


Oh, now I get it. We're reminiscing. Cool.

I thought the original link was somehow implying that indie
rock was still around.

We could just get the latest indie rock news by swapping some 'zines from factsheet5 -
oh right, that's been gone for years now too.

But first, just so this gets spidered correctly. Albini. Toomey.

OK.

Oh, and speaking of the Blake Babies, is juliana still a virgin?
and do you think there is a market for autographed Wesley Willis
CDs with his own banana smears on them?

...and to clear a room, there is nothing better than ventolin by Aphex Twin. That's some industrial strength repellant.
I once cleared a room full of experimental jazz snobs with that one. (only after failing with speed metal, uta hagen
and the kids of whitney high)
posted by milovoo at 12:39 PM on October 5, 2003


No, indie rock died years ago, when all the indie labels became shills for major labels.
posted by nyxxxx at 7:26 PM on October 6, 2003


Oh, and speaking of the Blake Babies, is juliana still a virgin?
and do you think there is a market for autographed Wesley Willis
CDs with his own banana smears on them?


Funny you should ask those questions back to back like that....
posted by jonmc at 7:49 PM on October 6, 2003


Actually Wesley Willis opened for Juliana in Asbury park once and that's what got me thinking ...

(maybe less of a connection that would be otherwise interesing)

Wesley's manager was a very attractive and interesting woman, unfortunately I was with someone else or I would have asked her out, **sigh**
posted by milovoo at 5:53 PM on October 26, 2003


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