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October 13, 2006 7:48 PM   Subscribe

 
If it's cool, creative and different, it's indie...
posted by Artw at 8:02 PM on October 13, 2006


Yeah, like a Time Warner funded company is going to know what going on in the Indie scene. But you guys already knew that, so why even mention it on Metafilter?
posted by furtive at 8:06 PM on October 13, 2006


Oops, I missed the cue in the title, we're supposed to tear it apart.
posted by furtive at 8:07 PM on October 13, 2006


Man, I liked CNN's early stuff better.
posted by Greg Nog at 8:12 PM on October 13, 2006 [8 favorites]


flagged as lame.
posted by unmake at 8:12 PM on October 13, 2006


Ahhh a point-and-laugh post.
posted by Mister_A at 8:15 PM on October 13, 2006


Needs more fish.

In pants.
posted by loquacious at 8:20 PM on October 13, 2006


I don't know I kind of liked it, it seemed deliberately designed to piss off hipsters and you have to appreciate that.
posted by afu at 8:20 PM on October 13, 2006 [1 favorite]


Don't forget to take the quiz. I got 5 out of 10, which I think is just right.
posted by bob sarabia at 8:22 PM on October 13, 2006


That is the funniest picture of Jim Jarmusch I've ever seen.

PS: pointing and laughing now
posted by synaesthetichaze at 8:22 PM on October 13, 2006


I enjoyed how CNN resolutely researched the diverse threads of "indie hiphop" enough to put a picture of Mos Def and another artist from way on the other spectrum of the scene, Talib Kweli.
posted by gcbv at 8:26 PM on October 13, 2006



posted by mr_crash_davis at 8:30 PM on October 13, 2006


Greg Nog for the win.
posted by Extopalopaketle at 8:36 PM on October 13, 2006


lol squarez
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 8:58 PM on October 13, 2006


I didn't quite get it when I first saw the page. Kim Gordon, and Stephen Malkmus and Quentin Tarintino and Morrissey in an "Indie Scene 2006 special".

And then I got it.

CNN are way more edgy and ironic than you damn indie hipsters, that's for sure.
posted by Jimbob at 9:36 PM on October 13, 2006


Is that a pic of Moz in the top left corner?! How retarded.
posted by photoslob at 9:43 PM on October 13, 2006


That's not just Moz.

That's Fat Moz.
posted by Jimbob at 9:48 PM on October 13, 2006


mr_crash_davis, you dare to post an image of the face of the sacred prophet in this thread? I'm bringing some riots to your town.

"I don't know, I'm making this up as I go" Sackers of the Misplaced Vessel 3:14

posted by quin at 9:55 PM on October 13, 2006


Should I feel bad for getting as much of a kick of this as I do?

How do cool indie cats spend their days and nights away from the grind?

Maybe I just like imagining the blank stares and head-shaking when this concept was presented to designers and writers alike. Everyone gets crappy assignments sometime!
posted by dougunderscorenelso at 9:58 PM on October 13, 2006


I think it was about a year ago when I moved to the "artsy" side of town that I realized this "indie" shit really was supposed to be the defining artistic/cultural statement of our generation. Say what you will about earlier scenes, especially the hippies and the punks, but at least there were ideals behind the art. There's nothing here besides pretension, half-witted irony, and some vague anti-capitalist notions that come with the name. And this, friends, saddens me. Viva la revolucion!
posted by trinarian at 10:19 PM on October 13, 2006 [2 favorites]


Austin is so 2004 anyway.
posted by I Am Not a Lobster at 10:20 PM on October 13, 2006


There's nothing here besides pretension, half-witted irony, and some vague anti-capitalist notions that come with the name. And this, friends, saddens me.

Amen to that.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 10:25 PM on October 13, 2006


Man, I liked CNN's early stuff better.

Dude, if you'd ever seen it when it was just Ted Turner screaming at a camera about Steinbrenner and the UN for like twelve hours straight on public-access in Atlanta - I'm talkin' like '78, '79 - dude, that was CNN.

Anderson Cooper? More like Anderson Corporate.

*high-fives everyone else at table, orders round of PBR*
posted by gompa at 10:27 PM on October 13, 2006 [1 favorite]


Whatevs, I heard about this shit at Union Pool in Billyburg (while hanging with TV on the Radio).
posted by Falconetti at 10:50 PM on October 13, 2006


You have to like arrested development to be "indie"?

Real Indies don't even fucking watch television.
posted by delmoi at 11:06 PM on October 13, 2006 [1 favorite]


6/10 on the indie quiz.

Stella Artois, FTW.
posted by Matt Oneiros at 11:33 PM on October 13, 2006



Okay. I admit it.

I love Dinosaur Jr., I love Small Factory, I love Lilys and Rodan and 764-Hero, and I am so sick to fucking death of the Killers and Franz Ferdinand and all this crap. I'm the type of person that the main article is talking about. Is that wrong now? If CNN knows about indie, does that mean I have to stop being indie ... to be indie? What the hell did I just say?

Their information is old, but they seem to be relatively on the ball: "These days indie is more of a philosophy," Cool said. "If you can maintain control and integrity over your art, whether on your own or with a corporation -- that's what's important."

(Oh yeah ... and is just me, or is starting the indie continuum at The Clash kind of strange considering that 1967 heard a little thing called The Velvet Underground & Nico?)
posted by Riovanes at 12:21 AM on October 14, 2006


Austin is so 2004 anyway.

Austin peaked whenever the hell Sandra Bullock moved here.

--Ausinite since 1993.

I got an 8/10 on the quiz by answering what I thought CNN would think would be indy.
posted by birdherder at 12:45 AM on October 14, 2006




Most times, being indie comes before the sell-out.
posted by dhartung at 1:00 AM on October 14, 2006 [1 favorite]


What's the term for someone soooo underground in their music circles that they keep up with stuff that doesn't even penetrate Pitchfork et al? Speaking of which, it's about time post-rock earned its due. Here are two sites devoted to the genre.
posted by Mach3avelli at 1:36 AM on October 14, 2006


I once tried filming a documentary on the emo scence. After filming the first scene I yelled "Cut". The End.
posted by srboisvert at 1:40 AM on October 14, 2006


I miss spellcheck. The End.
posted by srboisvert at 1:40 AM on October 14, 2006


I only got 1 question right...Damn, I'm even less indie than jonmc! (which, somehow, means I'm more indie, right?)
posted by Bugbread at 4:04 AM on October 14, 2006


i, like, totally don't care.
posted by slater at 4:16 AM on October 14, 2006


7/10
posted by dminor at 4:21 AM on October 14, 2006


That word, indie. I don't think that means what they think it means.
posted by sveskemus at 4:42 AM on October 14, 2006


I also got only one question right. Hence the post title! I expected they would say something like "You're not indie!" at the end of the quiz, but I didn't know they would call me WRONG for choosing the mildest possible response about the Smiths.
posted by thirteenkiller at 5:04 AM on October 14, 2006


So, "Indie" is short for "Independent," but we must somehow conform to a set of prescribed strictures in order to be "Indie."

I'm lost.
posted by Devils Rancher at 5:32 AM on October 14, 2006


8 out of 10, baby!

Youtube link: Indie Clerk Assholes
posted by deanc at 5:39 AM on October 14, 2006


1 out of 10. not interested in "indie" anymore
posted by dydecker at 5:43 AM on October 14, 2006


2/10. Ah, I am a poser, thank god. Now that indie has gone mainstream, I am just gonna have to settle for recording traffic noises and playing it back on shuffle......
posted by Bovine Love at 6:38 AM on October 14, 2006


There's nothing here besides pretension, half-witted irony, and some vague anti-capitalist notions that come with the name.

So what's changed?
posted by ZenMasterThis at 6:50 AM on October 14, 2006


9/10. I feel dirty.
posted by piratebowling at 7:13 AM on October 14, 2006


5/10. First question asks for my favorite Wes Anderson movie. I said Bottle Rocket. Apparently that's wrong. But Bottle Rocket is my favorite Wes Anderson movie, dammit!
posted by jefbla at 7:32 AM on October 14, 2006


I got to question 9 and had to quit. I couldn't, in good conscience, mark any of the answers. I think I was running around 3 up to that point.
posted by Mr. Gunn at 7:45 AM on October 14, 2006


If you clicked that CNN link you are SO not hep to indie. If you took that quiz, you should really consider watching CNN...even more than you already do.
posted by jaronson at 7:53 AM on October 14, 2006 [1 favorite]


Didn't The Smiths die in a plane crash in Alabama?
posted by wallstreet1929 at 7:56 AM on October 14, 2006


Ryan Schreiber, Pitchfork founder: "[The term] has also, for years, been sort of the de facto label for an entire subculture of idealistic artists and music fans who place a lot of stock in the idea of making music for yourself or your friends, rather than for profit or popularity,"

...says the man who makes reviews for himself and his friends, rather than for profit or popularity.

To be fair, snark aside, he does have a point here, but the real irony is in the fact that through PF's indie hegemony (which is real) it has become a yardstick for popularity, and therefore larger profits - larger, of course, in indie terms. (Go ask Arcade Fire how it's worked out for them.)

Also: "The adoption of indie music by corporations started in the mid-90s, when Nirvana"

Then they go on to correctly place Cobain's death in 1994, which implies a *very* short career span! Minor nitpick, but hey. Of course, the corporate embrace of indie music happened earlier, but we can't expect a CNN piece to be a lecture on Our Band Could Be Your Life, can we? And as Nirvana *was* the touchstone example of "breaking" indie on an unprecedented level of internationality, recognition, acclaim *and* sales, I can't really hold this against the writers.

I also like the parallell drawn immediately after that, with the "indie film boom" starting with Pulp Fiction. This is not done very often, IMO, and I suspect that "indie music" and "indie film" attract slightly different geek brackets, albeit overlapping ones. Draw a Venn diagram.

What has always had me wondering is the semantics of the word "indie": what does it mean? In the 80s, before Nirvana, it seemed to encompass (DC and elsewhere) hardcore, NYC art-punk-cum-noise, etc.; nowadays, the cynical view would be that it means "whatever Pitchfork has written favourably about". I for one have a hard time explaining what forces "bind", say, Sufjan Stevens to Wilco, The Thermals to Okkervil River. Aside from overlapping audiences and particularly outstanding songcraft (*cringe*), I can't really think of anything else that's significant aside from PF. Which leaves me well in cognitive dissonance territory, because I love all these artists to pieces yet I'm strongly suspicious of Pitchfork's style and superpower status.

So what did it mean *during* the 90s? Sure, Nirvana was the watershed, but after that everything was suddenly "grunge", no? I mean, when indie geeks discuss the 90s, names like Nirvana, Radiohead, Neutral Milk Hotel and My Bloody Valentine will often come up (YMMV), but my question would be: what did we call these bands in 1998? If not them, what *did* the word indie refer to then?

I'll let Schreiber have the last word:

"If the last 30 years are any indication, after every last cent has been wrung from it, it'll just burrow back underground and continue on its own terms,"

And God knows they won't stop before they have. :)

"You can't kill the ideal."

I'll give him that.

Great post.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 8:03 AM on October 14, 2006


*sigh*

I have that web site on vinyl.
posted by thekilgore at 8:03 AM on October 14, 2006 [3 favorites]


BTW, that is not a quiz, that's a Spark-style personality test. 5/10.

I did not notice the extra features (including the 'quiz') at first, only saw the main article. I thought you were all *rating* it, Pitchfork style. Am I now a bad person?
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 8:08 AM on October 14, 2006


goodnewsfortheinsane : "what did we call these bands in 1998?"

In 1998, I can't recall, but in 1996, at least, they were called "alternative", and I was having arguments with people that alternative meant "alternative to the mainstream", so it didn't make much sense to call a mainstream band like Nirvana "alternative".

And in 1996, "indie" still meant "independent", as in "on a very small record label, or self-published".
posted by Bugbread at 8:16 AM on October 14, 2006


Metafilter: nothing here besides pretension, half-witted irony, and some vague anti-capitalist notions
posted by Bugg at 8:23 AM on October 14, 2006


in 1996, at least, they were called "alternative"

Indeed, bugbread! I somehow managed to completely leave that term out of the equation. I had those arguments all the time as well. Of course, Nirvana breaking started a whole new wave of the lines between "alternative" and "mainstream" blurring throughout the 90s. The old separation seems to have restored itself somewhat since the turn of the century, though, say, after Napster (I'm guessing). I wonder how that happened.

And don't get me started on the nationalization of MTV Europe! :)

Now get off my lawn.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 8:31 AM on October 14, 2006


Personally, I have always been of the mind that "indie" rock/pop died in the mid-1990's. As soon as the younger crop of kids came up and started the fasionista thing...and embracing "emo"... I don't know what to call the scenesters these days, but "indie" doesn't ever really cross my lips.

Granted, it didn't die suddenly, it had to peter out over a few years. But come on, who self-publishes these days? A few people, garnted, but not nearly as many. Where is the modern analog of the Simple Machines manifesto? In 1994, all it took to get your band heard was a silkscreen, a 4-track, and a couple hundred dollars to press some vinyl.

...and who brought the "Rock Star" back to music? Gone are the days of bands the likes of Low playing at coffee shops, Spent and New Radiant Storm King sleeping on our floor, and 764-HERO giving us their drink tickets. There was a lot more camaraderie in music back then, and the division between fan/musician was often quite blurred, as everybody was in some sort of band/project.
posted by kaseijin at 8:35 AM on October 14, 2006


Once it became a "scene" it ceased to be indie.
posted by caddis at 8:37 AM on October 14, 2006


This is hilarious.

Everything is, though.

O, self-referential postmodern ironic irony, kill me now. But artfully. Please. Thank you.
posted by blacklite at 8:40 AM on October 14, 2006


Indeed, caddis.

I think I am going to go pop on a Grifters record and harken back to a bygone era. Damn, I feel old.
posted by kaseijin at 8:42 AM on October 14, 2006


Wither Annie Sprinkle. Diamanda, we hardly knew ye.
.
posted by DenOfSizer at 8:47 AM on October 14, 2006


In 1994, all it took to get your band heard was a silkscreen, a 4-track, and a couple hundred dollars to press some vinyl.

Granted, kaseijin, in 2006 you would need Photoshop and access a half-decent printer, some cheap Chinese mics and an audio interface, and a couple of spindles of CD-Rs. And all this can be done on a single standard PC!

It's debatable whether it's as easy to get your band *heard*, of course, but it's certainly cheaper.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 8:52 AM on October 14, 2006


Most indie rock is neither indie nor rock. Discuss.
posted by jonmc at 9:01 AM on October 14, 2006


kaseijin : "But come on, who self-publishes these days? A few people, garnted, but not nearly as many."

You have to be shitting me. You're on the internet! How the hell can you be forgetting about it's existence?! What, putting your music on the internet doesn't count because it's free?
posted by Bugbread at 9:28 AM on October 14, 2006


kaseijin writes "Granted, it didn't die suddenly, it had to peter out over a few years. But come on, who self-publishes these days? A few people, garnted, but not nearly as many."

They're called "CD-Rs".

goodnewsfortheinsane writes "I mean, when indie geeks discuss the 90s, names like Nirvana, Radiohead, Neutral Milk Hotel and My Bloody Valentine will often come up (YMMV), but my question would be: what did we call these bands in 1998?"

I can testify to the use of the term "indie" in as early as '93 and, yeah, it just referred to the record label.

When did things start to change? Earlier than Nevermind, I'd say. Two big major label signings, and corresponding indie label deaths: REM and IRS; Sonic Youth and SST. '87 and '89 respectively. That's right kids: it was over in the 80s. The big change the 90s brought was the emergence of "indie majors": Subpop, Matador, Merge. Which were just different.
posted by mr_roboto at 10:15 AM on October 14, 2006


This is hilarious.

Everything is, though.

Ah, but is it?
posted by blucevalo at 10:17 AM on October 14, 2006


That makes it official, it's over.

Whenever the mainstream media figures out a trend that kills it. When the frat guys start playing "Tv on the Radio" or "Cansei de Ser Sexy" at their paties that's another sign.

Time for everyone to change clothes and go back in their basements to figure out another way to be weird. This happens every 5 years or so.
posted by nyxxxx at 10:35 AM on October 14, 2006


I can't believe that quiz thinks that liking Bottle Rocket is less indie than Royal Tennebaums and Rushmore.
posted by camcgee at 10:44 AM on October 14, 2006


I mean, when indie geeks discuss the 90s, names like Nirvana, Radiohead, Neutral Milk Hotel and My Bloody Valentine will often come up (YMMV), but my question would be: what did we call these bands in 1998? If not them, what *did* the word indie refer to then?

We called it College Boy music.

And I actually thought the correct answer was Bottle Rocket, although my favorite Wes Anderson really is a tie between The Royal Tennenbaums and Rushmore.

7/10.

Increasingly, I find young people creepy (sorry young people).
posted by maggiemaggie at 10:57 AM on October 14, 2006


Throw me the whip, I'll throw you the idol.
posted by sklero at 11:12 AM on October 14, 2006


The possible permutations of irony, humor, and patheticness of this article, both in content and circumstances of presentation, are making my head hurt.


That shark jumps any higher, they'll need to give it a gig at Seaworld.
posted by spiderwire at 11:20 AM on October 14, 2006


Oh great, another thread where Mefites point a finger and laugh at christians indies. We get it, you're all so much smarter than us poor rubes that worship Jesus Jim Jarmusch.
posted by 2sheets at 11:53 AM on October 14, 2006


indie music? oh you mean independent music produced just for kicks? like the stuff they put out on labels like tresor, poker flat, perlon, colony, ~scape, digital distortions, and about a million others? music where the personality behind it is so unimportant that artists regularly record under tens of different pseudonyms? yeah, that stuff is pretty cool.
posted by dvdgee at 12:02 PM on October 14, 2006


Jeez. I thought it was a decent enough article.

Speaking of which, it's about time post-rock earned its due.

Is this sarcasm?

Gone are the days of bands the likes of Low playing at coffee shops, Spent and New Radiant Storm King sleeping on our floor, and 764-HERO giving us their drink tickets. There was a lot more camaraderie in music back then, and the division between fan/musician was often quite blurred, as everybody was in some sort of band/project.

Yes, surely this doesn't occur anymore, and it isn't just that it continues to go on without you.

Also, no Sufjan, no credibility.
posted by ludwig_van at 12:07 PM on October 14, 2006


Speaking of which, it's about time post-rock earned its due.

Is this sarcasm?

No. Why would it be?
posted by Mach3avelli at 12:17 PM on October 14, 2006


Because it's silly. About time post-rock earned its due? Post-rock became a buzzword years ago. Sigur Ros, GYBE, Mogwai, Explosions in the Sky and what have you have been popular for awhile. Slint gets namedropped all the time. These days the "post-rock" label seems to be used mostly by people ridiculing the term.
posted by ludwig_van at 12:24 PM on October 14, 2006


Which is understandable, as it is quite an undescriptive and vaguely pretentious name for a (sub)genre.
posted by ludwig_van at 12:26 PM on October 14, 2006


I gotta choose someone to pick on. Sorry kaseijin.

Personally, I have always been of the mind that "indie" rock/pop died in the mid-1990's. As soon as the younger crop of kids came up and started the fasionista thing...and embracing "emo"... I don't know what to call the scenesters these days, but "indie" doesn't ever really cross my lips.

I agree with the sentiment but not the date. Which in turn shows that the sentiment itself is kind of false (just because I agree doesn't mean it's true!). Anyone who listens to bands "no one else has heard of" always thinks it all went to shit a couple of years before everyone caught up. So for me, that would be around the turn of the century. For you, that was the mid-90s. It's the indie equivalent of people thinking the radio started sucking right about the time they left high school.

Granted, it didn't die suddenly, it had to peter out over a few years. But come on, who self-publishes these days? A few people, garnted, but not nearly as many. Where is the modern analog of the Simple Machines manifesto? In 1994, all it took to get your band heard was a silkscreen, a 4-track, and a couple hundred dollars to press some vinyl.

Insound republished the manifesto a couple of years back on their website, updated somewhat to deal with the internet. Jenny Toomey's with the Future of Music Coalition now, and though the advocacy group doesn't seem to be very active these days, they had a lot of good stuff on the importance of the internet and what it means for artists.

As to who self-publishes these days: A couple of years ago I got a nice surprise in the mail thanks to a small screw-up: I'd placed an order with Endearing Records in Winnipeg and they'd lost it. So in addition to the Paper Moon album I'd ordered, I also received the first Novillero album. The woman who'd e-mailed me to ask if anything had gone wrong, and oh I'm sorry let me send you another CD to make up for it? She's a member of Paper Moon.

Two years ago one of my favorite albums was by a band called Mascott, who is basically Kendall Jane Meade and a couple of friends. I bought the album via Red Panda Records. Guess who owns Red Panda Records? Kendall Jane Meade.

Last year, one of my favorite albums was by a band called Bullette, who is basically Monika Bullette and a couple of friends. I didn't buy the album, I downloaded the whole thing from her site for free. How did I find out about her? I run a site, and she sent my a lovely e-mail about how I should check her out. And I did.

This year, one of my favorite albums is by a woman named Laura Barrett. I'd never heard of her until I happened to be working a show she played at. I was hooked. She sold me her last CD, which was a shame because clearly if she'd brought ten or twenty more copies they'd all be gone. She has no label support, no PR company, no exposure beyond local shows (though playing with Final Fantasy sure helps) and a MySpace page.

That's just a couple of examples. There are plenty more.Who self-publishes these days? Tons of people. You're just not paying attention.

...and who brought the "Rock Star" back to music? Gone are the days of bands the likes of Low playing at coffee shops, Spent and New Radiant Storm King sleeping on our floor, and 764-HERO giving us their drink tickets. There was a lot more camaraderie in music back then, and the division between fan/musician was often quite blurred, as everybody was in some sort of band/project.

You honestly think bands have stopped sleeping on people's floors? One of my favorite (and now deceased) bands, Operation Makeout, got their biggest press via a MuchMusic show where they talked about... how to find places to crash after the show. Low playing at coffee shops? Didn't the Arcade Fire busk outside a NY subway stop at 2 in the morning once upon a time? And if indie rock died in the mid-90s, how do you explain stuff like the Magic Marker House:
in 1997 magic marker founders mark rothkopf and curt kentner moved into a large somewhat shabby home in se portland, oregon across from kenilworth park. most of the venues at this time wouldn’t even book the up incoming bands that played portland . the all ages clubs were going out of business and the bars would pay the sound man more than any of the bands if they even let them play at all. It started out as a necessity, finally a place to play in a somewhat dank basement and later up stairs in the living room. we handed out flyers and word of mouth spread. While many people have lived in the 4 to 5 bedroom house members of dear Nora, kissing book, benji cossa, the mosquitoes, the softies, the lucksmiths, mooney suzuki, and the shins all called it home for a short period of time between 1997-2004.
In short: indie isn't dead. "indie" definitely is, but then "indie" has never really meant anything anyways.
posted by chrominance at 12:29 PM on October 14, 2006


Wait a minute....people use CD-Rs for legitimate purposes?
posted by graventy at 12:38 PM on October 14, 2006


Who self-publishes these days? Tons of people. You're just not paying attention.

Right.
posted by ludwig_van at 12:42 PM on October 14, 2006


It's funny, this CNN report seems to be based on what was cool when I was in high school. It's like all the trendy kids from the mid-'90s are now in control of pop media reporting! This is what the '70s must have looked like when the hippy sounds of Mungo Jerry finally crested.

"Speaking of which, it's about time post-rock earned its due."

No, it's really not.

3/10. I'm a posuer. Just like X-Ray Spex!

"Indeed, bugbread! I somehow managed to completely leave that term out of the equation. I had those arguments all the time as well. Of course, Nirvana breaking started a whole new wave of the lines between "alternative" and "mainstream" blurring throughout the 90s. The old separation seems to have restored itself somewhat since the turn of the century, though, say, after Napster (I'm guessing). I wonder how that happened."

I remember, once upon a time, a weird dichotomy between "indie" and "alternative." Nirvana, Soundgarden, Melvins... Alternative. Pavement, Yo La Tengo, Zumpano, Sloan... Indie. Really, anything still on Matador or Sub Pop. God, remember when you could buy based on what label shit was on?

"and who brought the "Rock Star" back to music?"

Weezer. Seriously.
posted by klangklangston at 12:54 PM on October 14, 2006


Because it's silly. About time post-rock earned its due? Post-rock became a buzzword years ago. Sigur Ros, GYBE, Mogwai, Explosions in the Sky and what have you have been popular for awhile. Slint gets namedropped all the time. These days the "post-rock" label seems to be used mostly by people ridiculing the term.

There's "buzzword," and then there's legitimate mobility within a genre. SR, Mogwai, GYBE, EITS have all been around since '94-'99. The number of instrumental rock bands out right now is exponentially greater than five years ago when "post-rock" was the soup du jour. Of course, there's a lot of bland shit out there, but I would argue the scene is as vibrant and alive as its ever been. So it's about time the internet caught up and recognized that with its first post-rock/instrumental music-focused zine.

Please read this review and tell me it's justified. This is just one example of how uninformed and unfit mainstream review sites are. Once a reviewer can get through a review without name-dropping Mogwai, EITS, GYBE, etc. as if it's a 4-tool genre, then we'll get somewhere.
posted by Mach3avelli at 12:55 PM on October 14, 2006


I was so indie that I was too drunk to open for the Vaselines.
posted by I Am Not a Lobster at 12:58 PM on October 14, 2006


There's no room in this world any more for the Jerry Lee Lewis fan.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:04 PM on October 14, 2006


Oh.

*dies*
posted by jonmc at 1:13 PM on October 14, 2006


Gone are the days of bands the likes of Low playing at coffee shops, Spent and New Radiant Storm King sleeping on our floor, and 764-HERO giving us their drink tickets.

Kids, mortgages, actually wanting to make a living at what they do... it's killer.

(Not meaning to snark, honest. Just that happy [in the glow of nostalgia] poverty-stricken bohemianism can only last for so long for any one group of artists.)
posted by jokeefe at 1:15 PM on October 14, 2006


also, I got 3 out of 10 on the indie quiz. sadly, the morrisey question didn't have an 'anti-christ' option.
posted by jonmc at 1:18 PM on October 14, 2006 [1 favorite]


Once a reviewer can get through a review without name-dropping Mogwai, EITS, GYBE, etc. as if it's a 4-tool genre, then we'll get somewhere.

Why do people talk about Pavement, Guided by Voices, and The Smiths when they talk about indie rock? The most visible and long-established musicians are always the first mentioned when referring to a given genre. I don't see what this has to do with "post-rock getting its due."
posted by ludwig_van at 1:20 PM on October 14, 2006


I don't see what this has to do with "post-rock getting its due."

It's finally come down to the age of specialization where post-rock is earning enough recognition to garner a genre-specific zine and discussion boards. This inculdes reviewers who know quite a bit more about the genre than the big 4.
posted by Mach3avelli at 1:45 PM on October 14, 2006


"It's finally come down to the age of specialization where post-rock is earning enough recognition to garner a genre-specific zine and discussion boards. This inculdes reviewers who know quite a bit more about the genre than the big 4."

Yeah, but then they rarely know about Cluster or Limbus 4 or any other "proto-post-rock" band that did more interesting shit than anyone is doing these days.
The "post-rock" genre is, what, around 10-15 years old? Tortoise has been over-rated since the early '90s, man, and the term as a genre signifier has turned from meaning taking the conventions of rock and stretching them into saying only a little over a long time. Now it's an amorphous melange of math rock and the blander side of shoegaze; jam rock for the thick-glasses set.
So, yeah, it's great that you've finally found a community for music you like. That's what the internet's great for. Doesn't mean that what you like isn't soporific and pretentious...
posted by klangklangston at 2:02 PM on October 14, 2006


I've always found shoegaze to be a one-trick pony. What's this non-bland side you speak of?
posted by Mach3avelli at 2:09 PM on October 14, 2006


God, remember when you could buy based on what label shit was on?

Fuck YES!!! Touch 'n Go and SST (and to some degree Dischord) were where my loyalties were. Those were great times, my brothers and sisters, great times.
posted by psmealey at 2:11 PM on October 14, 2006


Godspeed! You Black Emperor were the nastiest bunch of asshole snobs I ever met in my life. I'm glad their band is so uncool now.

God, remember when you could buy based on what label shit was on?

I still do. But it's not indie rock :)
posted by dydecker at 2:15 PM on October 14, 2006


i fail to see how artists that are commercially viable and making a great deal of money are considered independent or an alternative.
posted by andywolf at 2:49 PM on October 14, 2006


6/10 although I guessed the answers on some of the straight up knowledge questions and got them right.

God, remember when you could buy based on what label shit was on?

Yeah, I also remember buying stuff based solely on print reviews, at least these days you've got a god chance of hearing stuff before buying thanks to the internet. (That's probably not an 'exclusive' enough attitude, but then I guess I'm just not part of the indie scene).
posted by drill_here_fore_seismics at 3:04 PM on October 14, 2006


Mach— There was a shoegaze thread here within the last week or so. Some guy wrote a thesis on MBV (who I find boring as hell, but since you like post-rock, you might want try again).

But shorter answer: Jesus and Mary Chain.
posted by klangklangston at 3:05 PM on October 14, 2006


"I still do. But it's not indie rock :)"

Really? Aside from a few house labels, I rarely find a place that has a consistent enough aesthetic to justify it, and those labels tend toward the "Do I really need to buy all of this?" feeling. DFA, Tressor, Ed Banger...
posted by klangklangston at 3:07 PM on October 14, 2006


I was a Touch and Go, Matador and Merge fan for the most part (though I was totally into WaxTrax for a while).
posted by klangklangston at 3:09 PM on October 14, 2006


klangklangston : "God, remember when you could buy based on what label shit was on? "

Yeah, I remember 10 minutes ago perfectly well. Exogenous records, Freakdance records, Demontea.
posted by Bugbread at 3:09 PM on October 14, 2006


I still like everything I hear from Drag City, but I haven't blind bought from them in a long time.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 3:22 PM on October 14, 2006


klang klang, I dunno if I'd buy everything just because it was on a label but I will check it out. I'll religiously listen to everything on Wagon Repair, Kompakt, Cadenza, Playhouse, Border Community, Ellectrona Romana, Systematic etc. A techno nut basically.
posted by dydecker at 3:34 PM on October 14, 2006


Mach— There was a shoegaze thread here within the last week or so. Some guy wrote a thesis on MBV (who I find boring as hell, but since you like post-rock, you might want try again).

But shorter answer: Jesus and Mary Chain.


I find modern shoegaze to be complete leagues better than MBV-era shoegaze (save Ride). Asobi Seksu, Ceremony, Longwave, Oppressed by the Line, Amusement Parks on Fire, etc. There's just much better stuff out today.
posted by Mach3avelli at 3:55 PM on October 14, 2006


bugbread, i think you mean exogenic, and last time i checked, demon tea hadn't put out anything in quite some time, definitely longer than 10 minutes. regardless, that brothomstates ep on exogenic is an all-time classic.
posted by dvdgee at 4:55 PM on October 14, 2006


1/10. And I have no idea which question I got right as I'd just click the other options to see what the responses were.

I attempted to be indie in the early 90s, but could never, really, pull it off. I was always either too pretty or not pretty enough. Damn you, you fickle world.
posted by Sparx at 6:33 PM on October 14, 2006


jonmc, sometimes I doubt your commitment to SparkleFilter.

And anyway, the big reason reason I've been so out of touch with musical "movements" for the past oh, couple of decades was that I had to rely for music on radio. I was too worried about keeping myself housed, fed and clothed (in that order) to buy records/tapes/CDs, and couldn't afford cover charges and bar beers (without extraordinary efforts I won't discuss here), and didn't have any comparatively well-off buddies who'd remedy those "deficiencies." Bring k3wl costs money, man. Nor did what I did manage to (over-) hear, or read about in reviews in the "alternative" press and the few "'zines" I could get my hands on, give me much reason to care, as it all seemed like teenaged wankers being teenaged wankers (though a lot were/are a bit old to be acting like that), which I'd already gone through before Mom & Dad threw me out.
posted by davy at 9:14 PM on October 14, 2006


"Bring k3wl costs money, man."

And being a decent proofreader takes at least half a wit.
posted by davy at 9:16 PM on October 14, 2006


i fail to see how artists that are commercially viable and making a great deal of money are considered independent or an alternative.

Do you really fail to see how that could be? You think independently-financed artists are never profitable, or what?
posted by ludwig_van at 11:11 PM on October 14, 2006


It's getting increasingly diffcult for me to distinguish between sarcastic/non-sarcastic comments here.

Also, your favorite band sucks.
posted by aerotive at 11:19 PM on October 14, 2006


dvdgee : "bugbread, i think you mean exogenic, and last time i checked, demon tea hadn't put out anything in quite some time, definitely longer than 10 minutes."

Yeah, I meant Exogenic (it was about 5 a.m. here when I posted, so my mind was in a bad way). And, yeah, Demon Tea seems to have gone defunct, so it was a bad example. Perhaps substitute 6D Soundz for Demon Tea.
posted by Bugbread at 12:29 AM on October 15, 2006


Being outside the country for six months is so refreshing, it's like the word indie practically doesn't exist...
posted by iamck at 7:48 AM on October 15, 2006


I suppose I might be the only one actually somewhat startled by this article. I listen to and adore most bands listed, listen to woxy.com at work, subscribe to all things McSweeney's... and I've never read a single pitchfork review, nor have many friends who share my tastes. Seeing a CNN "special" on my particular artistic tastes and having them slap a label on me, left me trying to decide if my oblivion to the buzz makes me more indie than you, or just old. Heh.
posted by Meredith at 8:22 AM on October 15, 2006


iamck : "Being outside the country for six months is so refreshing, it's like the word indie practically doesn't exist..."

Try living in a non-English speaking country for a decade! Here in Japan, the word インディ-ズ ("indies") means exactly what it says: music put out by independents. It can be crazy experimental shit, or it can be pure mainstream J-Pop. It isn't a genre, it's a word that indicates "not put out by a major label". And that's it.
posted by Bugbread at 8:24 AM on October 15, 2006


iamck writes "Being outside the country for six months is so refreshing, it's like the word indie practically doesn't exist..."

Brazil, like USia, isn't the world, you know. Last I heard, the concept of indie was found alive and well in Europe (including the UK or not, your call), with the controversies over its definition and purpose still going strong.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 8:59 AM on October 15, 2006


Well, Meredith, I would say it makes you a person more concerned with the music instead of 'the scene'.
posted by Bovine Love at 10:09 AM on October 15, 2006


It's getting increasingly diffcult for me to distinguish between sarcastic/non-sarcastic comments here.

seriously. though the meta-ironic has been a problem at least since the late 90s...

when I was in high school (late 80s) "alternative" culture really seemed "alternative", and it really seemed as if people either knew or didn't know about a whole underground scene, even if we had different favorites among them. Somehow we had to go to the same clubs, music stores and comix/zine stores, so even if our assessments weren't identical, we'd be familiar with each other's interests to some degree. But the internet makes it so much easier that we no longer even need to form a community, and what's hip & what's played out is even more divided. Plus there's much less of a "mainstream" to react to, since that's got a half million tangents too -
anyway - "alternative" ceased to be alternative in, I would say, about 91, when nirvana & the simpsons hit the big time.

so then "indie" started growing to take over the place that alternative left - it wasn't well defined but just meant, "no really, actually alternative, not alanis morrisette alternative". But by the late 90s, "indie" was increasingly associated with the whole bitchy hipster / rich web developer / trucker hat thing, and was starting to die for that reason. Then, I have to say, I think in a way 9-11 & the war on terror kind of allowed it to regroup and not be quite so hyper-indifferent, so that it maybe almost saved it's soul. I would say especially the daily show/colbert people have found a way to be smart, ironic, but not assholish, that has also managed so far to be kind of semi-mainstream, big without seeming to have lost all cred.

But I don't know what can claim to be truly "indie" in an old fashioned sense, except in that everything is more "indie" since what happens online actually can make a difference (even to choices of big corporations, eg SOAP).

Is this sarcasm?

No. Why would it be?


the comment about post-rock confused me (and I like post-rock) because I just have no sense that it's "not getting it's due"... It sort of faded from being considered the best thing ever around the turn of the millenium to forking in a few directions and/or being kinda seen as a bit monochromatic at the end of the day, but it certainly had its moment, and there's also still good stuff being done. People know about it; just not everyone likes it :).
posted by mdn at 11:52 AM on October 15, 2006


Brazil, like USia, isn't the world, you know. Last I heard, the concept of indie was found alive and well in Europe...

The sad (or refreshing) truth I'm trying to convey is that "scenes" are such ludicrious projections and self inflations that only entertainment writers and bloggers take seriously.
posted by iamck at 2:34 PM on October 15, 2006


when I was in high school (late 80s) "alternative" culture really seemed "alternative",

"The Village isn't what it used to be and probably never was." - Wilson Mizener

"Offer me alternatives offer me solutions and I decline..." - R.E.M.
posted by jonmc at 3:23 PM on October 15, 2006


to paraphrase Barry Gifford, no matter how far outside the flock we think we are, we still have to go to the river, lower our head and drink like all the other animals.
posted by jonmc at 3:26 PM on October 15, 2006


Jonmc: Keep in mind that "alternative" was always a bit separate from "underground". That is, "underground" meant "not well known", while "alternative" was just an alternative to the mainstream. It was kinda like the losing party in a two party governmental system, while "underground" was all the little parties that people don't even count when we say that America has a two-party system. So "alternative" was well known, but not the dominant genre. So I don't think thinking back on "alternative" as having been alternative is one of those rosy-colored-history-glasses things. Nowadays, there is so much variety in the mainstream that the concept of "alternative" just doesn't make sense.
posted by Bugbread at 3:30 PM on October 15, 2006


But I don't know what can claim to be truly "indie" in an old fashioned sense

I don't understand the confusion. If, for instance, you record music in your bedroom, draw some artwork, pay to have CDs made, and then sell them to people yourself, you're truly indie in an old-fashioned sense. Plenty of people are still doing this.
posted by ludwig_van at 3:30 PM on October 15, 2006


If your records/CDs/8-tracks are published in the United States, and not by the big four (EMI, Sony BMG Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group) or one of their subsidiaries, then you're an indy. Not the most difficult or fancy definition.

Dunno what the equivalents would be in other countries. I'm sure India has totally different dominant companies, so being an indy in India would have a slightly different definition.
posted by Bugbread at 3:45 PM on October 15, 2006


I don't understand the confusion. If, for instance, you record music in your bedroom, draw some artwork, pay to have CDs made, and then sell them to people yourself, you're truly indie in an old-fashioned sense. Plenty of people are still doing this.

yeah, but if they upload something to youtube, and it gets attention, then some cable show or label or whatever is gonna get in touch - I guess what I meant was, at one time it did seem like a 'dominant' and a 'non-dominant' culture, and now it seems like a gigantic heap of interweaved cultures. That some guy's random home made project could be on the tonight show next week is not the least bit unthinkable. At one time, you had to choose either to go through a traditional route - send off demos, submit a finished screenplay, etc - or a non-traditional but undoubtedly less lucrative route - do it yourself & share it with a small community. But now 'doing it yourself' is a much smaller investment, so you may as well kinda do both - put it out there, for not just the local alternative types who go to the same underground club, but for everyone, including the possible corporate sponsors, who are paying far more attention to you already.

Basically it's all mixed together, when I think at one time there was a much stronger identity of either climbing the ladder of the already structured big media, or building your own structure, which took a lot more commitment and was likely to be much more humble.
posted by mdn at 3:48 PM on October 15, 2006


I think part of the issue, then, is that you're mixing the technical (I would say "proper") definition of indy, which is "on an independent record label", with the informal (I would say "wrong") definition of indy as being "underground" or "substantially different from mainstream bands".
posted by Bugbread at 3:51 PM on October 15, 2006


For example, I'd say that, if you want to be really accurate, there's no such thing as an "indy band", just an "indy release". If a band publishes all their albums by themselves, they're a band with a bunch of indy releases. If they publish all their albums on some BMI label, they're a band with a bunch of major releases. If they publish some albums on BMI, and some on their own label, they're a band with some major and some indy releases. There's no "indy band" issue at all.
posted by Bugbread at 3:55 PM on October 15, 2006


I think part of the issue, then, is that you're mixing the technical (I would say "proper") definition of indy, which is "on an independent record label", with the informal (I would say "wrong") definition of indy as being "underground" or "substantially different from mainstream bands"

well, that's why I said "in the old-fashioned sense" - because at one time, the two meanings were much more tied together. It used to be a serious investment to self-record / promote / distribute, and initially only one that was undertaken when the big record companies weren't responding. Then, when you actually did the promoting / distributing, you had to hit the same network of little "alternative" venues, whether clubs or stores, that sold or booked the non-mainstream, self-produced stuff. That meant that consumers of one alternative artist or band would be more clued in to others, but someone who never checked out that side of town would just not pay attention to any of it (they'd know there was an alternative culture - they'd see the green hair at least - but they would have no real sense of what it was because they got their info from the then fairly homogenous mainstream media).

Now the technology to self produce makes it practically an afternoon project, and promotion/distribution takes care of itself... plus the line between major and indie in even just a record label is hard to draw - at one time there were just a few big labels, a few big channels, a few big venues - now we have many more shades of grey represented, and online anyone can hit the big time if they get lucky (though the big time is may be less big now, because there are just too many things to choose from...)
posted by mdn at 5:00 PM on October 15, 2006


Ah, I see what you're saying now. In my eyes, though, that's a good thing. For example, I used to be into indie/underground/whathaveyou. Then I moved away from all the folks I knew who were into that music, and my exposure to new music dried up. Now, with the internet, I'm right back to exploring new bands and being exposed to new music.
posted by Bugbread at 5:08 PM on October 15, 2006


yeah, I didn't mean to come across as nostalgic or as if it used to be better - I was just kind of looking at the history of the term, and how it's almost meaningless now. But I also love the internet culture that has taken its place (wouldn't be here if I didn't, I don't think :))
posted by mdn at 7:36 PM on October 15, 2006


Does no one get that the quiz was taking the piss? For example, the "correct" answer to the vacation question (Austin) gives you: Who would want to pass up a slew of shows by a bunch of bands no one's ever heard of?

Honestly, I don't understand why anyone gives a rat's ass about artistic integrity, or "going corporate" or someone's cred. Why should you give one solitary, flying fuck if so-and-so "sold out"? Are you related to them? Are you best friends with them? Did you place a bet on IndieBetting.com that they wouldn't sell out, and now you're out $100?
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 7:37 PM on October 15, 2006


That quiz pissed me off. It took FOREVER to go from question to question (just give me a next button, fuckers, so I don't keep hitting answers until it moves on to the next question). I only made it to the Arrested Development question before I got pissed off and closed the window. So, 0/10 for me, as far as I'm concerned!
posted by antifuse at 5:25 AM on October 16, 2006


An article about "indie" in 2006?! This shit was old hat 10 year ago.
posted by zorro astor at 10:33 AM on October 16, 2006


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