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muckie
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PostSubject: Indie rock criticisms: true or false?   Fri Apr 10, 2015 5:04 am

Usually indie rock meant anything that was not on a mainstream label. However, it seems that, thanks to the internet, the community has become more tight-knit and known among the public than it was in earlier days, but I also notice a lot of obnoxious trends. I have read a few articles from major websites talking about how indie rock has become synonymous with 'self-important', and music 'for the party that no one was invited to join', and ultimately, 'rock that doesn't actually rock'. I agree there is some truth to it. And how many times do I have to see some woman wearing an opera mask with rainbow peacock feathers, or a bunch of anorexic dudes with big sunglasses and tye-dye shirts, posing for their cover album? I also find a lot of indie music to just be unsettling in more ways than one. There are some groups I like, such as The Sugarplastic or Bishop Allen but they're more indie-pop than anything, more playful than some of the stuff I had in mind, which was pretentious hipster shit. I want to believe there really is some good stuff out there, but rather than just being unsigned or independent-label artists, they've taken it to a new extreme and killed the joy out of music with boring stuff in which it is considered a cardinal sin to have any hooks in your music or whatnot.
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Shawn Of Fire
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PostSubject: Re: Indie rock criticisms: true or false?   Fri Apr 10, 2015 9:46 am

I think "Indie Rock" has become a genre tag....like "Alternative" or "Hair Metal" and it describes certain types of bands.

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Boris2008
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PostSubject: Re: Indie rock criticisms: true or false?   Fri Apr 10, 2015 9:53 am

muckie wrote:
And how many times do I have to see some woman wearing an opera mask with rainbow peacock feathers.

The official number is 34 but they rarely enforce the rules these days  Razz

I don't like a lot of what they are calling 'indie' these days, it feels as though the alt rock crowd are having their nu-metal moment. (I loved '90s indie) soI don't really listen to it.
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Runicen
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PostSubject: Re: Indie rock criticisms: true or false?   Fri Apr 10, 2015 9:58 am

Indie is pretty much a b.s. title. It's the 21st century version of "Alternative" in the 90s. You lumped in anything you wanted to market to a "fringe" audience there and pushed it as a fashion statement instead of a musical style.

Hell, at least Alternative could have been considered a very vague musical descriptor. Indie really doesn't say ANYTHING about the contents of the CD, record, Edison Cylinder, etc. in question.

I don't even know what's "indie" anymore because it seems to depend on who you ask (again, see "Alternative"). Some people are BELIEVERS in the tag and other people call b.s. and have their own names for the music they like.

Personally, this may be 100% separate from the indie thing, but the major trends in music that I've absolutely had my fill of are:

1.) Urban white folks who think they're doing the country/"I live in the dust bowl during the Depression" thing because they picked up a #$#%ing mandolin or banjo and started singing droning, drawling crap songs over three chords. Here's a hint guys, folk songs back in the day were CATCHY and had to be because otherwise these box car riders wouldn't REMEMBER the damn things! I refer to this trend as "bloodless with a banjo." See Mumford & Sons.

2.) Crabby "artistes" who wear ugly sweaters and make "challenging" (read: depressing) music. This probably ties into muckie's thing about music with no hooks. There's a fine line between music that's got substance and depth but isn't appealing on the surface and... garbage written by someone who can't compose worth a damn who passes it off as "arty." As a Bjork fan, I've felt the cognitive dissonance of that fandom many times over. "This sounds like a bunch of birds having an orgy... But she's GOOD, so I'm sure there's something to it!"

3.) Music recorded (poorly) on something like a 4-track cassette recorder as if that somehow lends "honesty" and "credibility" to what you can barely make out through the hiss and distortion. The Jesus & Mary Chain used noise intelligently and, yeah, it got in the way of some of their songs, but you could tell the abrasiveness was part of the thing. There seem to be a lot of bands hiding bad songs behind the wall of noise now and that's grating as hell. I remember getting into an argument with a fan of a band called (wait for it) "Casiotone for the Painfully Alone." Now, if you didn't want to roll the guy up in a carpet and throw him off a bridge just for the band name, the music was so murky and over-layered that you could just about tell someone had lovingly overdubbed track after track of synths and vocals, but it was just MUD. The fan seemed to think this got the "feeling" across, but I'm at a bit of a loss for how the feeling can come across when you can't hear the music, let alone the lyrics...

Bottom line: like what you like, but beware the "also rans" of any cultural movement. Seems like "indie" actually was a sort of culture and musical scene back in the early '00s that has since degraded into crap recordings of crap music.
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muckie
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PostSubject: Re: Indie rock criticisms: true or false?   Fri Apr 10, 2015 10:13 am

Runicen wrote:
3.) Music recorded (poorly) on something like a 4-track cassette recorder as if that somehow lends "honesty" and "credibility" to what you can barely make out through the hiss and distortion.  The Jesus & Mary Chain used noise intelligently and, yeah, it got in the way of some of their songs, but you could tell the abrasiveness was part of the thing.  There seem to be a lot of bands hiding bad songs behind the wall of noise now and that's grating as hell.  I remember getting into an argument with a fan of a band called (wait for it) "Casiotone for the Painfully Alone."  Now, if you didn't want to roll the guy up in a carpet and throw him off a bridge just for the band name, the music was so murky and over-layered that you could just about tell someone had lovingly overdubbed track after track of synths and vocals, but it was just MUD.  The fan seemed to think this got the "feeling" across, but I'm at a bit of a loss for how the feeling can come across when you can't hear the music, let alone the lyrics...

Bottom line: like what you like, but beware the "also rans" of any cultural movement.  Seems like "indie" actually was a sort of culture and musical scene back in the early '00s that has since degraded into crap recordings of crap music.

I agree with your point but they were doing that back in the 80's and 90's too. Stuff like Extreme Noise Terror would try to artificially create more abrasiveness for their recordings to make up for what they were unable to do in musicianship, being punk/noise scenesters and all. Of course, modern indie carries over this trend, but what I'm saying is that this kind of cheap trick was in existence back then. I think it just became more pronounced as this generation emerged, only it could be said that nowadays its a trick used to hide the fact that they can't pay for decent production and can use ProTools to give fake garage sounds on their records.
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Shawn Of Fire
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PostSubject: Re: Indie rock criticisms: true or false?   Fri Apr 10, 2015 10:20 am

Not to get off on a tangent, but WTF do "three chords" have to do with it? Some of the greatest songs in history only have three chords.

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Runicen
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PostSubject: Re: Indie rock criticisms: true or false?   Fri Apr 10, 2015 10:25 am

I probably could have chosen different wording. Three chords are the basis of all rock (and metal) and I have a lot of love for tracks that use those.

I think my beef is when you have idiots running around with crap songs recorded on crap equipment using three chords who act like they're Beethoven or something like that. If you're Iggy Pop, be Iggy Pop, but don't write like Iggy Pop and expect to be treated like Miles Davis.

Actually, scrap all of that. I can dig any musician who is just doing their thing - smart, stupid or any and all points in between - but who doesn't make a big deal out of it because it's just "what they do." The indie tag seems to carry a pretty strong incidence of musicians who TELL you what to think about their music and what it's about and what it's worth. So yeah, being an ass AND puffing up your three-chord noodlings as art because you recorded it on a broken Tascam is a pretty surefire way to make me want to throw chickens at you (why chickens? Well, you'll just have to READ BETWEEN THE LINES! It's ART!).
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Shawn Of Fire
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PostSubject: Re: Indie rock criticisms: true or false?   Fri Apr 10, 2015 10:28 am

Yeah, the lo-fi thing is annoying...but it's a trend, like anything else. I liked a few of the bands 10+ years ago when it was truly underground stuff and I heard it at the CD store I worked at. But there's nothing at all "Indie" about you when you're on SNL.

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the sentinel
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PostSubject: Re: Indie rock criticisms: true or false?   Fri Apr 10, 2015 12:05 pm

First off, I am so not qualified to post in this thread, but I just wanted to say thanks to the OP and Boris for making me laugh about the peacock album cover thing. And also, to Runcien for helping me understand the "indie" thing a little better.

I am confused by the concept though of those who create music (and to a degree their fans) who don't want it to sell so they are not "sell outs." I understand that the reasons for creating something are varied ( to show what you are capable of, catharsis, bring joy to many, make money, others I can't think of) and each has a reason for doing what they do (music, art, acting, etc.). But, if you don't make it to SNL, Spotify, Download Festival, then you are not going to have the finances to keep plying your trade. I don't see the point in hoping to not be successful.
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Runicen
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PostSubject: Re: Indie rock criticisms: true or false?   Fri Apr 10, 2015 12:06 pm

Shawn Of Fire wrote:
...there's nothing at all "Indie" about you when you're on SNL.

Too true! Laughing very hard
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Runicen
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PostSubject: Re: Indie rock criticisms: true or false?   Fri Apr 10, 2015 12:11 pm

the sentinel wrote:
I am confused by the concept though of those who create music (and to a degree their fans)  who don't want it to sell so they are not "sell outs." I understand that the reasons for creating something are varied ( to show what you are capable of, catharsis, bring joy to many, make money, others I can't think of) and each has a reason for doing what they do (music, art, acting, etc.). But, if you don't make it to SNL, Spotify, Download Festival, then you are not going to have the finances to keep plying your trade. I don't see the point in hoping to not be successful.

This is just me, but the idea of "selling out" only arises when you have one of two situations: a band that claims to be "of the people" getting a marketing boost from Wal-Mart or something like that (I think Metallica fits here for a lot of people), or a band harrumphing about "artistic integrity" while obviously trend chasing.

All that crap out of the way, I'm a massive Queen fan and they were never anything BUT rock stars, even when they were broke (it's funny to read early press giving them crap for acting "elitist"), so I don't really care if someone is marketing their brand or working to be successful. I think it's quite possible to be a businessman/businesswoman and not lose your soul or act like a dick, so success isn't the same as "selling out" to me.

In a very loose way, I guess you could say that selling out has a lot to do with the difference between the gospel a band is preaching and how they run their business. Geoff Tate talking crap about metal and metal fans while making very blatantly "metal" albums is a prime example here. Be as good as your word and I don't think most people would question it.
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PostSubject: Re: Indie rock criticisms: true or false?   Fri Apr 10, 2015 12:17 pm

"Indie Rock" is just as dumb of a genre descriptor as most.  Taken literally it should be bands self-financing their records and releasing it on their own without support from major record labels.  Which cuts out a large percentage of the stuff that gets tagged as "indie rock".  

Most genre names come from either a) Record label marketing departments looking for an easy way to sell their artists or b) journalists looking for a short cut to describing bands that don't neatly fit into one of the preexisting genre descriptions.
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Runicen
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PostSubject: Re: Indie rock criticisms: true or false?   Fri Apr 10, 2015 12:38 pm

I'm still pissed that my tag of "Backwards Djent Fartcore" never took off with the A&R men.

Those troglodytes...
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muckie
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PostSubject: Re: Indie rock criticisms: true or false?   Fri Apr 10, 2015 1:09 pm

I think I agree with what Sentinel said about trying to be infinitely obscure. A good artist who plays a very niche genre must still find his audience and cater to them exclusively, even if they're not mainstream material. I was reading a book by Jeff Goins (a great and helpful guy btw) where he talked about when working and pushing your material (in his and my case, writing) it's important to build relationships, to give as much if not more than you get and to keep them. Sturdy fanbases are not something that is built overnight. Stuff like the Jonas Brothers are an obvious example of 'flavor of the moment' popularity. Their CDs as they are now will likely never be reprinted and will litter the bargain bins and shelves of thrift shops or record stores in the $1-3 range. Alot of the stuff that is the most engaging from the get-go tends to run thin the quickest, it's the fact of life and it's what you call fast-living. Stuff that takes a bit longer to appreciate can also be more rewarding in the long run because it takes more study and thought to digest. And those that can produce catchy tunes that I still listen to to this day often have these little aspects to their music that I am continually learning about the more I play their songs, and not the one trick pony of shit like Big Freedia or Miley Cyrus who have nothing going for them.
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Runicen
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PostSubject: Re: Indie rock criticisms: true or false?   Fri Apr 10, 2015 1:49 pm

As a Genesis fan, I'm struck by how much their later material is dismissed as "just being pop" when there's all kind of tricky musical bits or lyrics tucked away in the songs. "Turn It On Again" was a pretty solid hit, and it's in 13/4 and 9/4 time. Weird stuff but the averge person doesn't catch that.

And yes, I was guilty of the "Phil Collins ruined Genesis after Peter Gabriel left" brain fart too. I was an angry teenager and needed things to be pissed off about. What can I say?

But it goes to show that even "pop" to have some longevity needs some depth to it, so I think you're spot on with that.
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PostSubject: Re: Indie rock criticisms: true or false?   Fri Apr 10, 2015 2:13 pm

Peter Gabriel leaving Genesis wasn't as big of a loss as Steve Hackett leaving Genesis.
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Shawn Of Fire
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PostSubject: Re: Indie rock criticisms: true or false?   Fri Apr 10, 2015 2:14 pm

Phil era Genesis is fantastic...all of it.

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Runicen
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PostSubject: Re: Indie rock criticisms: true or false?   Fri Apr 10, 2015 3:27 pm

"And Then There Were Three" didn't light the world on fire, that's for sure (though "Follow You, Follow Me" is a guilty pleasure).

Still, the up-swing is that Steve Hackett leaving Genesis gave us Steve Hackett's solo career. Smile

Personally, I still wonder if a second Ray Wilson Genesis album could have been something special. "Calling All Stations" gets a load of crap, but he wasn't involved with the writing and from the live material I've encountered from that tour, he fit well enough with the old stuff.
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Boris2008
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PostSubject: Re: Indie rock criticisms: true or false?   Fri Apr 10, 2015 3:28 pm

Shawn Of Fire wrote:
Phil era Genesis is fantastic...all of it.

I Can't Dance is the worst song in the history of songs. In fact it's the worst thing in the history of things!
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Runicen
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PostSubject: Re: Indie rock criticisms: true or false?   Fri Apr 10, 2015 3:54 pm

Boris2008 wrote:
Shawn Of Fire wrote:
Phil era Genesis is fantastic...all of it.

I Can't Dance is the worst song in the history of songs. In fact it's the worst thing in the history of things!

We've found a witch, may we burn her!? angry

(And yes, I realize someone with the SN "Boris2008" is likely not a "her." Razz )
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PostSubject: Re: Indie rock criticisms: true or false?   Fri Apr 10, 2015 4:26 pm

While I think the later Genesis stuff is very well-made, well-produced pop music, I just don't really listen to much pop music so I'll grab the earlier Hackett-era stuff when I'm in the mood for Genesis. Same goes for Yes. While I do enjoy occasionally jamming 90125 or Big Generator, if I'm in the mood for Yes most often I'll be grabbing one of the 70s albums instead. It has more to do with my stylistic preferences than anything else.

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PostSubject: Re: Indie rock criticisms: true or false?   Fri Apr 10, 2015 4:29 pm

Shawn Of Fire wrote:
I think "Indie Rock" has become a genre tag....like "Alternative" or "Hair Metal" and it describes certain types of bands.


What this man said, end of discussion
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the sentinel
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PostSubject: Re: Indie rock criticisms: true or false?   Sat Apr 11, 2015 10:19 am

Only a casual Genesis fan here (ducks behind monitor as debris and insults hurtle toward me) but I have yet to hear a song by them I don't like. I put this in the same folder as Tull and file it under "so many albums so little time and money."
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PostSubject: Re: Indie rock criticisms: true or false?   Sat Apr 11, 2015 10:35 am

S.D. wrote:
"Indie Rock" is just as dumb of a genre descriptor as most.  Taken literally it should be bands self-financing their records and releasing it on their own without support from major record labels.  Which cuts out a large percentage of the stuff that gets tagged as "indie rock".  

Most genre names come from either a) Record label marketing departments looking for an easy way to sell their artists or b) journalists looking for a short cut to describing bands that don't neatly fit into one of the preexisting genre descriptions.  

This, absolutely. I always thought that "indie" was for independent; an artist or band that didn't fit neatly into a box. But, like a lot of other things it's been co opted by journalists and A & R executives to encompass whatever "they" want. Even if it makes little sense and confuses the consumer.
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Boris2008
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PostSubject: Re: Indie rock criticisms: true or false?   Sat Apr 11, 2015 10:51 am

the sentinel wrote:
S.D. wrote:
"Indie Rock" is just as dumb of a genre descriptor as most.  Taken literally it should be bands self-financing their records and releasing it on their own without support from major record labels.  Which cuts out a large percentage of the stuff that gets tagged as "indie rock".  

Most genre names come from either a) Record label marketing departments looking for an easy way to sell their artists or b) journalists looking for a short cut to describing bands that don't neatly fit into one of the preexisting genre descriptions.  

This, absolutely. I always thought that "indie" was for independent; an artist or band that didn't fit neatly into a box. But, like a lot of other things it's been co opted by journalists and A & R executives to encompass whatever "they" want. Even if it makes little sense and confuses the consumer.

I think it all started when major labels started up faux 'indie' labels to push bands with that indie cool but major label push. Blur were a prime example of this (their 'indie' label was a part of EMI) Whereas other bands with a lot less indie cool were on independent labels their whole career and were genuinely into the DIY punk rock ethos (Erasure were a prime example, as are Depeche Mode) so the original meaning of indie has got somewhat lost.

At least Nirvanha just said, yeah we're on Geffen now, so what!  lol!
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