‘Indie bands, I listen to indie bands’
‘Yeah, ya know, stuff that’s not on the top 40, REAL music’
‘[?]… Oh, you mean like The Kings of Lions kinda bands? CoOl! I luvv listening to indie bands too!’
‘ -__- ‘
Hi. Many of you have already experienced this sort of scenario and the reality is that the whole “what is indie and what the fuck are indie bands?” inquiry is a fallacy, a trick question.
It’s not that the person asking is trying to trick you. Though if they’re kewl kids like y’all then yes, they’re totes trying to trick ya.
It’s just that indie is a very vague and general label slapped on to bands that are not [considered to be] part of the mainstream music conscience. As such, poor lil indie became a label that has been misused and abused by the collective music audience ever since.
Before indie was common a name for semi-obscure sounding acts, we had the term alternative. For those vibing out to the college radio scene of the late 80s and most of the 90s, this was mostly [mis]named as alternative rock – whatever the fuck that means.
But WTF are indie bands?!
Twin Sister – Bad Street
No one really has a clear and generally accepted answer, well, at least not anymore.
But I can tell you what it is usually not: foreign bands, bands that are obscure, bands that ‘sound good,’ bands with ‘interesting’ looking people (awkward BUT cute bb with killer bangs &/or tweenage girls’ dreamy McScruffy bros that look 20 something but are actually 35 year olds).
Let’s take Phoenix.
As y’all already know they have been making big waves in the US of A with their latest album.
Phoenix – 1901 (US Version) | I guess we needed a US version. . .
But Phoenix has been producing a consistent product in Europe for about 10+ years and finally (and good for them, really) it picked up steam across the pond and floated into the cute ears of soccer moms and the hairy ears of the sweetest NPR listening grandparents.
Yet, you have basic bros and broettes raving about this ‘indie’ band and putting their songs on their indie iTunes playlist. I mean, come on mango units, just get it together. Phoenix is like the French U2.
Another misconception, and a really pervasive one, is that listening to indie bands equals listening to good music.
You usually hear this one from people that just discovered indie and/or have no taste in music. Though the Indiesphere has many decent and some good acts it also has MANY bands that SUCK. Sometimes, getting branded with the ‘indie band’ label means that a band is listenable and not many people know about it.
And sometimes it means that a band is terrible, enough people know it, and no one really wants to listens to them (making them even MOAR indie!).
So, like, dood-brah, WTF are indie bands?
I could go on and on but this ain’t a Wikipedia entry nor do I pretend to know the answer.
I am just a concerned music consumer like you: non-dancin’-dancing to some sweet mp3s, while my iPod judges the relevancy of my tastes, shufflin’ through my indiest playlist.
What bands should have their indie badge removed?