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Author Topic: Set me on Fire  (Read 2530 times)

debuys

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Set me on Fire
« on: May 22, 2004, 02:14:18 am »

I expect to be a bit flamed here, so go ahead...especially in spite of the fact I am new to these forums. So far I like them, generally less basic and stronger opinions even when they are wrong.

I read through a thread concerning define "indie" rock and I found it as annoying as any pigeonhole oriented thread. I'll get to the meat of why you'll want to set me on fire. First I'd like to lay some groundwork so you can see my point of view.

The term "alternative" has all but bit the dust considering that the genre if you can call it that is now mainstream in most markets. This leaves the alternative being Country, Pop, Classic Rock and R&B/Hip Hop. Thus "alternative" is only alternative in the same way that chicken is an alternative to steak on a fajita. I love what used to be "alternative" a music movement that among other things removed mascara and perms from rock stars. Now it seems that is mainstream alternative.

This is not the saddest example of big brother (RIAA) copying one sound until it homogenizes and absorbs any "new" sound into pop. Consider Jazz. Once it was mainstream especially in it's golden period and broke away and is consistently roped back. Kenny G post '80's? That's Jazz? I don't think so. I could go on and on but I think you get the picture. Fortunately Jazz still maintains a regimen of "true artists". I say that to mean artists who either stay traditional or continue to push sonic boundaries.

What makes no sense to me is the term "Indie Rock" It seems that most bands that fall in here have low fi production, mediocre at best musical skills and good lyrics. What gives? Did REM stop being "indie" when IRS sold out, after their first hit or when their records were recorded in a more precise, modern manner? When we have groups such as "the Strokes" and "White Stripes" that amount to nothing more than a novelty act being labeled as Indie and other groups such as "Gallactic" or "Phish" or "NRBQ" not falling into this category I find it odd. Yes, I am aware that all of the groups I mentioned now being on major labels (or pretend indies).

Seems to me Indie should mean actually independent, able to make it beyond some BS hype or a silly click at a college dorm. I would venture to say the real Indies were the people who made it without the help of the majors and not a recording technique that uses equipment far superior than what was used to record records in the late 60's yet somehow sound worse. I'd love to see an independent musician with talent and musical ability get to wear the monacher of "indie" rather than some half whit with some good lyrics get the special treatment.

Set me on fire Wink

-----------------
Sorry if this is inappropriate or should be moved. I'm new to posting here.
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Robert de Buys
Dreamcatchers
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xonlocust

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Re: Set me on Fire
« Reply #1 on: May 23, 2004, 05:39:55 am »

howdy debuys-

i agree with the majority of your post, but regarding the white stripes:  by the time they got to elephant (and a major), they were on thier 5th record and had been on independents (KRS was it? or in the red? sympathy? i forget...) and also, elephant was recorded on old shit equipment (1" 8 track i believe) - not made to sound crappy on good technology. beforehand, jack was playing with other detroit bands like the henchmen, and noone gave a shit about detroit back then. (99) they were pretty slowly and steadily building themselves up over time with lots of touring, which is pretty indie rock.

so, yes. i agree with you mostly - i'd just take white stripes off your shitlist.  strokes? without a doubt. i agree 100%.    got in with a hotshot celebrity agent and got themselves a residency in nyc and then got the british press on thier side and bam - there you go. first tour playing to sold out rooms.  

anyway, cheers!  hope you don't feel flamed.. who the hell am i to flame you... i'm just some dude, but i'd watch out for that j.hall guy, he can be a real cocksucker....

-nick






ps i kid.... i kid....... Smile

j.hall

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Re: Set me on Fire
« Reply #2 on: May 24, 2004, 10:02:45 am »

oh great, another debate about the definition of "labels" and why they are a bad thing.

first off, you are right about alternative, then again, that was a label given to those bands by the mainstream.....and it will always exist as an actual definition of the word, as it relates to what is happening in mainstream music.

i'm not going to debate the validity of indie rock as a genre or a mindset or anything else.  my closest friend debates this with me enough for me to get my fill......and as i say to him, "i don't disagree with you totally, then again, i don't agree with you either."

what i will (and am interested in) discuss is the labeling of music.

indie rock is not indicative of "independent" music because it has long since abandon that mindset.  it's old, worn out, out of date, and holds little value in the "scene" any longer.

the networks for getting things done cheaply and efficiently have all but closed down to the larger population of the underground.  and as relatively untrue as that might be, or as deadly accurate.....one thing is unquestionably true.  the underground as a whole is no longer interested in doing all the work by themselves.  when once we photo copied our cassette inserts, cut them out, dubbed our own cassettes and assembled the whole thing.  made our own shirts, stickers, etc.....

that is a fleeting thought at best and has become grossly impractical in todays market place for underground music.

the whole record label thing is a boring debate that holds little relevance any more.  in the digital age things are simply different.  it's harder to book a tour, it's harder to sell records, etc.....

getting a record deal simply helps a band connect the dots from point A to B and carries little importance to maintaining "indie cred"

we can all hate the strokes all we want, and we can all agree they are the "boy band" of indie rock......fact of the matter is, they are drawing attention to a lot of other bands that would have gone unnoticed all together, and i can't find a reason why that's a bad thing

the lines are being blurred across most all the genres

when you have the beastie boys and outkast making records (for years now) that combine MANY styles and genres of music into a cohesive body of work, you simply can't maintain rigid and sterile definitions of genres.

indie rock is such a large thing, it's taken on a life of it's own.  you can't stop it, nor steer.......and good luck trying to get rid of it.

it IS a musical style, it IS lyrical content, it IS a fashion trend, it IS a production style, and it IS alive, just as is hip hop, pop, nu metal, whatever you call nickelback and creed....

labels exist as an over all categorization and definition to aid in communication.  people complain all the time about musical labels and such......i'm sure painters bitch about "expressionism", and "postmodernism", "baroque" and all the others.  fact of the matter is, everything in life has a label......

we have to communicate, we have to define things in order to clarify our thoughts to other humans.  a pen is a utensil used to write with, if i refer to it as a ruler, we will be at an impass and thus have a communication break down.

choosing the focus of this forum had it's positives and negatives, i understood, and still do, them both.  and i'm willing to accept them both as discussion points.  and frankly, it's one reason i "focused" my forum the way i have.

no one here should flame you, this is a great topic....and i've typed WAY too much.


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takeout

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Re: Set me on Fire
« Reply #3 on: May 24, 2004, 11:08:57 am »

xonlocust wrote on Sun, 23 May 2004 10:39

...elephant was recorded on old shit equipment (1" 8 track i believe)...

Ahem... I take issue with this statement.
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takeout

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Re: Set me on Fire
« Reply #4 on: May 24, 2004, 11:10:03 am »

j.hall wrote on Mon, 24 May 2004 15:02

...my closest friend debates this with me enough for me to get my fill......and as i say to him, "i don't disagree with you totally, then again, i don't agree with you either."...

Heh heh heh...
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debuys

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Re: Set me on Fire
« Reply #5 on: May 25, 2004, 01:40:05 am »

This is the inteligent response I was hopeing for


j.hall wrote on Mon, 24 May 2004 15:02


it IS a musical style, it IS lyrical content, it IS a fashion trend, it IS a production style, and it IS alive, just as is hip hop, pop, nu metal, whatever you call nickelback and creed....




This is one issue that has irritated me for a long time. The title "Indie" is thrown around way too much for my taste. I perform, teach, compose, arrange, produce, and engineer for living (I dont get bored). Unfortunately, I here the term indie frequntly in the form of a request.

.......
Here's one exaple of me in a session

Producer: Play that part more indie.

Robert: Out of time and out of Tune?

Producer: No like (band name)

Robert: Who?

Producer: Sigh

After a couple of takes I play out of tune and mostly ahead of the beat.

Producer: That's what I wanted. {glares}

..........

Teaching I have run into students that bring in a ton of indie music for me to transcribe. Once I transcribed an entire "indie" albumn's guitar parts in a half an hour. It is so hard to explain to a student the style is something you do, not study. I.E. convince them to learn something more musically compex or take oil painting lessons instead.

When mixing I had to retrack a really bad drumers part... SPAZ! My partner had to pay special attention to playing wrong and with feel like a surf drumer on Heroine and no sleep. But this stuff drives me nuts. If I could do it right, in tune, in time, better changes, better instrumentation and with the same vocal it would be a nice song. However that would be wrong?

The genre should be called Nihilistic Primitive.

I think I have a grasp on what "indie" is, but when I describe it in an attempt to clarify what someone has requested I am always told I am wrong. However when I do exactly what I beleive to be right, as I stated, It's exactly what they want.

I dont get that most people whe claim to understand this genre and certainly know better than me to accept it for what it is; an anti establishment music genre that worships weak musicianship. Good musicianship can be present, but It must be covered somehow so that it may be disavowed.

Robert


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Robert de Buys
Dreamcatchers
1818 28th Ave
Homewood, AL 25209

j.hall

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Re: Set me on Fire
« Reply #6 on: May 25, 2004, 10:38:39 am »

again, i don't disagree with you at all, but then again, i don't agree either......

don't throw a huge blanket of indie rock as some out of tune, porrly performed, pile of rubish, when there are MANY, MANY indie rock bands that are far more skilled as individual players, and collective bands, then most all pop acts on the radio now.  the good thing is, a lot of these bands are, or were, very popular in the indie scene.

you have to separate what the young unexperienced kids are wanting to be, and what their "role models" have become.

high school kids are not mature enough artists to form their own style and thoughts in a cohessive manor that yields a quality song.  they just can't do it.......they imitate until they have picked through enough stuff to finally say (mostly in there mid 20's) "this is what i want to play, and this is how i want to play it".

i'm no genius writer, but i don't think i really came into my own until i was 25, at least on guitar.  i developed my own quarky style of drumming as a teen, but i had been playing since i was 5 years old......

being jaded and burnt out on labels and their implications on music as a whole is totally understandable.

i often describe "music labels" as the taxonomy of living things.

kingdom
phylum
class
order
family
genus
species

indie rock is probably the "class" or "order"

it's such a huge blanket in my mind.  that's why the form is about "indie rock" and not hardcore, punk, garage rock, sweater rock, emo, etc....

i wanted to keep it based on ALL things underground.

if you want fine examples of indie rock bands that have great muscians, writing, play together as a band, and great production see:

burning airlines
fugazi
shudder to think
hot snakes
sunny day real estate
les savy fav
the new black
shiner
refused
lewis
superchunk
john vanderslice
spoon
failure
sugar
sparkelhorse
bear vs. shark
thursday
the casket lottery
kid dakota
low
ken stringfellow
the pernice borthers
ted leo
karate


if some one told me to play a drum part that was "more indie rock" i'd have a zillion questions based around....."LIKE WHO?"
"LIKE WHAT?"

low.....that's kick and floor tom.......very sparse

burning airlines.....that's drumming olympics

you can't tell me to "be more indie rock" in the studio if you don't back it up with some specifics....and that includes when i'm mixing

"what the hell does that mean, hot snakes, sparkelhorse, pernice borhters........?????????"

i'd answer with, "how bout we try something new, mix this song for THIS SONG"
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xonlocust

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Re: Set me on Fire
« Reply #7 on: May 27, 2004, 07:02:19 pm »

takeout wrote on Mon, 24 May 2004 10:08

xonlocust wrote on Sun, 23 May 2004 10:39

...elephant was recorded on old shit equipment (1" 8 track i believe)...

Ahem... I take issue with this statement.




sorry, i was unclear with my intentions.  i was referring to the original posts line

"I would venture to say the real Indies were the people who made it without the help of the majors and not a recording technique that uses equipment far superior than what was used to record records in the late 60's yet somehow sound worse. "

the point i understood from the original post was that current indies were using modern equipment poorly as an aesthetic - and my comment about the 1" 8 track meant to imply that they were in fact using the equipment of the day (vintage/retro/what have you), and it sounds great.  

i too would take exception to someone saying 1" 8 track sounds like shit - which is not what i was saying at all.

hopefully that clarifies it, as my post was written at 4:39am on sunday after a long night of drinking....

SPGrover

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Re: Set me on Fire
« Reply #8 on: May 28, 2004, 10:02:40 am »

I can define if something is "indie rock" or not pretty easily.  If the song does not make me wanna play air guitar, then it is "indie rock".  Simple as that.
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