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Author Topic: What is "Indie"  (Read 6274 times)

Bill_Urick

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What is "Indie"
« on: September 21, 2008, 08:40:40 am »

I've always though it just meant an artist or music on an independent as opposed to a major label. It seems to also refer to a musical style, but I'm not sure what the definition or scope of that style might be.
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rankus

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Re: What is "Indie"
« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2008, 01:31:07 pm »



I would say loosely defined as "College Rock"  with a very "organic" and "real instruments" vibe.

But confusingly also refering to "independent" acts as you note Bill.

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fiasco ( P.M.DuMont )

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Re: What is "Indie"
« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2008, 07:22:14 pm »

Although I think the term "Indie" did refer to music offered by a non major, the moniker has been turned into a marketing scheme. Just like everything else.

I feel at the base, independent music should denote music that is trying to offer something outside of the norm.
The norm being typical music being developed and offered via typical means.
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Philip

fiasco ( P.M.DuMont )

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Re: What is "Indie"
« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2008, 07:26:52 pm »

rankus wrote on Sun, 21 September 2008 13:31



I would say loosely defined as "College Rock"  with a very "organic" and "real instruments" vibe.

But confusingly also refering to "independent" acts as you note Bill.




While I agree with you Rankus, I consider bands like Skinny Puppy and Godflesh to be Indie, and they are hardly "organic".

Perhaps it is more of an attitude for me. Like Punk.
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Philip

Greg Dixon

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Re: What is "Indie"
« Reply #4 on: September 21, 2008, 10:30:09 pm »

I remember when U2 won the award for best 'alternate' act at the grammys sometime in the early '90s. Bono accepted the award and was having a little chuckle about being alternate. It seemed like quite a joke for the biggest band in the world to be alternate, but compared to most of the other winners that night they really were alternate.
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j.hall

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Re: What is "Indie"
« Reply #5 on: September 22, 2008, 01:00:05 pm »

as i understand it.  "indie rock" as a term came up (at least in my world) as punk rock expanded it's horizons musically.  i first heard "indie rock" as description or "genre" back in 92.  it seemed that the underground rock scene was shifting into new musical areas.  the "attitude" and "life style" hadn't changed, but the music did for sure!

the best i can put my finger on it is that "indie rock" denoted a general sound or musical direction, and it also denoted a "moral code" if you will.  the thing i never was clear on was "emo".  i first heard that term around the same time i heard "indie rock" and it seemed as though the terms were interchangeable for the longest time.  then something happened a the more poppy, cry a river about my ex-girlfriend type bands got the "emo" moniker.  then it shifted again and "emo" was a bad hair cut, really expensive clothes that are meant to look like thrift store clothes, put with ultra modern guitar sounds and some overly thin kid screaming and yelling opposite the vocal melody in the choruses.

i think anymore, whatever "indie rock" and "emo" once was is a thing of the past.  i think it had everything to do with the grunge era explosion and was a sort of counterculture to all that.  it was birthed out of the punk rock ethos into the "modern age" of rock and roll, and personally i believe it served it's purpose quite well.  growing up in all this i might have a unique perspective into it.  however, i look around now and only see tiny fragments of what i've always considered "indie rock".  musically i hear it everywhere, but the "culture" has faded into clothing company's marketing schemes.
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Fig

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Re: What is "Indie"
« Reply #6 on: September 22, 2008, 05:46:08 pm »

j.hall wrote on Mon, 22 September 2008 12:00

and it also denoted a "moral code" if you will.  


Good summary J!

I think anything that would keep a band off a major label (but not... you know... sucking, like pop) helped build the genre(s) - which can vary from hip-hop to post-grunge, IMO - including some really good 'tweeners, too.

If you say "indie rock," though, I know what we're talkin' about... usually.

I think its folks that ain't sold out, yet, Bill.

$0.02,

Fig
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rankus

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Re: What is "Indie"
« Reply #7 on: September 22, 2008, 07:14:44 pm »


Well I work in these genres every day.  They are definitely defined genres.  Emo (short for emotional) can be summed up as a lyrical and singing style, with the lyrics generally about the hurting side of love "you hurt me and I want to hurt you back, but not before I cut myself to prove my love" ... With the vocalist usually pushing into the upper end of their range in order to sound strained.  It can be very hard, almost metal, to light pop musically.

Also there are several sub-genres of Emo such as Screamo, Emo-Core, Emo-Pop etc.

Please take some time to listen to the links I’ve posted below, you will see where it’s going.  As I say I’ve been working extensively, almost exclusively, in these genres for the last while and have a pretty good handle on it.


EMO:

Some luminary's in the Emo world include:


Tokio Hotel: (yes that is a boy singing)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=llH13hboNYA

Angels And Airwaves:  (fella from B182 side project)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1bFvDAng3sA

Saves The Day:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tPqgXquPN8Q

If you listen to these clips you will see a definite common thread ... Emo more a "style" than a genre proper.. but nonetheless a defined movement.




INDIE:

While it's true that in the 90's the term indie meant "independent from a label" or an extension of the "alternative" movement, these days it is a defined musical genre. It defines a College Rock ethic that would have included bands like REM….  If they came out today, they would be pinned as “indie”....

As I mentioned above, the vibe is that of more organic rock without hyped mixes... a band in a room type sound... often using cheaper "character" instruments and being played in chilled out vibe. Some clips of top bands at the moment in the genre include:


Death Cab for Cutie:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pq-yP7mb8UE

My Morning Jacket:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AzdoOGUsEKg

Band Of Horses:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cuZo7pLnL7c&feature=user


So in summary “Indie” no longer means “unsigned band”  the term that is appropriate for that now is “unsigned”

For a regular look into this world I suggest "Spin Magazine" as a starting point... it covers this generation of music and fashion quite well.




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Ive done stuff I'm not proud of.. and the stuff I am proud of is disgusting ~ Moe Sizlack

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rankus

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Re: What is "Indie"
« Reply #8 on: September 22, 2008, 07:20:26 pm »

Fiasco wrote on Sun, 21 September 2008 16:26


While I agree with you Rankus, I consider bands like Skinny Puppy and Godflesh to be Indie, and they are hardly "organic".




Skinny Puppy is definitely not Indie... they bill themselves "Industrial".    Godflesh list themselves as "Industrial Metal"  

Both perhaps "independent" bands that should refer to their status as "unsigned"

We gotta change with the times guys... Each new generation rewrites the code book...  Smile

Indie no longer refers to the Nirvana /Sub Pop "alternative" styles of bygone eras.

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Rick Welin - Clark Drive Studios http://www.myspace.com/clarkdrivestudios

Ive done stuff I'm not proud of.. and the stuff I am proud of is disgusting ~ Moe Sizlack

"There is no crisis in energy, the crisis is in imagination" ~ Buckminster Fuller

grantis

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Re: What is "Indie"
« Reply #9 on: September 22, 2008, 08:49:23 pm »

What about "alternative"?  Does that include everything that's not "pop" or top 40?  
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RSettee

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Re: What is "Indie"
« Reply #10 on: September 22, 2008, 09:10:50 pm »

Indie--what used to be indie--I think, it originally was the precursor to the Pitchfork crowd....but in between the "REM as god" in the late 80's thing, and the Pitchfork propagation of modern indie.

I sort of see the late 80's/ early 90's indie band as jangling in an REM way, twee pop, etc. But somehow, I think that Pavement was the ultimate indie band....ie: Velvet Underground, HUGe Lou Reed influence, songs vaguely tossed off for the hell of it, etc. You could probably put Guided By Voices in there too....early GBV, anyways. I think the whole thing about early indie stuff was that it was done lo-fi, maybe on a 4 track (see: GBV again), real music made by real non-rock star types (also see: Helium, Cat Power, early Liz Phair, pre "Bandwagonesque"--and maybe even including "Bandwagonesque"-- Teenage Fanclub). Or perhaps Superchunk, I think they were put in that category, too (out of tune vocals, ragged jangly guitars, etc).

Then as alternative rock grew in the 90's, labels like Matador grew and expanded and got more popular and got more budgets, and the old template of what was considered indie (especially as recording technology developed), you were no longer listening to bedroom or lo-fi 4 track recordings done on shoestring budgets. On a somewhat newer scale, there was nothing really "indie" about bands like the Arcade Fire, even when they weren't known....but due to the Merge affiliation and perhaps due to rock critics' tendencies to throw around terms that bands may not even want levelled at their music--it stuck with them. "Indie" is largely a critic or record label or music bio sort of reliance now, to describe new bands that would have fit into that sort of thing way back then.

Now that I think of it, bands that could be considered "alternative" or "modern rock" in the late 80's or maybe 1991 or so (ie: Grapes of Wrath,) were thrown in that category, too.

Now that I think of it, pick up almost any Matador recording from about 1990-1994 and that's pretty much "indie". Or the initial/ old/ early quintessential version of it, anyways.

I generally hate labels (I loathe the term "post rock" just as much), but that's the best that I can describe that whole indie thing.

And I almost forgot to mention--there was a period in the early 90's where bands would stress that they were "unsigned", NOT "indie". Because indie tended to emphasize (whether intended or not) that the band was purposely straying away from the major label route. I don't know how much credibility any intentional indie thing had, because even Matador was affiliated with Warner by (or around) 1994, and Guided By Voices had eventually made records with big engineers and producers like Ric Ocasek. Even Bob Pollard said that he was "sick of this 4 track shit". He recorded on 4 track because it was all he had....alot of listeners and fans think that it was intentional, but it wasn't--he always had a big major label spirit beating through those early recordings like "Propeller", it's just that he had no budgets, no recording skills, no record label.
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el duderino

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Re: What is "Indie"
« Reply #11 on: September 22, 2008, 09:20:59 pm »

Fiasco wrote on Sun, 21 September 2008 19:22


I feel at the base, independent music should denote music that is trying to offer something outside of the norm.



This is what i think too fwiw, but i dont think how its developed or offered makes a difference really.

unless of course its a mp3, or cd by the winners of a tv show that comes with a big mac or something.



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fiasco ( P.M.DuMont )

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Re: What is "Indie"
« Reply #12 on: September 23, 2008, 06:57:46 am »

rankus wrote on Mon, 22 September 2008 19:20

Fiasco wrote on Sun, 21 September 2008 16:26


While I agree with you Rankus, I consider bands like Skinny Puppy and Godflesh to be Indie, and they are hardly "organic".




Skinny Puppy is definitely not Indie... they bill themselves "Industrial".    Godflesh list themselves as "Industrial Metal"  




I guess I still consider "indie" to be an asthetic as opposed to a genre.

Exsisting (somewhat successfuly) outside the mainstream.
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Philip

j.hall

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Re: What is "Indie"
« Reply #13 on: September 23, 2008, 04:33:52 pm »

rankus wrote on Mon, 22 September 2008 18:14



INDIE:

While it's true that in the 90's the term indie meant "independent from a label" or an extension of the "alternative" movement, these days it is a defined musical genre. It defines a College Rock ethic that would have included bands like REM….  If they came out today, they would be pinned as “indie”....





when i first heard the term "indie rock" (as noted in my previous post) it had VERY LITTLE to do with being independent and EVERYTHING to do with the "fabric of your life" and the "sound of your band"

when "indie rock" was first being birthed some of the top bands to be placed in this "new sound" were:

slint
fugazi
jawbox
shudder to think
polvo
drive like jehu
boys life
giant's chair
superchunk
girls against boys
jesus lizard
aminiature
rocket from the cript

just to name a few.....

chicago, DC, san diego, chapel hill, austin and to a lesser extent, KC.  

like i said, as some one deeply rooted in this scene when it was in it's hey day, it pretty much doesn't exist anymore outside of urban outfitters and a fairly established name for a genre of music consisting of bands that get college radio airplay.


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rankus

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Re: What is "Indie"
« Reply #14 on: September 23, 2008, 05:47:25 pm »

I agree with you J. Semantics aside, It is a term perverted away from it's origins. I think this is one of the main points of confusion with it's current meaning... (I was loosely describing the origins... I forget that everything is taken literally on the net)

Being in the Pacific Northwest I was heavily involved in that scene through the 90's myself.

Gotta love the English language. It's a moving target.

I suppose the bands you mention would be under the heading "Alternative" these days as noted in my post.  Would you agree?  I'm getting confused as to what to call that old genre these days, "grunge" perhaps?

Damn kids/marketers are stealing our culture!

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Rick Welin - Clark Drive Studios http://www.myspace.com/clarkdrivestudios

Ive done stuff I'm not proud of.. and the stuff I am proud of is disgusting ~ Moe Sizlack

"There is no crisis in energy, the crisis is in imagination" ~ Buckminster Fuller
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