Music for Misfits: The Story of Indie

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BBC Four - The Story of Indie.

Post by Michael Quentin » Sat Aug 22, 2015 12:02 am

Uh oh!
This October, BBC Four tells the definitive story of indie music with a series about the genre that became the soundtrack to a generation.
The channel will broadcast a new three-part documentary series, The Story Of Indie (working title), which charts the evolution of alternative music from the its inception in the late 1970s with the explosion of independent record labels and their associated acts, to the boom of the genre in the ‘80s, onto its demise following the mainstream success of its Britpop successor in the ‘90s, and finally its legacy and influence in the current music scene. This inside story on the pioneering approach to music is a must for music lovers, and features the best songs of the era, archive video footage and exclusive anecdotes from the people who were there and central to the scene.

The series is presented by BBC Radio 6 Music’s Mark Radcliffe and features exclusive interviews with performers including James Dean Bradfield of Manic Street Preachers, Franz Ferdinand’s Alex Kapranos, Carl Barat of The Libertines, Happy Mondays’ Shaun Ryder, Suede’s Bernard Butler, ska icon Pauline Black of The Selecter, Holly Johnson of Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Buzzcocks’ frontman Pete Shelley and Joy Divison/New Order’s Stephen Morris, plus key music industry figures.

Presenter Mark Radcliffe says: “This is really a story that's been waiting to be told. We're always hearing about the seismic shifts the music business is undergoing, but in many ways, this was the first – when the egalitarian independent spirit of punk and DIY broke the stranglehold of the men in suits in the posh offices of the major labels in that there London, creating the soundtrack of our lives along the way.”

Cassian Harrison, Channel Editor of BBC Four, says: “Following on from the success of BBC Four’s acclaimed Rock ‘n’ Roll America season, comes another new three-part music documentary series on the channel. This time, the focus is indie. The series is a must-watch for music lovers as it is the definitive inside story of the genre of a generation. BBC Four is delighted to celebrate this pioneering musical movement as part of its much-loved Friday night music schedule.”

The hour-long programmes will air on Fridays from early October.

The opening episode of the series explores the origins of the UK’s alternative music scene with the emergence of independent record labels and the eclectic sound hubs they spawned in cities across the country. It starts in 1977 with punk music on the wane, and the seminal release of the Buzzcocks’ Spiral Scratch EP, the first independently produced and distributed release of the era. The Manchester group self-funded an initial pressing of just 1,000 copies, which instantly sold out. The idea of selling records without the support of a major label was born, and kick-started a revolution in the way bands made and distributed their music.

The episode charts the rise of independent record labels across the UK such as Manchester’s Factory, Zoo in Liverpool, Glasgow’s Postcard, and Rough Trade and Mute in London – each with its own identity and associated acts. They began to resonate with a population hungry for new sounds, leading to the emergence of the first wave of DIY bands including Joy Division, Aztec Camera, Echo and the Bunnymen, Big In Japan, and Orange Juice.

Episode two looks at the 1980s, when the independent labels transformed from cottage industries into real businesses that could compete with the majors. It examines the evolution of independent music into “indie” – a guitar-based genre of music with its own sound, fashion and culture. The programme also features the first cross-over of alternative music into the mainstream chart, as well as the fanzines where aspiring music journalists could access their favourite indie stars at the small and intimate gigs where they performed. The episode concludes in the late ’80s and the Madchester scene, which was inspired by indie rock and the emerging acid house rave culture that spawned a new crop of bands such as The Stone Roses and Happy Mondays.

Episode three begins with the original independent labels struggling in the wake of acid house, allowing the major labels to move in on 'indie cool' with Britpop and the subsequent rise of early ‘90s heavyweights Blur and Oasis. Bands with an old indie ethos, such as Suede, were still breaking through but switched from independent labels – creatively thriving, but in crisis financially – to majors which, although conservative, were commercially astute, thus guaranteeing international recognition and success. By the mid ‘90s, this move away from the independents, along with the demise of many of the era’s defining bands as a result of money problems and creative divisions, meant the spirit of the DIY boom had all but gone and for now 'indie' became a genre/sound rather than an alternative approach to making and releasing music.

The series also highlights how many of the acts on the independent scene didn’t have what we now see as the classic 'indie' sound and image, such as ska and reggae label 2 Tone Records, the bubblegum pop hits produced by independent song-writing and producing trio Stock Aitken Waterman, and the multi-million-selling acid house tracks by The KLF. It also explores the current indie renaissance, the enduring appeal of the movement’s first wave of bands, the return of labels such as Rough Trade, and the new crop of independent labels that have learnt from the mistakes of the past and are teaming creativity with commercial success, such as Domino, which manages Arctic Monkeys and Franz Ferdinand. It ends with the legacy of this pioneering musical era and an examination of bands today who learnt about music from the artists of the DIY boom.

The series features exclusive interviews with a host of music names including Joy Division/New Order’s Stephen Morris, New Order’s Gillian Gilbert, Buzzcocks’ frontman Pete Shelley, Holly Johnson of Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Malcolm Ross of Aztec Camera/Orange Juice, The Jesus And Mary Chain’s Jim Reid, ska artist Pauline Black, The KLF’s Bill Drummond, Cabaret Voltaire’s Richard Kirk, Jayne Casey formerly of Big In Japan, Throbbing Gristle’s Genesis P-Orridge, Chris Carter and Cosey Fanni Tutti (all episode one), James Dean Bradfield of Manic Street Preachers, Shaun Ryder, Suede’s Bernard Butler, Stuart Murdoch of Belle And Sebastian, Cocteau Twins’ Simon Raymonde, Talulah Gosh’s Amelia Fletcher (episode two), Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand, The Libertines’ Carl Barat, and Bob Stanley of Saint Etienne (episode three).

The programmes also include interviews with a number of influential music industry figures such as Pete Waterman, Factory Records’ designer Peter Saville, music entrepreneur Seymour Stein, music producer and Mute Records founder Daniel Miller (episode one), former Happy Mondays manager Nathan McGough, journalists Alexis Petridis and Sian Pattenden, record sleeve designer Vaughan Oliver (episode two), James Endeacott formerly of Rough Trade Records and founder of Sony BMG subsidiary record label 1965 Records, Heavenly Recordings’ Jeff Barrett, Creation Record’s Alan McGee, and indie music author Richard King (episode three).
http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/latest ... y-of-indie

noLooking

Re: BBC Four - The Story of Indie.

Post by noLooking » Sat Aug 22, 2015 12:48 am

I saw that. It'll start well but I'm not sure I'll be up to facing Britpop.

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Re: BBC Four - The Story of Indie.

Post by Gordon » Sat Aug 22, 2015 11:16 am

Worth it for Pulp, right? Right?!
Toot toot.

noLooking

Re: BBC Four - The Story of Indie.

Post by noLooking » Sat Aug 22, 2015 12:42 pm

I always forget about Pulp, they don't really belong there I don't think. But yeah, worth it for Pulp.

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Re: BBC Four - The Story of Indie.

Post by linus » Sat Aug 22, 2015 6:31 pm

'The Story of (how) Indie (became a plodding generic ultra-conservative tired so very tired sausagefest)'

A three part series of genuine independent DIY music would be rather more interesting... but likely beyond the capabilities and wit of the atrophying dying dead BBC (which should be abolished, obvs...)

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Music for Misfits: The Story of Indie

Post by humblebee » Fri Oct 09, 2015 11:12 pm

Yeah, you kind of do need to watch it, actually.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b06g64wb

You see the trailer, you think, yeah, everyone gets indie wrong, whatever, what's the point?

Neh. They've actually done this properly.

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Re: Music for Misfits: The Story of Indie

Post by tonieee » Fri Oct 09, 2015 11:32 pm

It featured talking from indiepop's Amelia Fletcher, clips from Shop Assistants, Pastels and Razorcuts and had a section on C86 as well as all the stuff you'd expect. I enjoyed last week's too. I might even watch next week's though not sure I can stomach an hour about brit pop.

noLooking

Re: Music for Misfits: The Story of Indie

Post by noLooking » Fri Oct 09, 2015 11:53 pm

I had this conversation before (threads need to be merged, I think). Conclusion was: hour of Britpop = bad, ten minutes of Pulp = worth it. Even if it'll just be Jarvis getting his arse out at the Brits.

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Re: Music for Misfits: The Story of Indie

Post by Jay » Sat Oct 10, 2015 12:47 am

Much, much better than I imagined or even hoped for. It's as though someone actually did a bit of research. Definitely worth a watch. And a laugh at Alan McGee as he gives both barrels to C86, conveniently forgetting that Side A track 1 was a song from his record label, his beloved Primal Scream, and probably the song most synonymous with that tag. He put out Therese by The Bodines too, and some Pastels stuff. The silly man.

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Re: Music for Misfits: The Story of Indie

Post by holyzombiejesus » Sun Oct 11, 2015 2:18 am

Jay wrote:Much, much better than I imagined or even hoped for. It's as though someone actually did a bit of research. Definitely worth a watch. And a laugh at Alan McGee as he gives both barrels to C86, conveniently forgetting that Side A track 1 was a song from his record label, his beloved Primal Scream, and probably the song most synonymous with that tag. He put out Therese by The Bodines too, and some Pastels stuff. The silly man.
McGee's just a tedious buffoon, an alt Julie Birchill nowadays. He signed Razorcuts, Emily, BMX Bandits too. Teenage Fanclub and Velvet Crush weren't exactly a million miles away from C86 either.

noLooking

Re: Music for Misfits: The Story of Indie

Post by noLooking » Sun Oct 11, 2015 8:59 am

Robin Guthrie' s hair seemed hauntingly familiar, but I couldn't place it til I remembered that bit with Kajagoogoo at the beginning.

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Re: Music for Misfits: The Story of Indie

Post by linus » Sun Oct 11, 2015 12:18 pm

I think McGee was trolling lolz

It didn't bother me, it's like anything that's created and made and goes out in the world, whatever the intention of the creator it takes on it's own life, it's own momentum... so McGee may have had a specific vision or ethos then and a well rehearsed narrative now but the 'thing' takes on it's own life... I'm digging the Creation Artifact box that came out recently- a thing of beauty- that period seems like the most exciting time for me, no matter how many times I hear the Oasis story told again and again... I like the Creation creation story better than the Creation realisation story because the former seems more real and tangible and the latter seems like marketing guff... but the likelihood is they're no more or less authentic than the other...

But, fuck it, McGee McGee McGee, this episode of the Story of Indie moved me... I feel very old now and for just over half an hour (and for most of the programme that followed) I felt young and ridiculous again, it really was rather overwhelming and appreciated

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Re: Music for Misfits: The Story of Indie

Post by Wheatabeat » Fri Oct 16, 2015 9:41 pm

Think Bentley from Language Of Flowers / Help Stamp Out Lonliness was doing the research for this. I've not seen it though as our Sky box has about 2% left on it and I watch about an hour of TV a week these days.
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Re: Music for Misfits: The Story of Indie

Post by sweepingthenation » Fri Oct 16, 2015 11:15 pm

Wheatabeat wrote:Think Bentley from Language Of Flowers / Help Stamp Out Lonliness was doing the research for this.
Just checked - credited as 'archive producer'. Obviously this week got onto Britpop and Them Libertines so, yeah, though for some joyous but inexplicable reason the last few minutes were given over to Shape Records.

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Re: Music for Misfits: The Story of Indie

Post by Dan Pop-o-matic » Fri Oct 16, 2015 11:31 pm

I hate BBC4 music documentaries. They're always the same "Here is what music was like before the thing we were talking about and it was rubbish. Here's a massively unrepresentative bit of a thing. Shit yeah? Something HAD to change" then they show a clip of something that is 80% likely to be the Sex Pistols doing Anarchy In The UK.

Then there's 3 hours of stuff you already know if you have even the slightest interest in music. The saving grace is that the BBC can show some decent stuff from the archives. They get some decent talking heads in but it's massively unlikely they'll say anything interesting (they probably did but BBC4 edited it out).

Despite all of the above and despite having a sensible person's natural aversion to sneering professional northerner fuckwit Mark Radcliffe I tried to watch the first episode. It opened with the Sex Pistols doing Anarchy In The UK and I fell asleep shortly afterwards. Couldn't be arsed watching the rest.

I tried to watch the episode last week that you all fell in love with so much but couldn't get past Twatcliffe sneering at 80s pop music. I've had a shit time of things MH-wise recently so just couldn't cope with it. I love pop music whether it's indiepop or synthpop or hiphop or whatever so the rockist snobbery that the "white people with guitars" strain of BBC4 docs trade really sets my teeth on edge. I tried watching it twice and I nearly kicked my tv in.

Ended up watching the last 30 minutes of tonight's because I'm drunk (hence this rant) and was glad to see that they basically held up tax dodging ladrock fuckwits Arctic Monkeys as the very epitome of indie. No mention of the current thriving DIY scene because that wouldn't fit the narrative. Glad it was worth all that.

tl;dr love indie, hate BBC4 documentaries, am drunk, sorry

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Re: Music for Misfits: The Story of Indie

Post by tonieee » Fri Oct 16, 2015 11:43 pm

I found the fact that they pretty much only talked about bands without women in them annoying.

Also they had Stuart Murdoch in every episode yet failed to mention Belle And Sebastian once.

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Re: Music for Misfits: The Story of Indie

Post by Dan Pop-o-matic » Fri Oct 16, 2015 11:49 pm

tonieee wrote:I found the fact that they pretty much only talked about bands without women in them annoying.
I meant to mention that too. The (admittedly little) bits I saw were just all male bands. I guess Pulp has Candida. Yay!
tonieee wrote:Also they had Stuart Murdoch in every episode yet failed to mention Belle And Sebastian once.
This I give less of a shit about.

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Re: Music for Misfits: The Story of Indie

Post by tonieee » Sat Oct 17, 2015 12:11 am

Dan Pop-o-matic wrote:
tonieee wrote:I found the fact that they pretty much only talked about bands without women in them annoying.
I meant to mention that too. The (admittedly little) bits I saw were just all male bands. I guess Pulp has Candida. Yay!
They did also have Saint Etienne on but just talked about Bob Stanley and Pete Wiggs and mentioned that they had a female singer. They had a tiny clip of Elastica but didn't even mention their name.
Dan Pop-o-matic wrote:
tonieee wrote:Also they had Stuart Murdoch in every episode yet failed to mention Belle And Sebastian once.
This I give less of a shit about.
I think they could have been a good way to talk about the more underground indie stuff that was going on at the time with a name that was familiar to more people.

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Re: Music for Misfits: The Story of Indie

Post by sweepingthenation » Sat Oct 17, 2015 12:32 am

tonieee wrote:Also they had Stuart Murdoch in every episode yet failed to mention Belle And Sebastian once.
Actually this got me too - I know without the easy C86 hook the DIY ethic isn't so graspable to pin down to a historical time other than "now/ongoing", but surely they could have cut the "there were also shit bands that came out of Britpop" five minutes and acknowledged a genuine (largely) pre-Internet example of ground-up independently minded fandom.

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Re: Music for Misfits: The Story of Indie

Post by islandhopper » Mon Oct 19, 2015 11:55 am

Emma Jackson talks about some of the problems with ep3 here - http://t.co/3mRfNEvFwg
Indie Music’s Women Problem and Retrospective Sexism
Posted on October 19, 2015
I really enjoyed the first and second episodes of ‘Music For Misfits’, a recent BBC documentary tracing the story of indie music. It started with the labels and the cities and scenes they sprang from, Postcard Records in Glasgow, Two Tone in Coventry. In doing this it took ‘indie’ in the sense of independence rather than music style, which complicates the image of indie as white boys with guitars. But something went wrong with the third episode as the story moved into the nineties. While cheering and pointing as friends and people I knew flashed up on the screen, (Bob and Pete from St Etienne looking like babies, ah!). I started to realise that women were almost entirely absent. The only woman talking on screen for the first 55 minutes of the hour-long show was journalist Sian Pattenden. One lone woman’s voice among countless men covering nearly 25 years of indie music history.

It wasn’t just the lack of voices but the choice of stories that were included. No mention was made of the Riot Grrrl movement. Including the story of Riot Grrrl would have easily linked up with the previous programme’s section on fanzines and C86. Riot Grrrl also complicates the idea that British indie was in a stand off with US music. Rather in this scene bodies, music and fanzines travelled across the Atlantic and influenced each other. Also, while in indie music ‘white is the norm’ as Sarah Sahim recently argued, the Riot Grrrl moment in the UK also included bands lead by people of colour such as The Voodoo Queens and Cornershop (who had a number one on the independent Wiija in 1997).

Some major players were also missing. You have to go some lengths to tell the story of Britpop and not mention Elastica, but that’s what happened in the programme. There was a very short clip of them that flashed by. Or Sleeper. They were huge. Or PJ Harvey. Or Lush. Or Echobelly. Or Shampoo.

While Britpop turned into a boring blokefest, what writer Rhian E Jones calls a cultural Clampdown, there were other stories and currents in indie. Lad rock may have won out but it was depressing to see the erasure of women’s voices and stories in this programme.

As a young woman in a band I was patronised by sound men, literally kicked by roadies who saw us sitting down in a corridor and assumed we were groupies when we were locked out of our dressing room at Brixton Academy (The Ramones’ roadies. Joey Ramone came and apologised afterwards. He was a sweetheart). I was laughed at for being ugly in the music press. The NME said they would put our band, Kenickie, (three eighteen year old women and one guy) on the cover if we got naked and painted ourselves gold (‘in a ‘homage’ to The Slits and Manic Street Preachers’). We declined and they didn’t put us on the cover that week. My band was famous for between song chat and response to the audience (mainly from Lauren and Marie who remain two of the funniest cleverest people I have ever met). But this stage act was honed partly in response to getting shouted out to ‘get our tits out’ at gigs. Great things happened too and being in this band changed my life forever. But sexism was everyday and in your face.

I am chronicling these instances because it occurred to me after watching this documentary that as a woman in music you get the day to day sexism at the time and then afterwards you get the retrospective sexism as your stories get cut out. This isn’t about my particular band not being included – we were a very small piece of all of this. But I know women were there because I was there and I saw it and their stories matter too.

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