Boring Indie

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Ben
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Re: Boring Indie

Post by Ben » Tue Oct 29, 2013 16:21

Has the noise escaped again? I tremble to think of it running free, rampaging across the countryside...

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Re: Boring Indie

Post by Trev » Tue Oct 29, 2013 16:56

Ben wrote:Has the noise escaped again? I tremble to think of it running free, rampaging across the countryside...
Yeah, it was last seen whistling towards Scandinavia. Naughty noise.
not really here

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Re: Boring Indie

Post by a layer of chips » Fri Mar 07, 2014 07:50

And they say working class music is dead.
Born in Athens, GA where their extended family remains firmly rooted, Andrew and Dan Callaway spent their childhood in the English countryside playing in rock bands with their father Liam, who taught overseas Air Force bands (and who was himself the son of a troubadour who performed throughout the post-WWII American South). Their interests and talents led them into the world of classical music, and the family moved back to the U.S., with Andrew studying composition and Dan studying french horn, both at conservatories in Ohio. After a few years of travel and exposure to a withering classical scene, the brothers returned to their roots, reuniting in the South and finding new life in the energy and creativity of indie rock.
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Re: Boring Indie

Post by a layer of chips » Mon Mar 17, 2014 09:23

Batten down the hatches and take six weeks' holiday on the moon...

http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/latest ... e-bbc.html

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Re: Boring Indie

Post by linus » Mon Mar 17, 2014 10:08

unfortunately, britpop is widely viewed (I'm generalising, but it feels like it is) as what all indie pop was building up to (from post-punk, through the 80's), the moment 'indie' crossed over and hit the big time, the moment it reached it's absolute peak of commerciality and expression and it's all been downhill since

that was what sucked about that 'scared to get happy' box, not that it was an exercise in nostalgia (one thing that was levelled against it) but that it applied this narrative (which is why it included a dearth of bands that went on to be britpop), the same narrative that's adopted seemingly by any history of creation records or any history of alternative british music

britpop was this homogenised thing that in the popular imagination became the blueprint for indie. 'spike island'/'glasto'/'knebworth'/drinks parties at 10 downing street/soundtracking the goal highlights on 'match of the day'/broadsheet style supplements, these were the venues for britpop, not back rooms of pubs or squats or late night radio or fanzines... those things became remnants of a loser, student, doleite past, a mark of failure, underachievement, lack of ambition

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Re: Boring Indie

Post by noLooking » Mon Mar 17, 2014 10:44

a fog of ideas wrote:unfortunately, britpop is widely viewed (I'm generalising, but it feels like it is) as what all indie pop was building up to (from post-punk, through the 80's), the moment 'indie' crossed over and hit the big time, the moment it reached it's absolute peak of commerciality and expression and it's all been downhill since
I quite agree. Whatever you think of the scenes leading up to Britpop (Shoegaze, Lofi, Riot Grrrl), they were an interesting way of trying to do something new, which was what thrilled me about indie records as a teenager. Britpop was the ultimate act of indie reductiveness - I want to be a star and I'll use anything, including indie cred, to get me there (see Louise 'I always admired Thatcher' Wener.) I remember when I first saw Oasis in the music press and writing them off because they had neither any real energy or musical ambition, they were just cheap 'attitude' versions of the current Creation sound without the tunes. Rather then being the apotheosis of indie, their venality killed it stone dead, as it became expected that you had to whore yourself to get hits. Perhaps the most inspiring thing about the current scene is, with the chart largely closed off to indie-pop groups after the digitisation of singles, more bands have stopped giving a shit about being stars and gotten back to the music.

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Re: Boring Indie

Post by linus » Mon Mar 17, 2014 11:19

andyiong wrote:with the chart largely closed off to indie-pop groups after the digitisation of singles, more bands have stopped giving a shit about being stars and gotten back to the music.
my worry is that indiepop (hyphenated or not) hasn't taken an audience with it... the notion of DIY, the appeal of that was enough of an 'attractor' for me (in my teens in the eighties) to go with it, to get behind it, to see that as it's essential appeal because it opened up so many opportunities for bands beyond 'getting in the charts' or 'getting signed to a major label', it offered freedoms you wouldn't get following the corporate label route, freedom to be political (even if it's just about claiming back the means of production, the means of expression), the freedom to be personal, the freedom to be 'weird' or mess with the form, to innovate or just to do things differently, the freedom not to have to pander to the market... of course, it also meant compromises, dedication and the constant notion of 'I could be getting paid for this rather than funding it out of working a day job/staying on the dole' or whatever...

the landscape for music (whether on a major or remaining defiantly independent) has change massively since the eighties, from sales of records to attendance at gigs but equally the social landscape has changed too... young people have a weight of expectation on them that I don't think I or my peers had in the eighties, signing on is looked down on, underachieving is frowned on, success/fulfilment/achievement are everything- to be into something that defies all that or doesn't measure success/fulfilment/achievement as purely material or monetary is to fly in the face of seemingly everything

I can see how punk manages to endure because it attracts 'square pegs' and people who are purposefully defiant, the indiepop blueprint (in my view) isn't so far removed from all that but as I've droned on about elsewhere on this forum kids into indiepop seem to see it only as something that happened in the past, pre-britpop, so the field mice, the smiths, felt, orange juice, for example are the go to icons/poster boys/signifiers of indiepop/C86/jangle/whatever you may want to call it... contemporary bands seem to be viewed with suspicion as if until their place in the pantheon is assured people don't want to commit just yet

scans of eighties fanzines are drooled over but today's blogs and zines are only read by those 'in the know' (friends and friends of friends)

I'm happy to be proved wrong, to be proved that this assumption of mine is a jaundiced one, I'd love to know about towns/cities that have thriving indiepop scenes or scenes in which indiepop bands are co-opted with whatever else is going on where promoters are in their teens and twenties and the audiences are primarily people in that same (admittedly broad) age group... because as well as meaning gigs are well attended it also means that arguably there's more chance of new bands forming

I do wonder if this thing called indiepop is a last gasp attempt by 30/40 year olds to retain something vital from their youth... and I wonder that because I'd like to be proved wrong

it's easy to point at 'boring/landfill indie' and sneer but if it's supposedly more vibrant, essential DIY alternative is in a poorer shape then it's a bit empty... I'm not saying there isn't great music, bands, singles, lps, live shows happening (there is!) but if the audience is diminishing and growing elderly then what happens next?

noLooking

Re: Boring Indie

Post by noLooking » Mon Mar 17, 2014 13:32

a fog of ideas wrote:
I do wonder if this thing called indiepop is a last gasp attempt by 30/40 year olds to retain something vital from their youth... and I wonder that because I'd like to be proved wrong

it's easy to point at 'boring/landfill indie' and sneer but if it's supposedly more vibrant, essential DIY alternative is in a poorer shape then it's a bit empty... I'm not saying there isn't great music, bands, singles, lps, live shows happening (there is!) but if the audience is diminishing and growing elderly then what happens next?
I worry about the same thing, and thought as much when I read about the other night's poorly attended gig over on the other thread. Are we simply trying to relive or prolong our youth? I don't know (it's always a sneer particularly directed at indie pop fans that they haven't grown up). Perhaps the hope is that the bands are still young, and clearly they still take their inspiration from that sound and try to twist it in to new forms, or as much as anyone ever does these days. Or maybe the point is that pop music as a whole has grown old and stopped looking for new ways of doing things; it's notable that, after the period I was talking about in the nineties, new scenes became little more than revivals of old scenes (perhaps the New Wave of New Wave was the most dispiriting name of them all, especially so given that it came round again a decade later; are Savages 'the new wave of new wave of new wave of…'?).

Certainly, the point I made about the charts is a double edged one; back in 2006, Belle and Sebastian were still having hits with little compromise and Camera Obscura were starting to break through on their own terms. Even someone like The Long Blondes got to the point where Rough Trade thought it was worth paying them. Now, a band with obvious commercial appeal like Veronica Falls can barely get arrested; a tiny bit of daytime airplay on 6music and a slagging for being 'twee' in the NME (though we can at least be grateful that no one reads it anymore). Maybe music needs that tension between success and independence to drive things forwards, otherwise it will stagnate eventually because it runs out of people who care.

The point about the fetishisation of the past is a good one, but don't people eventually want to break out of that and find something new? Once you've bought 'You Can't Hide You Love Forever', 'Hatful of Hollow' et.al, surely there's got to be somewhere else you'd want to go? After years of dipping a toe in indie-pop (I'm a fan of hyphens), both in terms of new and old stuff, the reason I've submerged myself in it much more in this last year is because internet access has given me the opportunity to find the more recent bands myself in blogs like A Layer of Chips, Skatterbrain, etc; the reason I didn't do it before is that I wasn't in a position to and no one was making it easy (or indeed possible at all) for me. Those bands make me feel just as alive as I did in my teenage years listening to the aforementioned stuff and I'd hope that, if The Smiths and Orange Juice are still appealing to the young folks these days (god, that makes me sound as old as I feel) as they seem to be, wouldn't that be the next step? Or was Simon Reynolds right, that the Youtube has meant that the young basically see everything as now and, with the enormous heritage overkill we have, it's difficult for new bands to emerge from it's shadow? Given that a great band such as, say, Shrag (not strictly indie-pop, but definitely of that fiercely independent attitude) would split after releasing an album that was raved about across the board because, as far as I can gather, they ran out of money may suggest that that is the case.

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Re: Boring Indie

Post by crystalball » Mon Mar 17, 2014 13:36

a fog of ideas wrote:it's easy to point at 'boring/landfill indie' and sneer but if it's supposedly more vibrant, essential DIY alternative is in a poorer shape then it's a bit empty... I'm not saying there isn't great music, bands, singles, lps, live shows happening (there is!) but if the audience is diminishing and growing elderly then what happens next?
But but but... that's because the world is shit. The world is utterly consumed by marketing and hopelessness. That doesn't make the DIY scene empty - I'd argue quite the opposite: it makes it vital and necessary. The five people who keep pulling the other way, they are godlike. I know it feels thankless but it's all we have and, man, it's the best. I'll never stop feeling lucky for chancing upon this world and, for all its faults, it's principled and generous and, in my case, even a good place to feel sad in. There is just too much good stuff to let go.

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Re: Boring Indie

Post by a layer of chips » Mon Mar 17, 2014 13:47

I think we can all agree that our tectonic plates didn't shift when Oasis first appeared on Radio 1 though, can't we? I mean, I can't even reach my tectonic plates these days, but I could back then and they remained very, very steady indeed.

I quite enjoyed some elements of the immediately-before-Britpop era. There seemed to be some really, really good, inventive music around from all over the place. And then along came fucking Oasis and ruined it all. I even enjoyed the first two Shed 7 singles. Hold me.

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Re: Boring Indie

Post by a layer of chips » Mon Mar 17, 2014 13:51

Also: are they really talking to James Brown about Loaded? That'll be a proper shit sandwich of a conversation, in which Brown will try and justify all his crimes by using phrases like "zeitgeist". Shitehawk.

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Re: Boring Indie

Post by noLooking » Mon Mar 17, 2014 13:58

crystalball wrote:
a fog of ideas wrote:it's easy to point at 'boring/landfill indie' and sneer but if it's supposedly more vibrant, essential DIY alternative is in a poorer shape then it's a bit empty... I'm not saying there isn't great music, bands, singles, lps, live shows happening (there is!) but if the audience is diminishing and growing elderly then what happens next?
But but but... that's because the world is shit. The world is utterly consumed by marketing and hopelessness. That doesn't make the DIY scene empty - I'd argue quite the opposite: it makes it vital and necessary.
Absolutely. Good pop music is always about saying 'no' to some extent, if not in overt message then in spirit. And even if this particular art form dies out (and I hope to buggery it doesn't), there will be something vital there to take it's place, even if it's not necessarily in the same form. The current media focus at the moment on the gentrification of pop is a bit of a blind; if pop music did become completely gentrified and absorbed into mainstream culture, it would become irrelevant in the way that the Labour Party become to a large degree irrelevant whenever they become, as ALOC put it nicely the other day, 'the establishment's second eleven'. But other forms will rise, because there will always be someone who notices that the prevailing culture is bullshit, that it stinks and who wants to strike against it one way or another. Whether that art will be as life affirming to myself as, say, 'Steaming Train', is open to question. But it will be to someone. (Can you tell I've got sod-all to do today?)

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Re: Boring Indie

Post by linus » Mon Mar 17, 2014 14:00

crystalball wrote:But but but... that's because the world is shit. The world is utterly consumed by marketing and hopelessness. That doesn't make the DIY scene empty - I'd argue quite the opposite: it makes it vital and necessary. The five people who keep pulling the other way, they are godlike. I know it feels thankless but it's all we have and, man, it's the best. I'll never stop feeling lucky for chancing upon this world and, for all its faults, it's principled and generous and, in my case, even a good place to feel sad in. There is just too much good stuff to let go.
Oh, I agree competently, my view is 'it's all here, come and get it' but if audiences are dwindling then am I just over-romanticising it? Could I be mistaken?

My internal voice says 'so what?' and to keep on keeping on regardless, obstinately (flicking v's to the rest of the world) but if it becomes increasingly frustrating/difficult for promoters, bands, labels to bother then it just becomes a nostalgia exercise, a historical re-enactment thing, an affected gesture (I'm sure that's some people's view of socialism too)

There are people from bands 20/30 years ago who remain very supportive of new bands and (dread phrase) the scene, that see the links, the 'continuum', but equally you have older exponents of 'all this' who wither and sneer at 'the now', likewise stick a band 'of vintage' on a bill and some people dismiss them as 'old farts' reliving their youth

the DIY gig circuit isn't just at the mercy of audiences staying in or going out, venues have shut down, the bottom line dictates... I'm not expressing anything new, we've had conversation like this many times, but it feels like ever decreasing circles to me

and we're all Richard Briers

Indietracks is our Penelope Wilton

Capitalism is presumably Peter Egan

I've not really thought this analogy through

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Re: Boring Indie

Post by tompony » Mon Mar 17, 2014 14:01

Britpop was certainly my gateway into finding more interesting music, and I only have fond memories of the Evening Session (I remember it being the first place that I heard Spearmint, Spraydog, Urusei Yatsura, Khaya and plenty of other bands that shaped my teenage music listening), so I can't say that I reacted with any particular horror to that announcement (apart from the bit where Jo Whiley mentions "the Britpop wars", obviously). I probably won't actually listen to / watch any of it though, unless there's something on 6music while I'm doing the washing up.

I never realised what indiepop was until somebody told me I was in a band that made it, though, so my opinion is most likely quite different from the forum as a whole.

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Re: Boring Indie

Post by linus » Mon Mar 17, 2014 14:01

a layer of chips wrote:I think we can all agree that our tectonic plates didn't shift when Oasis first appeared on Radio 1 though, can't we?
Yeh, but 'we' are few and they are many

History is written by the winners or something

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Re: Boring Indie

Post by leon » Mon Mar 17, 2014 14:09

.
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Re: Boring Indie

Post by noLooking » Mon Mar 17, 2014 14:22

a fog of ideas wrote:History is written by the winners or something
Winning's not everything. It's interesting to see that people are much nicer about Talulah Gosh and the Field Mice these days than they ever were at the time. I've don't think I've seen a bad review for 'Was it Just a Dream'. A good record has a way of staying relevant, even if it's only a few people keeping the flame alive. To paraphrase Mark E. Smith, and be a bit more positive than I've been, the jangly pop sound will rise again!

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Re: Boring Indie

Post by tonieee » Mon Mar 17, 2014 14:42

a fog of ideas wrote:and we're all Richard Briers
I'm not. I'm Howard and Hilda.

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Re: Boring Indie

Post by RITH » Mon Mar 17, 2014 14:45

Music isn’t a competition, and the people operating in the DIY community seem to be one of the only ones still getting that. Which is exactly why I hold it close to my heart.

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Re: Boring Indie

Post by linus » Mon Mar 17, 2014 15:57

all I meant by that 'history is written by the winners' thing (and the reason 'the winners' was italicised) is that established histories have a knack of seeping into the folk memory and becoming established truths... how criticisms of something become the things that stereotype that thing and become the common preconception... it's why people get cynical, why bands might choose to distance themselves from the very thing that adopted them or where they best fit at their formation, it's why the new form of an existing form gets looked down on, run down as a poor facsimile and all that

I'm not saying I agree with any of that but I think it's a factor in why indiepop/indie-pop/DIY pop is often and perhaps increasingly overlooked/dismissed... it's either that or it's because the contemporary bands aren't as good as we think they are and I'm not having that

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