Wednesday, 11 March 2009

A Beginners Guide To Indie

Indie music is a non-genre as it seems to include anything that is popular without being a boy/girl band or fitting into R&B, Hip Hop, Dance, Rock or Metal. Indie music seems to be defined by appearing in NME or being played on the radio. The genre doesn’t exist in the USA (it’s called Alt Rock or similar) but American bands fit the UK definition so get branded when they come over here.

This is the music my sister currently listens to, mainly because this is the genre that describes the taste in music my Dad now has. She particularly likes the Ting Tings and Razorlight’s bland take on the genre. I would like to show her there is more to Indie than that style and with any luck she can see them as an influence which helped her get into better music.

I’m sure part of the reason I dislike the popular Indie sound is down to my love of independent music. In my opinion there are far better bands not enjoying the success they deserve. With this in mind I will be including my favorite Indie bands that inspired me when I was younger along with the bands that still inspire me now.

When I was at school/college I listened to a lot of Radio 1 especially John Peel and Steve Lamaq in the evenings. This influenced my taste in music by putting bands like Ash, At The Drive-in, Radiohead, Supergrass, Beastie Boys, The Rapture and The Libertines in front of me. Each artist represents a different style categorized within the Indie Genre.

The current breed of UK Indie has given us some great bands including Hot Club De Paris, The Holloway’s, Dirty Pretty Things, Dead 60’s, Bloc Party, Klaxons, Dustin’s Bar Mitzvah and many more to accompany the bands that originally inspired me. The newer breed of Indie includes so many styles of music that would fit into many different genres, making defining the genre almost impossible.

The USA also has some of the best Indie bands around at the moment all of which have a completely different sound to the UK scene. Bands like The Shins, Strokes, Dandy Warhol’s, Weezer, MGMT, LCD Sound System, Moldy Peaches and Radio 4 are keeping the genre as diverse as it has ever been. The American style often has noticeable comparisons to influential artists such as The Velvet Underground, Stooges, Ramones, Johnny Cash, Bruce Spingsteen and Elvis Costello.

It is hard to have an essential list of artists for a genre that is so diverse with influences from almost every scene that took place before the definition was decided. The list below features as many of the bands that inspired me as a teen and important bands of the current scene. I can leave the early stuff to my Dad who I'm sure already has brought the Smiths, Pixies, Blur, Pulp and Suede to my sister's attention.

Bloc Party
The Shins
Hot Club De Paris
The Strokes
White Stripes
Flaming Lips
Rival Schools
Shout Out Louds

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