New York Times Kills Indie Rock Genre

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I once got made fun of on the Internet for making a sports video with Arcade Fire in the background.  I believe the YouTube comment was,”this movie sucks and the indie shit music is ghay.” I felt proud of the harassment.  I finally got someone to comment.

Ben Sisario of the New York Times declared the death of “indie rock” in his article today, When Indie-Rock Genres Outnumber the Bands.  Ben’s argument is simple:  As indie rock has expanded into hundreds of subgenres the term has grown to mean everything and nothing.  When a friend asks “what type of music do you listen to?” you better be ready – “indie” doesn’t cut it anymore.

I agree with everything Ben says in his article – too many bands.  The scene is too big tent.  Kinda feels like the indie rock roller coaster has been climbing, ticking to the top of a very large drop, which isn’t far away.  But I feel the end is coming for another reason.

Here’s a list of things that make me think the end is near:

  • The National and Dan Deacon had songs used in Google Chrome commercial featured on Hulu.com  The National commecial
  • Matt & Kim song used in three different ads/sitcoms in 2009
  • Fashion.  Yes, the indie style is sold everywhere from American Apparel to Gap to Old Navy to Brooklyn Industries to Walmart.  It can be bought and sold and therefore is no longer relevant.

So what’s next?  Well, I see a return to the acoustic.  A return to the hippie indie rock.  Think Rusted Root, not Ryan Adams.  Please, don’t take this too literally, but I think Animal Collective has proven in the last few years that an abstract ‘hippie jam band’ can fit into popular culture given the right touch.

Other than that, I think it will just be harder to discover talent.  Most of the good stuff will be packaged and distributed to us via high cost concerts and simplistic advertising letting us know their company understands us.

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2 Responses to “New York Times Kills Indie Rock Genre”

  1. miq Says:

    i totally agree. but couldn’t there also be a positive to all this? the increasingly more mainstream that indie music gets, the more opportunity it creates for great new upcoming bands that aren’t yet overexposed thru mediums like clearchannel and Mtv? i mean, i suppose it is always one big vicious cycle, music scenes. always will be. but it seems that as more acceptance and attention get pushed to “the indie scene” (whatever that is these days), a lover of music will be the greatest of benefitors, as more and more exciting new bands are thrust into the forefront, until the bottom drops out.
    think of it this way: i’d rather hear a slew of new great debuts like bat for lashes, cymbals eat guitars, the antlers, etc. than wait for another damn coldplay album.

    • kdraves Says:

      Miq, you’re right on the money. I just think it’s important that we realize that indie, no longer is…indie. It’s become popular, mainstream; therefore, corps like MTV & Clear Channel & many others will feverishly try to capitalize on it. We should be aware of this and honest with ourselves, so we don’t get hit up by the man. And if we’re not, then let’s enjoy. The music is still grand.

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