Landfill Indie

This is quite a good article from yesterday’s Independent on Sunday:

http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/music/features/does-the-world-need-another-indie-band-870520.html

The only thing I wonder is why has it taken the mainstream press so long to cotton on that the world is being sold wave upon wave of generic identikit shite? It’s been thus for many years, with NME churning “best new band in Britain” claimants almost weekly – all of whom have one tenth-hand idea between them.

Still, hopefully the indie-cattle are tiring of being forcefed tasteless straw. Maybe mainstream music is about to get interesting again. I’m not holding my breath.

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7 responses to “Landfill Indie

  1. Yeah,
    I’m with you with this one. I was watching Glastonbury (or some festival highlights on the beeb) last year when they showed highlights of The View followed by The Kooks followed by another band. I cottoned on that they sounded all the same and quite lame.

    The View, in my opinion, are the worst offenders. Even their name is mediocre.

  2. I would probably agree with you, Alun, only I have no idea who most of these bands are. I know the names, of course. But I would struggle to identify any of them if I heard them. It just sounds like beige background noise to me.

  3. hmmmm.

    the independent has covered all of the bands mentioned in this article in one form or another be it a pointless two star review, or a feature or some baiting like the piece you linked to. can’t remember the last ipecac or constellation or southern or 12k or ecstatic peace record/artist they’ve mentioned. part of the problem rather than the solution i feel.

    so what you’ve got here is some middle aged middle class journo moaning about what the kids and proles are listening to. in fact everybody interviewed seems to be some late thirties early forties ex-biz person bitter coz nobody listens to the music they used to listen to. andrew collins? really?

    hasn’t it always been like this anyway? it’s just now there’s more. of everything.

    indie gave us the smiths, stone roses, blur, arctic monkeys. and? i don’t rate any of these bands so am i out the ‘indie’ club? jay-z the worlds greatest rapper? must’ve missed that meeting. the verve? come on.

    there is a real indie scene out there. although nobody in the article bothered to mention anything about the myriad of labels and festivals and net-based shenanigans going on for the last what ten fifteeen years. beyond subpop who i’m sure are part owned by a major now anyway.

    grumblegrumblegrumble…

  4. I agree with most of what you say. Especially when he starts waxing fondly about shite indie bands of the past, comparing them to the shite indie bands of today. But, although the writer is coming from the frustrated indie fan wants his guitar bands back angle, the points about today’s scene are valid.

    There’s always been a healthy underground, and it remains so now. But the gap between it and the mainstream has never seemed so cavernous. Perhaps that doesn’t matter. Good music is there if you want to look for it, and it’s never been so easy to access as it is today, so there’s no excuse not to be adventurous. But it would be nice to live in a time when the pop mainstream wasn’t so crushingly awful as it is now.

    Also, it’s easy to poke fun at the mainstream press and their music coverage. But I think that’s one area that has improved vastly since I were a lad. Yes, the mainstream gets a lot of coverage – much of which is far more positive than the music deserves. But you are far more likely to see features on Ipecac, Constellation etc artists in the Guardian than you are in NME, Mojo, Uncut or Q. When you bear in mind that it’s a publication aimed at a general audience, I think their coverage is very good, and not patronizing. I think it’s unfair to expect a daily newspaper’s music coverage to come across like a cross between the Wire and Maximum Rock & Roll!

  5. is the gap between mainstream and independent that big? i’m not even sure what mainstream pop means anyway. outside of the kiddy market (which is a genuinely new phenomenon) it just seems to be the usual rubbish and a few sparkling gems. personally i can’t say it’s ever been any different. and if we’re being honest most of everything’s not up to much whether it’s indie or mainstream.

    i like pop music. always have done. you sure as fuck can’t dance to sunburned hand of the man or sing along to autechre. it’s as good/rubbish as it’s always been and i’ll happily counter any claims to it not being sophisticated or adventurous. a fact which seems solely based on the number of lads with guitars on magazine covers or on the dead-in-the-water chart rundown. neither of which i believe is representative of mainstream pop.

    what the mainstream music press do is as anachronistic as the business model record companies are clinging to. i stopped buying magazines years ago mainly because they’re covering what sells advertising. so you get a ten page spread on bowie or the manics or libertines followed inevitably by a two star review. inexorably you’re readership declines.

    and yeah sadly you are more likely to see ipecac or constellation in the guardian on a saturday but i don’t expect a daily to come across like the wire / maximum rock & roll (would be nice though). in terms of music coverage they suffer the same issues as the nme. here’s a full page devoted to me cloyingly interviewing jon fratelli down the pub. tune in next week for the inevitable slating of how average they are. it’s as pointless as the guardian sending a middle aged man to review the new hulk movie. which they snootily did. why bother. you don’t like it. your readership (who i’ll argue are not a general audience) in all likelihood doesn’t like it. who gains anything from this? nobody.

    jesus thats quite a ramble….

  6. So many points, so little time

    You seem to have opened up about half a dozen new topics for debate there!

    For my money, I would say pop music is in a pretty parlous state. You could say it has been for a couple of decades. The thing is, it’s a hard thing to debate when the easy counter is that old fuddy-duddies like me are not the target audience, and are always going to pine for the pop of their youth. But I think it’s more a cultural shift. It’s simply not as important to kids today as it was to kids in my day.

    The kiddy market isn’t a new phenomenon – remember the Bay City Rollers, the Osmonds, Bros. It’s always been there clogging up the airwaves, and it’s always been shite.

    The music press as PR machine is something that has been gradually getting worse for many years now. It’s always been about advertising dollar and unit-shifting for most music publications, it’s just that record companies took a very long time to realise that they had the power in the relationship – a balance that’s tipped further in their favour with the explosion of new media. An interview in Q isn’t so important any more, so if they want one, they’d better be positive.

    Anyway, I don’t think we actually disagree very much. As long as there’s good music out there, I’m perfectly happy for it to co-exist with a great bloated sea of shit. Just as the good music writing co-exists with forests’ worth of ignorant PR puff

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