The Full Wiki

Indie pop: Wikis

  
  
  
  

Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.

Encyclopedia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Indie pop
Stylistic origins Punk rock
Post-punk
Pop punk
Power Pop
Jangle pop
1960s' girl groups
Cultural origins early 1980s, United Kingdom
Typical instruments Guitar - Bass - drums - Keyboard
Mainstream popularity 1980s United Kingdom, moderate 2010s worldwide
Derivative forms riot grrrl
Subgenres
C86 - Cuddlecore - Twee pop
Regional scenes
England - Scotland - Wales - Sweden - Ireland, United States, Australia
Other topics
Indie rockTimeline of alternative rock

Indie pop is a genre of alternative rock music that originated in the United Kingdom in the mid 1980s, with its roots in the Scottish post-punk bands on the Postcard Records label in the early '80s such as Orange Juice and Josef K and the dominant UK independent band of the mid eighties, The Smiths.[1] While the term 'indie' had been used for some time to describe artists on independent labels (and the labels themselves), the key moment in the naming of the genre[2] was the release of NME's C86 tape in 1986. Although featuring a wide range of bands including Primal Scream, Bogshed, Half Man Half Biscuit, and The Wedding Present, it over time became shorthand for a genre known by a variety of terms. Initially it was dubbed 'C86' (after the tape itself), the more ambiguous indie pop, Cutie or a term coined by John Peel: shambling bands. Retrospectively, especially in the United States,[3] the terms twee[2] and twee pop were used, initially ironically, due to what commentators called the "revolt into childhood" of its followers.

Musically its key characteristics were jangling guitars, a love of sixties pop and often fey, innocent lyrics. The UK label Sarah Records and its most popular band The Field Mice, although more diverse than the label indicates, were probably its most typical proponents. It was also inspired by the DIY scene of punk and there was a thriving fanzine, label and club and gig circuit. Scenes later developed in the United States particularly around labels such as K Records. Genres such as Riot Grrrl and bands as diverse as Nirvana, Manic Street Preachers, and Belle and Sebastian have all acknowledged its influence.

In the mid to late 80s, indie pop was criticized for its tweeness and underachievement but many now argue that C86 and the birth of the genre was a pivotal moment for independent music in the UK.[4] It continues to have a strong following and inspire musicians, not just in the UK but around the world with new labels, clubs and bands devoted to the sound.

Contents

Roots

The birth of indie pop can be traced back to the post-punk explosion in small photocopied fanzines, and small shop-based record labels, for example Glasgow's Postcard Records and London's Rough Trade Records. The publication in Record Business of the first weekly indie singles and album charts during the week ending January 19, 1980 and the adoption of such charts in the UK music press stimulated activity. To reflect this, the British musical weekly New Musical Express released an era-defining compilation cassette called C81. This cassette featured a wide range of groups, reflecting the different approaches of the immediate post-punk era.

History

Five years later NME followed up C81 with C86. Similarly designed to reflect the new music scene of the time in the UK, it is now seen as the birth of "indie" in the UK. The UK music press, in this period, was extremely competitive with 4 weekly papers documenting new bands and trends and the grouping of bands, often artificially, with an overarching label to heighten interest or sell copies was commonplace. NME journalists of the period now agree that C86 was a typical example but also a by product of NME's "hip hop wars";[5] a schism on the paper (and amongst readers) between enthusiasts of the contemporary progressive black music such as Public Enemy and Mantronix and the fans of traditional white rock.

Featuring key early bands of the genre such as The Pastels, The Shop Assistants and Primal Scream, the tape, despite its subsequent notoriety, also featured bands with a much harder punkier shambling sound featuring tracks from as many as 5 bands from the Ron Johnson label; Their loud quirkiness was completely at odds with the Byrdsy guitars and fey melodies of what came to be known as 'C86' bands.

Over time the cassette became a shorthand for a movement within the British indie scene, often derided for its twee or "cuteness", jangly guitars, the bowl haircuts of its singers and asexual looks of its followers. This was applied to bands whether they had been on the tape or not such as The June Brides and Biff Bang Pow!. Some later became associated with the sound but had yet to emerge such as Talulah Gosh, Razorcuts or the BMX Bandits who in 1990 released an album called C86. The entire Sarah Records roster was dogged with associations with C86 and later as "Sarah bands" although the label's first release wasn't until 1987.

A link between a genre and the C86 tape is often disputed by journalists and the bands on the tape. Everett True has argued that "C86 didn't actually exist as a sound, or style. I find it weird, bordering on surreal, that people are starting to use it as a description again".[6] Geoff Taylor from Age of Chance agreed. "We never considered ourselves part of any scene. I’m not sure that the public at large did either, to be honest We were just an independent band around at that same time as the others."[7] Bob Stanley acknowledges that participants at the time reacted against lazy labelling but insists they shared an approach;

Of course the "scene", like any scene, barely existed. Like squabbling Marxist factions, groups who had much in common built up petty rivalries. The June Brides and the Jasmine Minks were the biggest names at Alan McGee's Living Room Club and couldn't stand the sight of each other. Only when the Jesus and Mary Chain exploded and stole their two headed crown did they realise they were basically soulmates.[4]

Nicky Wire remembers that it was the bands' very independence that gave the scene coherence; "People were doing everything themselves: making their own records, doing the artwork, gluing the sleeves together, releasing them and sending them out, writing fanzines because the music press lost interest really quickly."[8]

Influences

Simon Reynolds talking about the political/cultural aspect of the scene referred to a "revolt into childhood". Style magazine i-D in an article from 1986 similarly concluded that the followers of the genre had an ingenuous devotion.

Childlike innocence and assumed naivety permeate the Cutie scene – their clothes are asexual, their haircuts are fringes, their colours are pastel. Cuties like Penguin modern classics, sweets, ginger beer, vegetables, and anoraks. Heroes include Christopher RobinBuzzcocks and The Undertones.[9]

Rather more caustically, David Stubbs, in a derogatory Melody Maker review of the C86 tape, claimed that these were bands "for whom Camberwick Green is a sort of Palestine"

Musically in his book Time Travel, pop historian Jon Savage traced the origins of C86 and indie pop to the Velvet Underground's eponymous third album but perhaps a more obvious musical influence however was the pop side of post-punk bands such as The Television Personalities, the Swell Maps and Dolly Mixture. The most significant punk rock influences are the The Undertones, Buzzcocks and The Ramones, who had catchy pop melodies in their songs. C86 was also rooted in the Scottish post-punk bands of the early 1980s on the independent Postcard label: Orange Juice, Aztec Camera, The Fire Engines and Josef K (although those bands Soul/funk/disco influences were usually forgotten). Other influences were the DIY punk ethic represented by fanzines from the period such as The Legend!, Are You Scared To Get Happy?, Baby Honey, Rox, Simply Thrilled, Pure Popcorn and Hungry Beat! who often featured flexis of bands who then became associated with C86. The movement continued to hold sway into the 1990s with many of the riot grrl bands citing C86 as an influence and finally reached a commercial peak with the success of Belle and Sebastian.

Twee pop and indie pop in the US

In the United States, a similar revolution in underground pop had been taking place in Olympia, Washington. Beat Happening, an indie band fronted by Calvin Johnson and Heather Lewis, who additionally started a record label called K Records, led this movement. Their aesthetic was quite similar to their British cohorts, with hand-drawn photocopied sleeves and stripped-down instrumentation playing pop that was well out of step with the then-current hardcore punk scene. The first Beat Happening record, on K, was released in 1985. Other labels sprang up across the country, including Bus Stop (Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, from 1987); Picturebook (Barrington, Illinois, from 1987), Harriet (Cambridge, Massachusetts, from 1989) and Slumberland (Silver Spring, Maryland, from 1989, later California), bringing together the American sound of Beat Happening, which was a little rawer and more pared-down, with the British indie pop of Sarah and others, which was sometimes softer, more harmonious, and more twee. Important groups included Tiger Trap, and Honeybunch.

A punk-influenced variant of indie pop, prominent in the mid-1990s, was dubbed "cuddlecore". Led by bands such as cub, Bunnygrunt and Maow, cuddlecore was marked by harmony vocals and pop melodies atop a punk-style musical backing. Cuddlecore bands were usually, although not always, all-female and essentially represented a more pop-oriented variation on the then-current riot grrrl scene.

In the United States indie pop is also commonly known as twee or twee pop. The term has been rejected and then adopted by many of the bands whose sound has been described this way. This has spawned inside jokes like the T-shirts that read "Twee as Fuck" or "Twee Fucker".[10]

International

In addition to the United Kingdom and the United States, there has been a significant school of bands since 1985 in New Zealand, recording for Flying Nun Records, most notably the trio of The Bats, The Chills, and The Clean. Instantly recognizable for their insistent jangle-guitar strums and sweet, high male choirboy voices, these bands were the model for much of what followed in other countries. France, Germany, Sweden, Japan, Philippines, Indonesia, Greece, Spain, Canada, Peru and Mexico all have significant indie pop scenes. Elefant Records (Spain) and Summershine Records (Australia) are notable labels in the international development of indie pop.

Today

In 2004 the UK focused Rough Trade Shops compilation Indiepop Vol 1 effectively documented the history of the sound acknowledging that it pre- and post-dated 1986. London clubs such as How Does it Feel to be Loved?,[11] continue to air tracks from the tape. It is Sweden, however, where the sound has most taken hold with a raft of labels like Labrador Records[12] and the success of indie pop artists from that country, notably Peter Bjorn and John and Shout Out Louds. Other recent indie pop acts include Welsh septet Los Campesinos!, Scottish group Camera Obscura, Australian acts Architecture in Helsinki and The Crayon Fields, and American groups such as The Pains of Being Pure at Heart and Au Revoir Simone.

See also

References

  1. ^ Rogers, Jude (July 8, 2007), "Smells like Indie Spirit", The Observer, http://music.guardian.co.uk/pop/story/0,,2121219,00.html .
  2. ^ a b "Twee; Paul Morley's Guide to Musical Genres", BBC Radio 2, June 10, 2008, http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00bz94n .
  3. ^ Abebe, Nitsuh (October 24, 2005), "Twee as Fuck: The Story of Indie Pop", Pitchfork Media, http://pitchfork.com/features/articles/6176-twee-as-fuck/ .
  4. ^ a b Stanley, Bob Sleevenotes to CD86.
  5. ^ "NME: Still Rocking at 50", BBC News, 24 February 2002, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/music/1836411.stm .
  6. ^ True, Everett (22 July 2005), Plan B Magazine Blog, http://planbmag.com/blogs/staff/2005/07/22/friday-22-july/ .
  7. ^ Taylor, Geoff, Interview, ireallylovemusic vs Age of Chance, http://www.ireallylovemusic.co.uk/interviews/irlm_vs_aoc.html .
  8. ^ Wire, Nicky (October 25, 2006), "The Birth of Uncool", The Guardian, http://arts.guardian.co.uk/features/story/0,,1930836,00.html .
  9. ^ As quoted in Redhead, Steve (1990), End-of-the-Century Party, Youth and Pop Towards 2000, Manchester: Manchester University Press, p. 82, ISBN 0719028264 .
  10. ^ Abebe, Nitsuh (2005-10-24), Twee as Fuck, Pitchfork Media, http://www.pitchforkmedia.com/article/feature/10242/Twee_as_Fuck, retrieved 2006-12-15 .
  11. ^ Hann, Michael, "Fey City Rollers", The Guardian, http://arts.guardian.co.uk/features/story/0,11710,1325674,00.html .
  12. ^ Rogers, Jude, "Stockholm Syndrome", The Guardian, http://arts.guardian.co.uk/filmandmusic/story/0,,1872154,00.html .

Further reading

External links


Indie pop
Stylistic origins Punk rock
Post-punk
Power pop
1960s' girl groups
Cultural origins Early 1980s, United Kingdom
Typical instruments Vocals - Guitar - Bass - Drums
Mainstream popularity High throughout Europe in the early 2010s, especially in the UK
Derivative forms Riot grrrl
Subgenres
C86 - Cuddlecore - Twee pop
Regional scenes
England - Scotland - Wales - Sweden - Ireland, United States - Australia
Other topics
Indie rockPop punk - Timeline of alternative rock

Indie pop is a genre of alternative rock music that originated in the United Kingdom in the mid 1980s, with its roots in the Scottish post-punk bands on the Postcard Records label in the early '80s, such as Orange Juice, Josef K and Aztec Camera, and the dominant UK independent band of the mid eighties, The Smiths.[citation needed] While the term 'indie' had been used for some time to describe artists on independent labels (and the labels themselves), the key moment in the naming of the genre[1] was the release of NME's C86 tape in 1986. Although featuring a wide range of bands, including Primal Scream, Bogshed, Half Man Half Biscuit and The Wedding Present, it over time became shorthand for a genre known by a variety of terms. Initially it was dubbed 'C86' (after the tape itself), the more ambiguous indie pop, Cutie or a term coined by John Peel: shambling bands. Retrospectively, especially in the United States,[2] the terms twee[1] and twee pop were used, initially ironically, due to what commentators called the "revolt into childhood" of its followers.

Musically its key characteristics were jangling guitars, a love of sixties pop and often fey, innocent lyrics. The UK label Sarah Records and its most popular bands The Field Mice and Heavenly, although more diverse than the label indicates, were probably its most typical proponents. It was also inspired by the DIY scene of punk and there was a thriving fanzine, label and club and gig circuit. Scenes later developed in the United States particularly around labels such as K Records. Genres such as riot grrrl and bands as diverse as Nirvana and Manic Street Preachers have acknowledged its influence.

In the mid to late 80s, indie pop was criticized for its tweeness and underachievement, but many now argue that C86 and the birth of the genre was a pivotal moment for independent music in the UK.[3] It continues to have a strong following and inspire musicians, not just in the UK but around the world with new labels, clubs and bands devoted to the sound.

Contents

Roots

The birth of indie pop can be traced back to the post-punk explosion in small photocopied fanzines, and small shop-based record labels, for example, Glasgow's Postcard Records and London's Rough Trade Records. The publication in Record Business of the first weekly indie singles and album charts during the week ending January 19, 1980 and the adoption of such charts in the UK music press stimulated activity. To reflect this, the British musical weekly New Musical Express released an era-defining compilation cassette called C81. This cassette featured a wide range of groups, reflecting the different approaches of the immediate post-punk era.

History

Five years later NME followed up C81 with C86. Similarly designed to reflect the new music scene of the time in the UK, it is now seen as the birth of so-called "twee pop" in the UK. The UK music press, in this period, was extremely competitive with 4 weekly papers documenting new bands and trends and the grouping of bands, often artificially, with an overarching label to heighten interest or sell copies was commonplace. NME journalists of the period now agree that C86 was a typical example, but also a by product of NME's "hip hop wars";[4] a schism on the paper (and amongst readers) between enthusiasts of the contemporary progressive black music such as Public Enemy and Mantronix and the fans of traditional white rock.

Featuring key early bands of the genre such as The Pastels, The Shop Assistants and Primal Scream, the tape, despite its subsequent notoriety, also featured bands with a much harder punkier shambling sound featuring tracks from as many as 5 bands from the Ron Johnson label; their loud quirkiness was completely at odds with the Byrdsy guitars and fey melodies of what came to be known as 'C86' bands.

Over time the cassette became a shorthand for a movement within the British indie scene, often derided for its twee or "cuteness", jangly guitars, the bowl haircuts of its singers and asexual looks of its followers. This was applied to bands whether they had been on the tape or not such as The June Brides and Biff Bang Pow!. Some later became associated with the sound but had yet to emerge such as Talulah Gosh, Razorcuts or the BMX Bandits, who in 1990 released an album called C86. The entire Sarah Records roster was dogged with associations with C86 and later as "Sarah bands", although the label's first release wasn't until 1987.

A link between a genre and the C86 tape is often disputed by journalists and the bands on the tape. Everett True has argued that "C86 didn't actually exist as a sound, or style. I find it weird, bordering on surreal, that people are starting to use it as a description again".[5] Geoff Taylor from Age of Chance agreed. "We never considered ourselves part of any scene. I’m not sure that the public at large did either, to be honest. We were just an independent band around at that same time as the others."[6] Bob Stanley acknowledges that participants at the time reacted against lazy labelling, but insists they shared an approach;

Of course the "scene", like any scene, barely existed. Like squabbling Marxist factions, groups who had much in common built up petty rivalries. The June Brides and the Jasmine Minks were the biggest names at Alan McGee's Living Room Club and couldn't stand the sight of each other. Only when the Jesus and Mary Chain exploded and stole their two headed crown did they realise they were basically soulmates.[3]

Manic Street Preachers bassist Nicky Wire remembers that it was the bands' very independence that gave the scene coherence; "People were doing everything themselves: making their own records, doing the artwork, gluing the sleeves together, releasing them and sending them out, writing fanzines because the music press lost interest really quickly."[7]

Influences

Simon Reynolds talking about the political/cultural aspect of the scene referred to a "revolt into childhood". Style magazine i-D in an article from 1986 similarly concluded that the followers of the genre had an ingenuous devotion.

Childlike innocence and assumed naivety permeate the Cutie scene – their clothes are asexual, their haircuts are fringes, their colours are pastel. Cuties like Penguin modern classics, sweets, ginger beer, vegetables, and anoraks. Heroes include Christopher RobinBuzzcocks and The Undertones.[8]

Rather more caustically, David Stubbs, in a derogatory Melody Maker review of the C86 tape, claimed that these were bands "for whom Camberwick Green is a sort of Palestine".

Musically in his book Time Travel, pop historian Jon Savage traced the origins of C86 and indie pop to the Velvet Underground's eponymous third album, but perhaps a more obvious musical influence however was the pop side of post-punk bands such as The Television Personalities, the Swell Maps and Dolly Mixture. The most significant punk rock influences are The Undertones, the Buzzcocks and the Ramones, who had catchy power pop melodies in their songs. C86 was also rooted in the Scottish post-punk bands of the early 1980s on the independent Postcard label: Orange Juice, Aztec Camera, The Fire Engines and Josef K (although those bands' soul, funk and disco influences were usually forgotten). Other influences were the DIY punk ethic represented by fanzines from the period such as The Legend!, Are You Scared To Get Happy?, Baby Honey, Rox, Simply Thrilled, Pure Popcorn and Hungry Beat! who often featured flexis of bands who then became associated with C86. The movement continued to hold sway into the 1990s with many of the riot grrl bands citing C86 as an influence and finally reached a commercial peak with the success of Scottish band Belle and Sebastian during the mid 1990s.

Twee pop and indie pop in the US

In Olympia, Washington a similar movement was taking place. Beat Happening, an indie band fronted by Calvin Johnson and Heather Lewis, who additionally started a record label called K Records, led this movement. Their aesthetic was quite similar to their British cohorts, with hand-drawn photocopied sleeves and stripped-down instrumentation playing pop that was well out of step with the then-current hardcore punk scene. The first Beat Happening record, on K, was released in 1985. Other labels sprang up across the country, including Bus Stop (Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, from 1987); Picturebook (Barrington, Illinois, from 1987), Harriet (Cambridge, Massachusetts, from 1989) and Slumberland (Silver Spring, Maryland, from 1989, later California), bringing together the American sound of Beat Happening, which was a little rawer and more pared-down, with the British indie pop of Sarah and others, which was sometimes softer, more harmonious, and more twee. Important groups included Tiger Trap and Honeybunch

A punk-influenced variant of indie pop, prominent in the mid-1990s, was dubbed "cuddlecore."[9] Led by bands such as Cub, Bunnygrunt and Maow, cuddlecore was marked by harmony vocals and pop melodies atop a punk-style musical backing. Cuddlecore bands were usually, although not always, all-female and essentially represented a more pop-oriented variation on the then-current riot grrrl scene.

In the United States indie pop is also commonly known as twee or twee pop. The term has been rejected and then adopted by many of the bands whose sound has been described this way.

International

In addition to the United Kingdom and the United States, there has been a significant school of bands since 1980 in New Zealand, recording for Flying Nun Records, most notably the trio of The Bats, The Chills and The Clean. Instantly recognizable for their insistent jangle-guitar strums and sweet, high male choirboy voices, these bands were the model for much of what followed in other countries. France, Germany, Sweden, Japan, Philippines, Indonesia, Greece, Spain, Canada, Peru and Mexico all have significant indie pop scenes. Elefant Records (Spain) and Summershine Records (Australia) are notable labels in the international development of indie pop.

Resurgence

In 2004 the UK focused Rough Trade Shops compilation Indiepop Vol 1 effectively documented the history of the sound acknowledging that it pre- and post-dated 1986. London clubs such as How Does it Feel to be Loved?[10] continue to air tracks from the tape. In the mid-2000s, Sweden became a major exporter of indie pop with the such as Labrador Records[11] and the success of indie pop artists from that country, notably Peter Bjorn and John, Shout Out Louds and Jens Lekman. Other indie pop acts which became popular during the late 2000s include British septet Los Campesinos!, Australian group Architecture in Helsinki, Scottish group Camera Obscura, and American groups such as The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, The Drums and Au Revoir Simone.

See also

References

  1. ^ a b "Twee; Paul Morley's Guide to Musical Genres", BBC Radio 2, June 10, 2008, http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00bz94n .
  2. ^ Abebe, Nitsuh (October 24, 2005), "Twee as Fuck: The Story of Indie Pop", Pitchfork Media, http://pitchfork.com/features/articles/6176-twee-as-fuck/ .
  3. ^ a b Stanley, Bob Sleevenotes to CD86.
  4. ^ "NME: Still Rocking at 50", BBC News, 24 February 2002, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/music/1836411.stm .
  5. ^ True, Everett (22 July 2005), Plan B Magazine Blog, http://planbmag.com/blogs/staff/2005/07/22/friday-22-july/ .
  6. ^ Taylor, Geoff, Interview, ireallylovemusic vs Age of Chance, http://www.ireallylovemusic.co.uk/interviews/irlm_vs_aoc.html .
  7. ^ Wire, Nicky (October 25, 2006), "The Birth of Uncool", The Guardian (London), http://arts.guardian.co.uk/features/story/0,,1930836,00.html .
  8. ^ As quoted in Redhead, Steve (1990), [Expression error: Unexpected < operator End-of-the-Century Party, Youth and Pop Towards 2000], Manchester: Manchester University Press, p. 82, ISBN 0719028264 .
  9. ^ Hogan, Marc (2007-05-10), Pitchfork: Album Reviews: Cub: Betti-Cola / Come Out Come Out, Pitchfork Media, http://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/11902-betti-cola-come-out-come-out/, retrieved 2010-05-17 
  10. ^ Hann, Michael (October 13, 2004), "Fey City Rollers", The Guardian (London), http://arts.guardian.co.uk/features/story/0,11710,1325674,00.html, retrieved May 5, 2010 .
  11. ^ Rogers, Jude (September 15, 2006), "Stockholm Syndrome", The Guardian (London), http://arts.guardian.co.uk/filmandmusic/story/0,,1872154,00.html, retrieved May 5, 2010 .

Further reading

External links


Simple English

Indie pop is a style of indie music which is more pop orientated, and tuneful, while Indie rock can sometimes be more edgy. Early indie pop bands include The Shop Assistants or The Pastels. More recent bands in the genre include Point blank, Travis, The Research and Maritime.








Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address
Message