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Indie rock
Stylistic origins Alternative rock, post-punk, New Wave
Cultural origins Early 1980s, United Kingdom, United States and Canada.
Typical instruments Guitar, bass, drums, keyboard, vocals
Mainstream popularity Widespread worldwide throughout the 2000s.
Subgenres
Garage punk, riot grrrl, twee pop, emo, grindie, post-punk revival, noise pop, dance-punk, New Weird America, Baroque pop, garage rock revival, lo-fi, sadcore, C86, math rock, shoegazing
Fusion genres
Indie pop
Regional scenes
Largely global, EnglandIrelandScotlandWalesUSACanadaSwedenJapan
Other topics
Timeline of alternative rock, DIY ethic

Indie rock is a genre of rock music that originated in the United Kingdom and the United States in the 1980s and earlier. The term is often used to describe the means of production and distribution of independent underground music, as well as the style of music that was first associated with this means of production.[1] Indie rock artists are known for placing a premium on maintaining complete control of their music and careers, releasing albums on independent record labels (sometimes self-owned and operated) and relying on touring, word-of-mouth, airplay on independent or college radio stations and, in recent years, the Internet for promotion. Musicians classified as indie rock are typically signed to independent record labels, rather than major record labels, although there are many examples of indie musicians switching to major labels mid-career. This practice blurs the lines between indie and mainstream music and is often the subject of debate amongst fans. Indeed, some bands that have spent most of their careers on major labels are still occasionally referred to by the press as indie rock because of their sound or aesthetic.

A variety of musical genres and subgenres with varying degrees of overlap are associated with indie rock. Some of these include lo-fi, sadcore, C86, math rock, shoegaze/dream pop, jangle pop, indie pop, noise rock, noise pop, riot grrrl, post-hardcore, twee pop, post-punk revival, garage rock revival, dance-punk, indie folk, baroque pop, and indietronica.

Contents

History

Early Roots

The roots of modern indie rock are often traced back to The Velvet Underground's self-titled debut album, released in 1967, which was ranked #7 on Blender's list of the 100 greatest indie rock albums.[2] Allmusic notes that every "left-of-center rock movement owes an audible debt" to this album.[3] The Beach Boys' 1966 album Pet Sounds is also commonly listed as a highly influential starting point.[4] Later, the punk movement of the 1970s had a direct impact on the DIY aesthetic that later became a cornerstone of indie rock.

1980s

In the 1980s, the term alternative rock was more or less synonymous with indie rock.[5]

In the United Kingdom, indie music charts have been compiled since the early 1980s.[citation needed] Initially, the charts featured bands that emerged with a form of guitar-based alternative rock that dominated the indie charts, particularly indie pop artists such as Aztec Camera, Josef K, Orange Juice, the C86 indie-pop movement and the twee pop of Sarah Records artists. Some definitive British indie rock bands of the 1980s were The Smiths, The Stone Roses, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Happy Mondays, Siouxsie and the Banshees, and The Cure whose music directly influenced 1990s alternative rock movements such as shoegazing and Britpop.

In the United States, the term "indie rock" was particularly associated with the abrasive, distortion-heavy sounds of Hüsker Dü, Sonic Youth, Meat Puppets, Dinosaur Jr., The Replacements, and Pixies.[6]

A number of prominent indie rock record labels were founded during the 1980s. These include Washington, DC's Dischord Records in 1980, Seattle's Sub Pop Records in 1986[7], and New York City's Matador Records and Durham, North Carolina's Merge Records in 1989. Chicago's Touch and Go Records was founded as a fanzine in 1979 and began to release records during the 1980s.

1990s

Pavement singer/guitarist Steve Malkmus

The 1990s brought major changes to the alternative rock scene. Grunge bands such as Nirvana, Alice in Chains, Soundgarden and Pearl Jam broke into the mainstream, achieving commercial chart success and widespread exposure. Punk revival bands like Green Day and The Offspring also became popular and were grouped under the "alternative" umbrella. The meaning of the term "alternative" changed as mainstream success attracted major-label investment and commercially-oriented or manufactured acts with a formulaic, conservative approach. With this, "alternative" lost its original counter-cultural meaning and began to refer to the new form of music that was now achieving mainstream success. The term "indie rock" became associated with the bands and genres that remained underground.

The 1990s saw the emergence of several defining movements within indie rock. The lo-fi movement was spearheaded by Elliott Smith, Pavement, Guided by Voices, Neutral Milk Hotel, and several bands associated with the Elephant 6 Recording Company such as Of Montreal. It placed a premium on simplistic recording techniques (including home recording), ironic detachment, and disinterest in "selling out" to the mainstream alternative rock scene.

The emo movement, which had grown out of the hardcore punk scene in the 1980s with bands like Rites of Spring, gained popularity as the 1990s progressed. Sunny Day Real Estate, The Promise Ring, The Get Up Kids and others brought a more melodic sound to the genre.[8][9] Weezer's Pinkerton introduced the genre to a wider and more mainstream audience.[10] Years later, the term "emo" would be applied to a wider variety of more mainstream bands by the music press.

Talk Talk's Spirit of Eden and Laughing Stock and Slint's Spiderland, provided the catalyst for the development of post rock and math rock.[11][12][13] Post rock, an experimental style influenced by jazz and electronic music, became recognized as a genre as Tortoise and their Chicago peers gained a national following in the middle part of the decade. Math rock shares similar experimental aesthetics, but is generally denser and more abrasive.[14] Don Caballero, Chavez and others contributed to its rise in popularity during the 1990s.

2000s

In recent years, the line between indie and mainstream has become increasingly blurred, with traditionally indie bands like Modest Mouse and Death Cab for Cutie signing major label contracts and enjoying commercial success. Radiohead ended their contract with EMI and self-released their seventh album, In Rainbows, in 2007.[15]

See also

References

  1. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=77:2687
  2. ^ http://www.blender.com/guide/68960/100-greatest-indie-rock-albums-ever-151-100-to-91.html
  3. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:dpfqxql5ldhe~T0
  4. ^ http://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/9371-pet-sounds-40th-anniversary/
  5. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=77:4464
  6. ^ http://allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=77:11971
  7. ^ http://www.tripzine.com/listing.php?id=pavitt
  8. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:a9fwxq85ldse
  9. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=77:4525
  10. ^ http://allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:3xfexqlhld6e
  11. ^ http://allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:j9fwxq85ldse
  12. ^ http://allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:a9fwxq85ldse
  13. ^ http://allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:g9frxqu5ldje
  14. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=77:4560
  15. ^ Tyrangiel, Josh (2007-10-01). ""Radiohead Says: Pay What You Want"". Time. http://www.time.com/time/arts/article/0,8599,1666973,00.html. Retrieved 2007-10-16. 

External links


Indie rock
Stylistic origins Alternative rock, post-punk, new wave
Cultural origins Early 1980s, United Kingdom, United States and Canada
Typical instruments Guitar, bass, drums, keyboard, vocals
Mainstream popularity Since the late 2000s in the UK and US
Subgenres
Garage punk, riot grrrl, twee pop, emo, grindie, post-punk revival, noise pop, dance-punk, New Weird America, Baroque pop, garage rock revival, lo-fi, sadcore, C86, math rock, shoegazing
Fusion genres
Indie popIndie folk - Indie punk - Indie dance
Regional scenes
Largely global, EnglandIrelandScotlandWalesUSACanadaSwedenJapan - Australia
Other topics
Timeline of alternative rock, DIY ethic

Indie rock is a genre of rock music, and a means of producing that music, that originated in the United Kingdom and the United States in the 1980s. It is rooted in earlier genres such as alternative rock, post-punk, and new wave.

The meaning of the term "indie rock" is contested today by many musicians, fans and commentators. Some use the term "indie" to describe any music produced by artists working within the network of independent record labels and underground music venues that emerged in the United States and elsewhere in 1980's and 1990's. Others understand indie rock as a distinct genre of rock music with a specific artistic aesthetic, and care less about the context in which it is made. Many embrace both meanings of the word, believing that the aesthetics of the genre and its means of production are deeply intertwined. [1]

Indie rock artists are known for placing a premium on maintaining complete control of their music and careers, releasing albums on independent record labels and relying on touring, word-of-mouth, airplay on independent or college radio stations and, in recent years, the Internet for promotion. However, in the 2000's many acts with a musical style identified as "indie" signed to major record labels or their subsidiaries, and began promoting themselves through more traditional media outlets. This has led to a further blurring in the meaning of the term.

A variety of musical genres and subgenres with varying degrees of overlap are associated with indie rock. Some of these include lo-fi, sadcore, C86, math rock, shoegaze/dream pop, jangle pop, indie pop, noise rock, noise pop, riot grrrl, post-hardcore, twee pop, post-punk revival, garage rock revival, dance-punk, indie folk, baroque pop, indie punk, chillwave, neo-psychedelia, new prog, and indietronica.

Contents

History

Early roots

The roots of modern indie rock are often traced back to The Velvet Underground's self-titled debut album, released in 1967, which was ranked #7 on Blender's list of the 100 greatest indie rock albums.[2] Allmusic notes that every "left-of-center rock movement owes an audible debt" to this album.[3] The Beach Boys' 1966 album Pet Sounds is also commonly listed as a highly influential starting point,[4] as are the 1960s concept albums of the Kinks.[5] Later, the punk movement of the 1970s had a direct impact on the DIY aesthetic that later became a cornerstone of indie rock.

1980s

In the 1980s, alternative rock, used as a term, was more or less synonymous with indie rock.[6]

In the United Kingdom, indie music charts have been compiled since the early 1980s.[citation needed] Initially, the charts featured bands that emerged with a form of guitar-based alternative rock that dominated the indie charts, particularly indie pop artists such as Aztec Camera, Josef K, Orange Juice, the C86 indie-pop movement and the twee pop of Sarah Records artists. Some definitive British indie rock bands of the 1980s were The Smiths, The Stone Roses, Happy Mondays, The Jesus and Mary Chain, My Bloody Valentine, Siouxsie and the Banshees and The Cure whose music directly influenced 1990s alternative rock movements such as shoegazing and Britpop.

In the United States, the term "indie rock" was particularly associated with the abrasive, distortion-heavy sounds of Hüsker Dü, Sonic Youth, Minutemen, Meat Puppets, Dinosaur Jr., Pixies and The Replacements.[7] R.E.M. is often associated with the college rock movement of the 1980s.[8]

A number of prominent indie rock record labels were founded during the 1980s. These include Washington, DC's Dischord Records in 1980, Seattle's Sub Pop Records in 1986[9] and New York City's Matador Records and Durham, North Carolina's Merge Records in 1989. Chicago's Touch and Go Records was founded as a fanzine in 1979 and began to release records during the 1980s.[citation needed]

1990s

]] The 1990s brought major changes to the alternative rock scene. Grunge bands such as Nirvana, Alice in Chains, Soundgarden and Pearl Jam broke into the mainstream, achieving commercial chart success and widespread exposure. Punk revival bands like Green Day and The Offspring also became popular and were grouped under the "alternative" umbrella. The meaning of the term "alternative" changed as mainstream success attracted major-label investment and commercially-oriented or manufactured acts with a formulaic, conservative approach. With this, "alternative" lost its original counter-cultural meaning and began to refer to the new form of music that was now achieving mainstream success. The term "indie rock" became associated with the bands and genres that remained underground.

The 1990s saw the emergence of several defining movements within indie rock. The lo-fi movement was spearheaded by Beck, Elliott Smith, Pavement, Guided by Voices, Neutral Milk Hotel and several bands associated with the Elephant 6 Recording Company such as Of Montreal. It placed a premium on simplistic recording techniques (including home recording), ironic detachment, and disinterest in "selling out" to the mainstream alternative rock scene.

The emo movement, which had grown out of the hardcore punk scene in the 1980s with bands like Rites of Spring, gained popularity as the 1990s progressed. Sunny Day Real Estate, The Promise Ring, The Get Up Kids and others brought a more melodic sound to the genre.[10][11] Weezer's Pinkerton introduced the genre to a wider and more mainstream audience.[12] Years later, the term "emo" would be applied to a wider variety of more mainstream bands by the music press.

Talk Talk's Spirit of Eden and Laughing Stock and Slint's Spiderland, provided the catalyst for the development of post-rock and math rock.[13][14][15] Post-rock, an experimental style influenced by jazz and electronic music, became recognized as a genre as Tortoise and their Chicago peers gained a national following in the middle part of the decade. Math rock shares similar experimental aesthetics, but is generally denser and more abrasive.[16] Don Caballero, Chavez and others contributed to its rise in popularity during the 1990s.[citation needed]

2000s and current popularity

In the 2000s, the changing music industry and increased use of the internet as a tool for music promotion allowed a number of indie rock bands to achieve mainstream commercial success.[17] Modest Mouse was one of the first popular indie acts of the 1990s to make the jump to a major label, signing with Epic Records in 2000. Their 2004 album Good News for People Who Love Bad News was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Alternative Rock Album. After many years with the Barsuk label, Death Cab for Cutie signed to Atlantic records in 2004.[18] Their 2005 album Plans was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Alternative Album of that year and charted on the Billboard charts for 47 consecutive weeks.[19] In November 2004, two Bright Eyes singles, "Lua" and "Take It Easy (Love Nothing)", reached the two top spots on the Billboard Hot 100 Single Sales.[20] In 2010, Arcade Fire's album The Suburbs reached number 1 on the Billboard charts in the United States and the United Kingdom. Other indie-oriented artists including LCD Soundsystem, Vampire Weekend, Interpol, Spoon, MGMT, and The National have also cracked the United States top 10 and enjoyed mainstream popularity. Reasons suggested for this success include the decline of record sales and increased media exposure of indie artists due to internet marketing.[21]

See also

References

  1. ^ "Explore Music - Indie Rock - Genre". allmusic.com. Rovi Corporation. http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=77:2687. Retrieved 2010-09-18. 
  2. ^ "The 100 Greatest Indie-Rock Albums Ever — #100 to #91". Blender. November 15, 2007. http://www.blender.com/guide/68960/100-greatest-indie-rock-albums-ever-151-100-to-91.html. Retrieved 2010-09-18. 
  3. ^ "The Velvet Underground & Nico > Overview". allmusic.com .com. Rovi Corporation. http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:dpfqxql5ldhe~T0. Retrieved 2010-09-18. 
  4. ^ "Album Reviews: The Beach Boys: Pet Sounds: 40th Anniversary". Pitchfork. August 8, 2006. http://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/9371-pet-sounds-40th-anniversary/. Retrieved 2010-09-18. 
  5. ^ Hagan, Joe (May 26, 2002). "Music - Ironic and Detached Long Before Fashion Caught Up". NYTimes.com. http://www.nytimes.com/2002/05/26/arts/music-ironic-and-detached-long-before-fashion-caught-up.html. Retrieved 2010-09-18. 
  6. ^ "Explore music - Alternative/Indie Rock - Genre". allmusic.com. Rovi Corporation. http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=77:4464. Retrieved 2010-09-18. 
  7. ^ "Explore music - College Rock - Genre". allmusic.com. Rovi Corporation. http://allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=77:11971. Retrieved 2010-09-18. 
  8. ^ Thomas, Stephen. "R.E.M. > Overview". allmusic.com. Rovi Corporation. http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=11:09fexqtgld0e. Retrieved 2010-09-18. 
  9. ^ Weinstein, Robert (April 23, 2001). "An Interview with Bruce Pavitt". Tripzine.com. http://www.tripzine.com/listing.php?id=pavitt. Retrieved 2010-09-18. 
  10. ^ "Explore music - Emo - Genre". allmusic. Rovi Corporation. http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=77:4525. Retrieved 2010-09-18. 
  11. ^ Greenwald, Andy (2003). "Nothing Feels Good: Punk Rock, Teenagers, and Emo". St. Martin's Griffin. p. 40. http://books.google.com/books?id=3tJqJ9yDzCAC&pg=PA40#v=onepage&q&f=false. Retrieved 2010-09-17. 
  12. ^ Thomas, Stephen (September 24, 1996). "Pinkerton > Overview". allmusic.com. Rovi Corporation. http://allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:3xfexqlhld6e. Retrieved 2010-09-18. 
  13. ^ Ankeny, Jason. "Spirit of Eden > Overview". allmusic.com. Rovi Corporation. http://allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:j9fwxq85ldse. Retrieved 2010-09-18. 
  14. ^ Ankeny, Jason (November 19, 1991). "Laughing Stock > Overview". allmusic.com. Rovi Corporation. http://allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:a9fwxq85ldse. Retrieved 2010-09-18. 
  15. ^ Carlson, Dean. "Spiderland > Overview". allmusic.com. Rovi Corporation. http://allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:g9frxqu5ldje. Retrieved 2010-09-18. 
  16. ^ "Explore music - Math Rock - Genre". allmusic. Rovi Corporation. http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=77:4560. Retrieved 2010-09-18. 
  17. ^ Abebe, Nitsuh (February 25, 2010). "The Decade in Indie". Pitchfork. http://pitchfork.com/features/articles/7704-the-decade-in-indie/. Retrieved 2010-09-18. 
  18. ^ Horwitz, Carolyn (November 13, 2004). "Death Cab For Cutie Signs To Atlantic". Billboard. http://www.billboard.com/bbcom/news/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1000719211. Retrieved 2008-04-28. 
  19. ^ Daly, Sean (February 8, 2006). "And the winners will be ...". St. Petersburg Times. http://www.sptimes.com/2006/02/08/Artsandentertainment/And_the_winners_will_.shtml. Retrieved 2008-04-26. 
  20. ^ Arndt, Jaclyn (November 23, 2004). "Bright Eyes Sees Double". Soulshine.ca. Soul Shine Magazine. http://www.soulshine.ca/news/newsarticle.php?nid=1293. Retrieved 2010-09-18. 
  21. ^ Baron, Zach (August 11, 2010). "What This Year's Bizarre Chart Results (Arcade Fire! #1!) Say About the State of Music in 2010". Village Voice.

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