vanitybinge
Vanity Binge
Join date: Oct 2005
716 IQ
#1
How do you define 'indie' music? Is it a sound? an aesthetic? A deliberately un-pop band? Or just an artist that takes themselves way too seriously?

I hear some bands and I think wow that's a good rock song and they're listed as 'indie'. But I could never pin down what it was that made them fit this stupid little category.

I've heard it was the same as independent/non-major label music, but that's bullshit because I've seen plenty of bands on Capitol Records listed as 'indie'. "Oh but the Decemberists are so indie". Why? Because they sound like something that was recorded in my mom's kitchen after a book club meeting? Don't try to give me that underground-to-cool-to-be-popular shit.


Sludge off, what the **** is Indie?


jiminizzle
Lost Pilot
Join date: May 2006
2,775 IQ
#2
i think the perception is that a lot of pop/rock music (structurally, not aesthetically) that you hear on the radio/at the grammys and such is heavily influenced by managerial interests in it's production, so a lot of music that is (or appears to be) created without too much external input and mostly because the artists like it or think their peers (and eventually once they get them, their fans) will like it gets called indie. (I guess it should be noted that some people do just like making straight up pop music and don't need coran capshaw or sony telling them how to do it.)
The term is pretty far removed from actually being independent of record labels, but i think people often feel like they can tell when certain bands are making music with a) top-40 fans in mind and are catering to what is extremely popular or b) the popular blogs and blog-readership-types as their intended audience or c) something else like just their friends or a certain local scene or something like that, and the latter two tend to be associated with the term 'indie' which is why picaresque (kil rock stars) might get called an indie album while the king is dead (capitol) might not. The type of record label still doesn't necessarily determine what the music will sound like, but it can be an indicator. It's not entirely about sales/popularity though, The National are band that are extremely popular at the moment and charted near the top of the billboard 200 with their last album but they still get called indie by most people, likely because the songwriting doesn't appear to be aimed at a specifically large consumer base (despite reaching one) and is largely consistent with their past music in that it doesn't often attempt the immediate faux-universal appeal that something like 'we are young' by fun attempts. there are increasingly more bands in the past few years who appear to be recorded and marketed with top-40 level success in mind but with some production tricks and songwriting tropes (sorry for sounding like a douche, i just can't think of a better word) associated with non-major-label acts so that they can seem cool to a certain crowd and provide a small sense of the satisfaction that some people feel from things like your 'i saw a band in an underground room' picture. this would be like foster the people or imagine dragons on the "this is definitely pop music from the start..." side of things, or vampire weekend or death cab from from a "this is a band that has a widely accessible sound and has gotten really popular with that sound (and that may or may not be affecting their new music)" side of things.

i don't know if you were actually looking for a serious answer, but i hope this helps you not feel like you don't know what people are talking about anymore.

This is just my current take on it though. It all usually says more about the person bringing it up's perspective than the music itself.
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iwannabesedated
Out There
Join date: Aug 2009
923 IQ
#3
"Indie" is a lot like "Alternative," it really doesn't mean anything at all anymore.
roushsn95
Registered User
Join date: Apr 2012
21 IQ
#4
"Indie", is just a label for "non-mainstream" music. Though musically, I think there is a very fine line between "indie" and mainstream music.
Mark_Ram
Registered User
Join date: Mar 2014
10 IQ
#5
I think the term really was just used as a buzzword for bands that were on independent labels. (I mean if we divulge into genres, what the hell is something "Grunge" or "Britpop" really?")

However, many bands became too large for indie labels and somehow managed to still be attached the title of "Indie band". I think because of that indie became a term for bands who sounded similar.

Metric, The National, Interpol etc. etc.

Furthermore, I'm not going to sit here and say that Wilco and The Smiths sound the same, but for whatever reason they are both considered Indie. Maybe humanity just likes buzzwords.
solo123
Registered User
Join date: Jun 2012
38 IQ
#6
"indie" bands are not associated with any major record labels, indie is a broad genre, it can go from rap to rock to pop to jazz. Imo any band who's out there playing music for the sake of playing music is indie. Don't worry about what songs are pinned under what genre. like everyone else said, it doesn't really mean much.
niklasgrindbo
Registered User
Join date: Apr 2014
10 IQ
#7
Indie once meant something, but nowaydays it's overused to the point of being completely meaningless. Rock & Roll and to a large degree punk and metal (at least for some of us) is the music our dads listened to, so now bands call themselves Indie to be perceived as underground or counter culture. I really think it's more about image tahn actual music.

Anyway, if you like the way it sounds, listen to it, and to hell with what people choose to call it
AccountAttempt4
Registered User
Join date: May 2014
401 IQ
#8
It's probably on its way out as a genre definition, basically there was alternative music which was any rock music that wasn't mainstream. However Nirvana turned alternative music into the mainstream, rendering the term useless. "Indie" was then coined as a replacement for alternative, I've noticed more and more stuff that I would consider "indie" becoming mainstream, so it's likely that a new phrase will be introduced soon enough.
Big-Faced-Child
Registered User
Join date: May 2014
21 IQ
#9
Indie is short for Independent, meaning bands on independent record labels ie not majors. Originally it was never a genre. The indie charts would have a huge range of music represented not just jangly guitar music.

It doesn't mean the same thing now,if it means anything at all.
bradulator
normcore
Join date: Jul 2007
2,438 IQ
#10
That one Real Estate band is the most generic indie band in a while.
Zack Young
Registered User
Join date: May 2014
10 IQ
#11
I agree with many of these previous posts that INDIE has recently just became a catch all term for music that doesn't fit nicely into the main big genres. Essentially a replacement for ALTERNATIVE. For me, i feel it is very easy to become educated about specific niche genres if you care enough about them. For instance, bands such as Dinosaur Jr. and Yo La Tengo and even more aggressive groups such as scratch acid could be considered Indie even though a more correct nomenclature would be Shoegaze and Noise Rock respectively.
Fallenoath
My minds playin' tricks
Join date: Feb 2012
985 IQ
#12
Quote by roushsn95
"Indie", is just a label for "non-mainstream" music. Though musically, I think there is a very fine line between "indie" and mainstream music.


This is the way I've always thought.
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rootsofmy
Registered User
Join date: Aug 2013
109 IQ
#14
Short for Indiana. Don't tell me your never saw any of the movies
roushsn95
Registered User
Join date: Apr 2012
21 IQ
#15
Quote by AccountAttempt4
It's probably on its way out as a genre definition, basically there was alternative music which was any rock music that wasn't mainstream. However Nirvana turned alternative music into the mainstream, rendering the term useless. "Indie" was then coined as a replacement for alternative, I've noticed more and more stuff that I would consider "indie" becoming mainstream, so it's likely that a new phrase will be introduced soon enough.


I disagree, because Nirvana never rendered the term useless after they went mainstream. If anything, they turned it into a mainstream genre that any band like them were to then be labeled as. That's where current Alternative music is. It's a label and they categorize bands that sound that way to fit into mainstream music.

Now, there is a difference between Alternative and Indie. Where I get this from is listening to the radio, specifically seriusxm. There is a major difference in the type of music that is played between seriusXMU, the "indie" channel and ALTnation, the alternative channel. However, I don't listen to the regular radio (because I think it sucks) so I don't know what the alternative stations out there are playing.
thrash17
Metallica
Join date: Aug 2010
844 IQ
#16
I always thought an in indie band was a band that was on an independent label. As long as you were on an indie label, whether you were metal, folk, jazz etc you were "indie". obviously the word has changed but I don't get too into it. Idc about labels and I even tell my band we don't have to be limited to genres.
Jagmaster33
Registered User
Join date: Nov 2009
23 IQ
#17
Technically, it's just a band on an independent label. Not genre-specific.

But in practical terms, 'indie' is used most often to describe a genre of rock... usually fashion-rockers who are so concerned about following hipster fashion trends that they don't realize how generic and bland their music actually is.

As someone once said, the only real difference between mainstream rock and most indie rock is the clothes... and the amount of pretense.
Stildawn
Registered User
Join date: Feb 2008
600 IQ
#19
I feel this way with a lot of the genres to be honest.

If there isnt a definitive musical difference/characteristics/compositions/structure then its not a genre in my opinion.

Indie would fall under this, so would a lot of the metal genres also. As well as a lot of the Modern RnB (another hate term for me) and Hip Hop.
Of_Wolves
Silver Satellite Eyes
Join date: Feb 2007
718 IQ
#20
The way the term is most often used around me is: pop-influenced, guitar-based, rockish music. I just call it rock, but most of it gets labeled indie.

There's no point raging against genre terms. Meaning changes so quickly. I remember a time when a post-hardcore band wasn't just some generic relabeled metalcore-sounding band, but something more like AtDI... People get tired of one label or it gathers too much stigma, so they move onto calling it something else. Like how emo went from Midwest-style progressive stuff to MCR/The Used. Ironically when emo became a derogatory term, they picked up the alternative tag again.

You'll be labeled with whatever the public thinks fits. That's not something you can control. Just as you can't really predict what'll be popular a couple of months from now.

Don't get me wrong sometimes the work of record labels to influence people pays off, but sometimes it doesn't. We only ever hear of the success stories, not the failures. That's media bias right there.

It's best to just deal with it, guys.
Last edited by Of_Wolves at Jun 11, 2014,
KidOK1
Registered User
Join date: Jun 2014
134 IQ
#21
Back in the day, non-mainstream sounding rock was called Alternative. Now, since Alternative rock IS the mainstream sounding rock, all bands who don't sound mainstream are called Indie. That's my interpretation.
roushsn95
Registered User
Join date: Apr 2012
21 IQ
#22
Quote by KidOK1
Back in the day, non-mainstream sounding rock was called Alternative. Now, since Alternative rock IS the mainstream sounding rock, all bands who don't sound mainstream are called Indie. That's my interpretation.


Agree.
anameli
Registered User
Join date: Jun 2014
10 IQ
#23
indie is independent of the type of music that is not commercially.I think it was sorry if wrong
iwannabesedated
Out There
Join date: Aug 2009
923 IQ
#24
Quote by KidOK1
Back in the day, non-mainstream sounding rock was called Alternative. Now, since Alternative rock IS the mainstream sounding rock, all bands who don't sound mainstream are called Indie. That's my interpretation.


Except now indie is mainstream too.

We're running out of stupid things to call our music.
roushsn95
Registered User
Join date: Apr 2012
21 IQ
#25
Quote by iwannabesedated
Except now indie is mainstream too.


It's not that indie is necessarily mainstream, its just that certain bands that were always considered "indie" are now among the most popular and mainstream bands. However, you won't hear them on most radio stations because they don't fit into a particular musical category and the stations format, so thats why they retain the indie label.

But you do have a point about "indie" being the mainstream. Indie acts are getting major mainstream exposure these days. Just look at musical acts that are popping up on Letterman, Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel and SNL these days.
andreamsir
Registered User
Join date: Aug 2014
10 IQ
#27
indie is drinking tea as if it is coffee but it's not coffee because coffe is too strong for the indies, bro
the glue man
beep
Join date: May 2005
649 IQ
#29
Just like the terms "punk rock," "grunge," "alternative," "Christianity," and perhaps even, "rock n roll," the term "indie" has become disconnected from it's original meaning in the eyes of the masses.
bptrav
Tab Contributor
Join date: Aug 2014
103 IQ
#30
Quote by vanitybinge
How do you define 'indie' music? Is it a sound? an aesthetic? A deliberately un-pop band? Or just an artist that takes themselves way too seriously?

I hear some bands and I think wow that's a good rock song and they're listed as 'indie'. But I could never pin down what it was that made them fit this stupid little category.


Indie originally meant "independent label", but it hasn't meant that for a long time since a lot of "indie" bands are on major labels now. It's not a genre either though, because as you said a lot of so-called "indie" bands are just rock bands.

At this point the word indie probably has more to do with hipster aesthetics than the music itself, sadly. It's the new "grunge/alternative" as far as I'm concerned. Just a silly word with almost no meaning.

I tag most of the "indie" music I download as "Rock" because that has infinitely more meaning.
gypsyfunk
Registered User
Join date: Sep 2014
10 IQ
#31
hi, im new here.

indie is fuzzy sound. alternative is bangier sound. grundge is da-na-na but with distortion, and metal is medley-medley-mee.
Alcofuel
Registered User
Join date: Apr 2011
859 IQ
#32
Independent artists.

If we're going with what it is musically I wouldn't really apply it to anything outside of stuff like Pavement and Sebadoh, but that's just me. As far as "indie rock" in particular goes at least, and even that is questionable.