Saturday, January 05, 2008

The Year of Mainstream Indie

I began responding to a comment and got carried away a bit... so now it's a post.

"not much good music was made in 07. just the mainstream indie stuff"

To respond:

2007 was the year of mainstream indie. The Arcade fire's on seemingly every other best of. It's getting harder and harder for a band to stay under the radar - somebody, be it Gossip Girl (Sea Wolf), pitchfork (Blitzen Trapper), film exposure (Kimya Dawson) so on so on... is bound to hear you and deem you the next best thing.

Understand that this process has been in the making since the beginning of the decade. The Strokes were the original buzz band and everything else follows in their footsteps. We're just seeing more and more and more buzz bands and we're seeing those buzz bands take on something more akin to an "indie" look as opposed to the more mainstream rock-derived look of the Strokes and the White Stripes. And these buzz bands come more and more and more towards the heart and core of what is "real" indie and take the real and make it mainstream through exposure. Precisely what's happening with Kimya Dawson if she makes it big. Anti-folk won't necessarily be some "obscure" sounding genre. But it won't propagate through MTV or the radio either - that's interestingly done very well through word of mouth, real or virtual.

However, there are a few good radio stations out there that play some amazing stuff. Boston College's WZBC is pretty straightforward indie, with lots of post-punk and art music thrown in for good measure. They did a great retrospective of Dan Bejar's side project Destroyer last night that made me realize I need to listen to him more. Carnegie Mellon has good radio too, though it veers more on the post-rock and shoegazer side of things.

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