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Old 12-24-2010, 02:47 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Is "Indie" a genre?

I'm confused. I thought bands were labeled "indie" if they shied away from major/commercial record labels. It seems to have become commonplace to append the labels "indie", "indie rock", "indie folk", etcetcetc, in describing the genre of artists or albums.

Does indie now refer to a specific sound? Is it legitimate to claim indie is a genre?
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Old 12-24-2010, 03:14 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Does indie now refer to a specific sound?
I would say that it has referred to general sort of sound for a long time.
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Old 12-24-2010, 03:18 PM   #3 (permalink)
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In my experience, indie usually sounds like a really barebones (basic production and not a whole lot of distorted guitars), artsy version of whatever genre it is based upon whether it be rock, pop or folk. That's just how I look at it though.
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Old 12-24-2010, 03:19 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Indie is a community and that's it. I wouldn't even say it refers to label status because the music business is more complicated then to divide labels up into "major" and "independent" due to some being affiliated with the big four, or whose doing the distribution, etc. There is no specific "indie" sound. I mean, how can you say The Tallest Man on Earth, Anamanaguchi, Shellac and Sigur Ros are similar?
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Old 12-24-2010, 03:21 PM   #5 (permalink)
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No, it's not. It really bugs me when people say "I hate that Indie Folk sound" when it doesn't even have a sound and basically only refers to label status.
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Old 12-24-2010, 03:25 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I mean, how can you say The Tallest Man on Earth, Anamanaguchi, Shellac and Sigur Ros are similar?
I guess I couldn't, but then I wouldn't call any of them indie either.
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Old 12-24-2010, 03:29 PM   #7 (permalink)
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What would you call indie then?

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No, it's not. It really bugs me when people say "I hate that Indie Folk sound" when it doesn't even have a sound and basically only refers to label status.
Elliott Smith is considered indie-folk and released two major label releases. The Decemberists are still described as indie-folk and they're on Capitol, whom also have released records by Kevin Devine. Bright Eyes is considered indie-folk but Saddle Creek's distribution is handled through Alternative Distribution Alliance, which is controlled by Warner Bros. The ADA also handles Cavity Search, Merge, Equal Vision, Polyvinyl, Secretly Canadian, Sub Pop, Barsuk, Domino, and many other supposedly "independent" labels. How many labels are actually indie? How many artists commonly thrown under the "indie-folk" umbrella are actually on those labels?
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Old 12-24-2010, 03:33 PM   #8 (permalink)
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What would you call indie then?
I think Alfred's description was pretty good.
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Old 12-24-2010, 03:35 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Elliott Smith is considered indie-folk and released two major label releases. The Decemberists are still described as indie-folk and they're on Capitol, whom also have released records by Kevin Devine. Bright Eyes is considered indie-folk but Saddle Creek's distribution is handled through Alternative Distribution Alliance, which is controlled by Warner Bros. The ADA also handles Cavity Search, Merge, Equal Vision, Polyvinyl, Secretly Canadian, Sub Pop, Barsuk, Domino, and many other supposedly "independent" labels. How many labels are actually indie? How many artists commonly thrown under the "indie-folk" umbrella are actually on those labels?
Exactly what annoys me about that classification. Indie is thrown about so much these days that people have lost sight of what it means.

I got into a huge argument with boo boo over this once, he caimed he hated Joanna Newsom for being on the "Indie Folk Bandwagon" while imo she doesn't sound like any other artist being called that. I think like Grunge and Britpop in the 90s, Indie has become more of a movement than a genre in the 00s with the help of publications like NME and to use a cliche Pitchfork.
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Old 12-24-2010, 03:35 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I think Alfred's description was pretty good.
I'd say it's probably a better definition then most give, but like, it's still a very vague statement, and it still encompasses anything from Television to Bonne 'Prince' Billy.

Though indie is a really vague thing in itself, so I suppose it requires a vague definition. haha. I don't know what I'm going on about, I need more sleep.
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