Alright, let's get one thing clear from the get-go.
Just cause I'm slagging off indie music doesn't make me a mainstream apologist. Cause I fucking hate most of the shit that passes off as mainstream music as well.
Case in point: A couple of days ago I was in the Kingsford Oporto eating a burger and doing some work. I like to hang out there cause it's always less crowded than most areas in uni. In fact, it's usually so empty that the guys in there don't give a shit how long you hang around as long as you order something first. Kinda reminds me of the Moobys in Clerks II except without Randal abusing customers the whole time.
But I digress. While I was working on my movie script (note this down, I'm gonna be talking about it a fair bit more yet) they had Channel V playing. The first song was Eminem's new single - I'm an Eminem fan so I thought it would be a decent show and chucked my headphones in my bag. A decision which I reversed after realising it was a top 10 hits show and the next nine were all pretty much shit.
So I'm no fan of modern pop music either. But there's a difference.
To be a blogger who slags off pop music is like the proverbial shooting fish in a barrel. Every other music geek with a laptop has done it already. It's no fun.
I'd rather go after my other pet target. That is, modern indie music.
Ask 10 music fans what indie means and you'll probably get 10 different definitions. Some will say that it's just a name for a scene. Others will say it's a catch-all term for all independently released music. Yet another group will say that it's a particular genre in itself.
Personally, I fall strongly into the latter category. At one time, yeah, maybe it was a term simply used to define independent music. But nowadays every band and their dog (or whatever animals the cool hipster kids are keeping these days, cause, like, dogs are so mainstream, you know? Unless you have one ironically, and feed it ironically and stuff like that) that has a major label wants to claim some indie credibility. So that definition is moot.
As for the first, generally a scene is something that's local. When the earliest "grunge" (another made-up term I hate, but more on that later) bands were doing their thing in Seattle basements, they were a scene. Once they started hanging platinum records on their walls, it was a scene no more. Indie is hardly a small local scene - a collection of scenes, maybe, but that's assuming they share more than bad haircuts and limited dress sense.
So I'm attacking the music. Why?
It would be simple to just say "because it's shit" but it goes deeper than that. The biggest problem I have with indie music? There's nothing there.
Oh sure, some of the bands are pleasant enough. I certainly don't want to gouge my eardrums out after listening to Animal Collective or Of Montreal (Are they still considered cool? I know they had a Rolling Stone feature a few years back and RS are not cool from what I hear) like I do after listening to Ke$ha or 3OH!3.
But indie music should be more than just pleasant background noise. That's what pop music is for. Something that supposedly exists outside the mainstream should have something more to it.
I'll use a kinda warped metaphor here - I'm a vegetarian. If I want a burger with just a couple of buns, lettuce, tomato and mayo I go to McDonalds and ask for a Big Mac without the meat. If I want something more substantial, with a patty and stuff like that, I go to a less commercialised hole-in-the-wall burger joint. Or I just go to my beloved Oporto, which while pretty mainstream in Australia doesn't have anywhere near the reach of Maccas. (For the record - if anyone from Oporto is reading this, yes I would love to be paid to pimp you guys in my blog. I'm available at no__wave@hotmail if you want to talk a fee. I'm quite cheap).
You get the point I'm making? If you want to exist outside the mainstream, you have to offer something more than just pleasantry. There's gotta be some substance to the music, whether lyrical, musical or simply through something like stage presence or attitude to get people (or at least me) to give a shit. And no, irony is NOT substance, it's a pathetic excuse to try and claim cool. You don't leave a show or finish listening to a CD thinking, "man, that irony is gonna stick with me forever!"
Let's look at all the great underground scenes. Metal. Punk. Goth. Hardcore. Industrial. Grunge. Shit, even rave and old school hip hop. They all had substance, something that went beyond just the music and stuck with anyone who listened to it or saw them live or went to a rave.
Modern indie? Meh. It's as disposable as any pop music of any era. I'm 19 (it was my birthday yesterday, so happy fucking birthday to me) and I'm still listening to punk from the 70s, hardcore and hip hop from the 80s, grunge from the early 90s and industrial from the mid-90s. I highly doubt kids in the early 2020s are gonna be listening to Grizzly Bear and Beirut for musical (or drug-fuelled) inspiration.
With that said, I shall leave you motherfuckers with what may just be the best song of all time.
Peace out, and keep rockin'.