Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Niche Market Music

The previous post, however, leads to comments like the following, found here:
“I feel like there has been created, in the past two to three years, an indie-yuppie establishment. Bands like Death Cab for Cutie, Iron and Wine, the Arcade Fire, Broken Social Scene, they are great bands, really great bands, with great albums, great songs, high quality. And to me, it’s just so fucking boring,” he says. “It’s like fancy-coffee-drinking, Volvo-riding music for kids. And kids should be listening to music that shakes them up more, makes them uncomfortable. … I don’t think we’re ever going to sign an indie rock band. … I want to sign stuff that is more immediate and shakes you up a bit.”
The guy who said is with Vice Records... which boasts bands like Bloc Party, Death from Above 1979 and the Stills... so it's a pot/kettle sort of deal (they do have more unique artists like Panthers and the Streets and then a few others that I haven't heard of) but I can hear what he could be saying anyway. Even though - to me - he chose some bad examples.

Death Cab used to be (at least) very unique... until they pulled a "cash in on our indie cred" sort of deal and moved closer to basic indie pop from their old slowcore.

Iron & Wine... well, maybe Sam Beam fits. Maybe not. Then again I still don't really know their second album, Our Endless Numbered Days even though it's over a year old (and it was a release day purchase.)

I don't know enough Arcade Fire to comment but if you believe the hype they are anything but boring. I generally don't, however. Or, atleast, I am remaining skeptical until I hear more. They are playing at Coachella this weekend... and I'd like to check them out if there's not a conflict.

Broken Social Scene is a massive side-project gone awry. They were included... well, I'm not sure why. Even the (indie scale) smash You Forgot it In People is weird enough that it makes me wonder if this guy's heard more than a song or two.

Or, rather, I think, after going through that, I understand the difference between Bloc Party and Iron & Wine: BP are high energy dance-punk and I&W are laid-back and acoustic. That's it. It isn't that Bloc Party are all that innovative or new, it's just that they're loud and energetic. Death From Above 1979 are still boring, just not in a "fancy-coffee-drinking, Volvo-riding" way.

The other interesting thing I see hear is one reason this all still counts as indie music: it's niche market music. I knock his music as being generic while defending the bands he knocks as boring. It's indie because it has limited appeal, it is limited use music.

That being said Bloc Party is also at Coachella this weekend and if the schedule is kind to them I'll probably check them out too. [There's no real incongruity here, though: Silent Alarm isn't bad and for all I know they put on a kickin' live show... and maybe I'm missing something. At any rate for a large venue a good high energy act is usually a better bet than a quiet acoustic one.]


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