An Intro to Indie
Written by Anthony Reynolds on September 27, 2017
Indie music surrounds you everywhere you go, much like pop music. You just don’t know it. Many bands that people see as modern day “rock icons” have their roots in the indie genre. In fact, for many people starting out on their musical voyage indie may be their first stop. Indie has its roots in the late 1980s and has managed to endure all the way through to the modern day and while the term “indie” at the beginning referred to those bands who decided to take a DIY approach away from major record labels, the term now has come to signify the genre of softer rock, hard-hitting punk and music that’ll make you want to change the world.
The Big Hitters
Bands that people associate with being rock icons in the current day include such powerhouses as The Killers and the Arctic Monkeys. This is due largely in part to their abilities to build a huge following through charismatic performances on stage as well as songs that anyone can get into. I mean, how many times have you caught yourself singing along to Mr. Brightside, as if it’s something that we’re all born to do. It’s one of the songs that everyone knows.
The Nevada based four piece rose to prominence in 2004 with the release of their “Hot Fuss” album which included the aforementioned Mr. Brightside, as well as other notable songs including “Somebody Told Me” and “All These Things That I’ve Done”. The album reached number 1 in Australia, Ireland and the UK while reaching the top 10 in 6 more countries. The band have continued to impress since their debut with the following albums “Sam’s Town”, “Day and Age” and “Battle Born” all scoring a top 10 listing in both the UK album charts and the US Billboard 200, with recently released “Wonderful Wonderful” looking to keep up with this trend.
The Sheffield band are one of the UK’s most followed acts of the past decade with songs such as “I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor”, “Fluorescent Adolescent” and “Do I Wanna Know?” being staples for any fan of modern rock music. Lead singer Alex Turner is one of the most charismatic stage presences in recent years, which has contributed highly to their popularity. This band is definitely one for anyone starting out in indie to check out, especially their numerous festival appearances.
The 90s music scene in the UK particularly was dominated by two bands, Damon Albarn’s Blur and Oasis, with the wild lifestyles of Noel and Liam Gallagher landing the band mainstream attention. This battle lead to some of the best music Britain had to offer at the time as each band attempted to one-up the other to keep the top of the charts. Each band had their own loyal sets of fans and set up a battle quite like the Beatles and the Stones of the 60s, you liked one or the other, there was no in-between. The bands have both endured the test of time however and are both still popular today, even if the chance of an Oasis revival seems ever bleaker. A comparison between the relative similarities and differences between the bands can be seen by Blur’s cheery happy-go-lucky “Parklife” and the more hard-hitting “Song 2” compared with Oasis’s style which is best seen through “Morning Glory”, “Champagne Supernova” and “Don’t Look Back in Anger” (If only someone told the brothers to follow that today).
The Emo Phase
The part we’ve all been looking forward to, the emo phase that EVERYONE has gone through. Be it after a bad breakup, a hard time at school or through falling out with friends, we have all found solace in the words of Patrick Stump or Gerard Way. The more emotional (hence the name) genre tugs at your heartstrings with songs such as “Welcome to the Black Parade” and “Sugar We’re Goin Down” reducing most to tears and screaming out the chorus. However, the emo genre can go further with teenage angst being highlighted by bands such as All Time Low and Panic! At The Disco in the bands early days a la “I Write Sins, Not Tragedies”
This part is more a speciality of the writer, with the unknown quantities being the basis behind the “Indie Hour” on Radio Caley (if you could come listen in that would be great thanks!) However, this area opens up a huge realm of possibilities. When it comes to unknown indie bands it could be anyone from your local band, like The Cairds in Kilmarnock or The Naked Feedback in Blantyre to bands on the cusp of major success such as Los Campesinos!, a band formed in Cardiff who managed to get their song “You! Me! Dancing!” featured in a major advertising campaign by beer giants Budweiser a few short years ago. When it comes to this section, I would like to talk about a couple of my favourites that I feel have a chance to make it big. These are the Norwegian 3 piece Sløtface and the Pensylvania rockers Modern Baseball. Both bands have a great stage presence and with upbeat songs and highly motivated lyrics that you can’t help but be singing along with when they come on, the sky is the limit for both bands.
When it comes to indie music, there is definitely something for everyone. That’s why I feel it’s important for everyone to at least know a bit about the varied genre, and why I urge everyone to go out and listen to local bands. You never know when you’re going to find the next stars in the making or a new favourite. And while you’re here, why not check out the interview we conducted with The Naked Feedback a few months back?