During our first few days of indie rock and culture I was surprised to hear that some of seminal bands that began what would become the indie movement were not great musicians. Bands like the Sex Pistols were made up of 4 men who could only play a couple of power chords and were not great singers. What the band did have, was an embodiment of the anti establishment, troubled youth sentiment that was running through England in the 1970’s. Bands like the Sex Pistols and the Clash were true punks who knew you did not need to know how to play the guitar to be successful. They believed and embraced the DIY (do it yourself) image. They were part of subculture ( which I’ve learned is a word that cannot be properly defined) but essentially means people that do not identify with mainstream society such as punks, hippies and now, hipsters.
In the 1980’s Sonic Youth and Nirvana came along. Nirvana emerged from the grunge movement of Seattle. Made up of people that were dissatisfied with society. Kurt Cobain, front man of Nirvana, dealt with issues of authenticity and legitimization of music. As a musician that was thrown into the spot light he wanted the world to know that he was more than a man in a grunge band. This made me question whether all musicians want to feel a sense of wanting to be true musicians and why.
As a result of these movements and many others indie rock emerged. It was made up a group of musicians that did not want to support mainstream music and big record labels. The main discussions we’ve been having in class is whether or not indie music is for the high class. Bands like Vampire Weekend and the Dirty Projector came from ivy league schools. They were exposed to many different types of music that then influenced their songs. Some critics have called Vampire Weekend “ivy league post colonials” which I think is both funny and insightful. Personally, I think that while indie music has been associated with privilege a great thing about it is that it makes an effort to include many cultures and hopefully attract a diverse group of people.