Saturday, 9 January 2010


Somewhat muddled, whiggish appraisal of noughties 'indie' from Simon Reynolds (although it is for the Guardian, admittedly).

There's a passing glance at the 'meaninglessness' of the term, but he seems to make the typical error of gathering together a lot of disparate (if not antithetical) sub-species under the same cloak. A tag that can be applied equally to Animal Collective and Arctic Monkeys does not have any purchase whatsoever in my book.

Besides, some of the points made are just plain wrong. The Strokes and co 'jolted the scene out of the dismal post-Britpop slough of the late 90s'? Give me Radiohead, Mercury Rev, Flaming Lips, Beta Band, Mogwai et al any day of the week.

'Apart from maybe the White Stripes, none could really be described as retro'?! Ahem, ahem, etc.

There is some validity in this sort of argument, I think, but you have to be much more subtle about what sort of 'indie' is being dealt with. A geographical caveat is conspicuously absent, for starters: Animal Collective, Micachu and the Shapes, Gang Gang Dance, TV on the Radio, High Places, Foals, Vampire Weekend, Telepathe, Dirty Projectors; 7 out of 9 American, mostly Brooklynite.

'Landfill indie' has never seemed quite right to me ('one of the decade's great memes', apparently). It captures the conservatism but doesn't really convey the gaudiness and elision with celebrity culture.

Must check out some more Micachu stuff, though.

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