10 September 2009

Lately, over at Hipster Runoff, Carles has been bemoaning the death of all things "indie" and "alt". He also isn't as taken with the whole lo-fi resurgence as I am, but I still think he has a point. Where are we going, and where have we been? Where do we go from here? Is this it? 
It's beginning to get to a point where it is becoming nearly impossible to discern what is good and what isn't. It seems like every day there is a special new band, but what the hell are we supposed to do with that? Embrace it, and dub it as the "next big thing". Or reject, and call it "lame" and complain about how it isn't as good as ________. Even Pitchfork seems confused as to what to do. 
Despite the current state of affairs, I think this dry spell can also be a good thing for music fans. With so much nondescript shit coming out, it is becoming increasingly easy to work your way backwards through musical history. If there's nothing new to get excited about, then why not turn to the past and enjoy something that is already proven to be awesome. Deerhunter can't be expected to release a new album every month, and even Grizzly Bear needs time off in between albums. Beach House can't craft beautifully delicate melodies around the clock, and occasionally Jay Reatard needs to be somewhere other than a recording space. But, it's still ok. Personally, I've been able to take this time to get even further into Guided By Voices, Built to Spill, and Yo La Tengo. These are all seminal indie bands, and are worthy of further exploration and fortunately this dearth of good music has paved the way for more quality listening of top-shelf shit. Wavves is all well and good, but no one can be expected to sustain themselves off of it. Cymbals Eat Guitars have been one of my most favorite bands of the year, but so much of their appeal has to do with the fact that they remind me of classic indie standards like Built to Spill and the Pixies. 
A lot of these "older" bands, and by older I mean late '80s/early '90s, never really got a moment to shine. For as awesome as Pavement was, and despite the fact that they made a super radio accessible song  in "Cut Your Hair", they never rose above any of their constituents because for whatever reason The Breeders' "Cannonball" was seen as a more viable song for the marketplace. And that's fine, but if Pavement can't break through then what does that mean for the rest of the bands from this moment in time. 
Being popular is overrated anyway, and it's also entirely possible that the most important band of our era is still out there lurking in the shadows somewhere. Maybe, we just haven't heard them yet. In a way, it would almost defy the point of being good indie music if everyone was ga-ga over the same new band. This confusion may be a good thing. Guess, only time will tell. Until then....
PS: As your attorney I advise that you listen to Yo La Tengo.

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