Monday, February 22, 2010

Skiing on Indie's Grave

(Lindsey in excellent form)

I gave up free tickets to the Civic Orchestra Saturday night to spend time with my partner in music crime before he left for a week-long conference. We were on our way, actually, to the Missouri Theatre when we both admitted that neither of us was in the mood to fight the rain to hear a Prokofiev piece neither of us knows. So we went home instead and cooked a pizza and watched the Olympics while he packed. I did feel slightly guilty giving up an hour of classical music for several hours of two-man bobsled and men's Super G. But the guilt didn't last long. I've been torturing myself all week with Suzuki practice pieces for cello and the Bach Prelude in G, and I felt entitled to crack open a Fat Tire, half-watch the Olympics, and flip through a library book of National Geographic photos while playing with my friend's hair on the couch.

On his coffee table was the latest Paste magazine:

I confess to feeling nonplussed. Most days I don't care if indie is dead, as long as the music I like lives on. Call it "gerbil grunting" or "slovakian soul"...I don't care. I seem to remember similar articles in the 90s: "Is Alternative Dead?" "Is Grunge Dead?" Well, honestly, who gives a flying flannel? Great music was still made post-90s. Great music will continue to be made in the teens—perhaps not under the passé catch-all "indie"—but under some other handy term.

Music comes and goes and names change, but the all-important stuff—like spending time with someone fantastic—lasts by any term or definition.

Maybe I just miss my friend. Maybe if I read the Paste article, I'd get something relevant out of it. What does the passing of "indie" say about our culture, for instance? Has the corporate music machine become such a dinosaur that independent musicians and culture rule the earth? Is this all due to the rise of the Internet and the ease of self-recording and self-promotion? Probably. There isn't really a need for the term "indie" these days, except to distinguish between, say, Fleet Foxes and Adam Lambert.

I'm more concerned that Fleet Foxes will release another album and that Adam Lambert will shut up about how gay he is. Yawn. Most of all, I want my friend to come home so we can watch what's left of the Olympics together next weekend. If indie rolls over in the night and breathes its last, well, then R.I.P., O catchphrase of the moment.


  1. Honestly, I don't think "indie" was ever born. It was the only way for the industry to label anyone who wasn't on a corporate label or at least didn't sound like they belonged with a major. I do admit that the label does make it easier to find what I'm looking for, but it's still pretty unnecessary.

  2. I suppose when you're flipping through a music catalog, it's a helpful label to distinguish indie from country or easy listening.

    I'm sure there's some new "underground" music movement already simmering as we type--which will soon bubble to the surface, only to be declared dead in a few years.