Please Stop With the Indie Rocking

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Just what is indie rock, and what does it sound like? Justin Spindler of the Ann Arbor-based record label Quite Scientific–an independent record label, it should be noted–suggests to the Detroit alt-weekly Metro Times that the term is useless as a genre label:

I completely support the idea of self-produced, independently released and honestly promoted music. To me, that is indie rock. But at some point indie rock became a sound–a limiting sound. “That sounds like indie rock”: What the fuck does that even mean? I can say, “I was rappin’,” and you understand what that means. But if I say, “I’m hip-hopping,” it sounds like a quote from a movie where some out-of-touch elder statesman doesn’t know what’s going on. Indie rock should be in that same category as hip-hop. I can’t indie rock. I can’t say, “I spent the afternoon indie rocking.” That tells me it should never be considered a music genre.

So what is Spindler doing to correct this cultural injustice? He’s putting out music by an electronic pop band called Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. Now, to me, the name is amusing but little more than that, an example of hipsters kitschily appropriating NASCAR-nation imagery. (And actually, it does a poor job itself of conveying the band’s tenderly sweet pop sound.) But to Spindler the moniker is part of a righteous battle against indie-rock convention. I’ll let him explain:

I’d be lying if I said we didn’t discuss changing [the band’s name] numerous times. But there’s a real ethos behind it that ties into that idea of not being shackled to indie rock. I know “indie rock” means different things to different people, but the name Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. seems to smack against most peoples’ concept of it.


Source: Metro Times

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