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No longer Indie/Alternative

  • #1
    Moderators, Arts Moderators, Music Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators Posts: 12,465 mod Pappa Dolla

    When does a band stop being Indie/Alternative?
    My main example would be someone like Nirvana. Bleach is a fantastic Indie/Alternative album, then Nevermind was their crossover into mainstream, while still staying true to (some) of their roots. (I personally believe there are some tracks that are a little too shiny and overproduced.)
    Then there are bands like The Pixies, who are just so massive, how can they be called Alternative?

    I think I've started this thread to try to halt Indie/Alt nazi-ism(sp?) Because out of all the genres, this is the one where it gets more than the usual amount of up their own arses music fans. So what if you like someone who has a top ten entry ? You like music because you like music. It might lead you on to other things that are off the beaten track. So what if you think I am less of a man because I don't own the double b side 7" of Sonic Badgers, "Following in the footsteps of Mary/This is no place"?

    We should be trying to educate each other and introduce new music to each other that we like. I especially like Reactors album reviews. They make for interesting reading.

    Anyway rant over... Can you still like/admire an artist that "breaks through?" and can they still be Indie/Alternative if they're snapped up by a major label and have a top ten album?


  • I totally agree. A friend of mmine was a big Snow Patrol fan but isn't any more. The reason: "They're too popular now" Basically he stopped liking them because it wasn't cool to like them anymore.

  • Alternative isn't really dependent on being obscure, its more to do with being artistically independent and staying original. Case in point REM. I looooooove Murmur - its one of my favourite albums. REM were stunning back then. Over time they have gradually become a pastiche of themselves, to a point where I no longer listen to their new stuff.

    As for the Pixies / Nirvana I think they stayed artistically independent till the end.

  • Can you still like/admire an artist that "breaks through?"
    Of course you can and anyone that doesn't is a bit of a berk imho. Great music is art, it's popularity does not detract from it's beauty.
    can they still be Indie/Alternative if they're snapped up by a major label and have a top ten album?
    Are the Smiths alternative? The Pixies? A band can be 'alternative' and go massive and imho they are still alternative if they keep producing music from unusual influences and coming at you from leftfield (e.g. Radiohead have managed to stay alternative despite mass-popularity.

    The indie label is a harder one to apply to a successful band, coming as it does from the term "independent". Does an artist lose their indie tag once they've signed a distribution deal with a major label? I'm not so sure. To a lot of people, indie would define the sort of rock n' roll lite of the Britpop bands whereas to me it would normally mean the likes of the Irish independent scene (the Frames, Mic Christopher, Damien Rice etc.) It's an incredibly loose term and I think I prefer it that way. I'm not really one for putting "tags" on things. Great music is great music whether it's written by a fifteen year old in his bedroom or released by a platinum selling rock giant. I prefer to just listen and enjoy than to try and place pegs in holes.

  • Personally i try not to use the word indie because of all the different ways people pick up on it. But i think alternative simply defines whatever is alternative to whats in the charts, i know that leaves it very broad but at the same time its not fair to say something is no longer alternative because its sold a certain amount of albums.

  • Alternative to me doesn't mean it has to be underground or a cult following, it's just an alternative to middle of the road rock. Doesn't have to be experimental or out there, just once it's making music for the sake of music and not for making money. Although I do not begrudge any band wealth provided they still make music that is good and don't piss on their fans. Except Mike Patton , he can piss on who he likes.

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  • To be honest, I think extensive radio play does change music, and it does change my opinions of bands. I find I'm de-sensitised to songs that I hear constantly on the radio, and stuff that I originally liked about them (interpreting their lyrics for myself for instance) has been taken away from me in a wash of over-familiarity.

    I think the Killers are a case in point. I first got some of thier stuff about 6 months before Hot Fuss was released here. I really liked the rock / synth combo, but as they've got more and more radio play, I've found I've just got sick of hearing it in the end, and I'm really starting to go off them.

  • mr_angry wrote:
    To be honest, I think extensive radio play does change music, and it does change my opinions of bands.

    Stop listening to radio. I did and I've never looked back.