Features: Early Birthday Ramblings About Indie Rock And Minor Threat

Originally posted on MySpace 06/25/2005

Is it me, or has indie-rock gotten soft? I was thinking about this today, about how the steady diet of music I once feasted upon was almost exclusively made up of indie-rock artists. Or underground rock or whatever moniker we want to pin on it today. Have all of the artists I once loved fallen by the wayside, caught in an endless stream of making the same record again, unable to stay fresh in the ground they’d once broken?

Over the year so far, I’ve purchased (yeah, purchased, I do like the real thing from time to time, although I do support taking the industry down, one burned CD at a time) several records, with only The Arcade Fire retaining any semblance of indie street cred. Used to be, a new Foo Fighters or Smashing Pumpkins record (although always welcome to my ears), would’ve been a supplemental mainstream side dish to my indie rock diet. Now they’ve become the staples, the meat and potatoes to a side of broccoli known as the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. Where have the truly exciting, ground breakers run off? The Mars Volta record is great (although some would disagree) and the new Whites Stripes is a ways off their well proven, beaten path, but where are the Hammerheads, Helmets, Jesus Lizards, Big Blacks, Nirvanas, Rocket From The Crypts, Murder City Devils, Melvins, Sonic Youths and Steel Pole Bathtubs of today? Minor Threats?

And I don’t just mean style-wise. It seems to me, there aren’t many new ideas anymore. It’s discouraging. Maybe I’m missing out on some true-blue vital, real music. Y’know, the stuff that just doesn’t sound good, it feels good. It feels real. Believe me, when you know what real “feels” like, you can always feel it. It just has that certain something extra.

Speaking of discouraging and Minor Threat, the new Nike ad has been brought to my attention. If you haven’t seen it, it’s pitiful. Nike has basically ripped off the cover from Minor Threat “Discography” for their new “Major Threat” ad campaign. Unfortunately, the image has probably been altered the required 35% so as not to be copyright infringement, and that’s sad. Everything Dischord and Ian Mackaye have done in the name of integrity and independent artists all over the world has been pissed on by Corporate Big Business. Dischord, if you’re not familiar, was and still should be the model for what an independent record label does and how they handle themselves. No major backing, not looking to sign any of their bands off to majors, just putting out great music they believe in for a reasonable price and more than a few ounces of integrity.

I know some of the younger fans out there evidently don’t seem to understand why it’s such an outrage, here in this world of corporate punk, “indie” rock, etc. where everything is some sort of mass-marketing tie-in and nothing is sacred. But there was a time when independent record labels weren’t funded by major label backing, Sub Pop wasn’t distributed through Elektra, and indie labels weren’t a credibility front for a major. Start them on the faux-indie and then once the fan base swells use the major imprint on the record. Like Smashing Pumpkins “getting signed” from their Caroline indie release to Virgin releasing “Siamese Dream”. Virgin owns Caroline. There are so many of these instances, it’s unreal. And deceitful.

I don’t really know where or how these two subjects tie-in, but that just ended up being the rambling flow. I turned 35 about 17 minutes ago, and I thought I left all my ideals back with the closing of Record Lounge almost 10 years ago. Maybe I haven’t.


(Disclaimer: I’m in no way bashing the Foo’s or Smashing Pumpkins in any way, just using them as examples. the new Foo’s is really good, and the Billy Corgan, whereas different for him, is pretty good too. Haven’t really sunk my teeth in there yet.)


~ by thesynaptic on August 8, 2010.

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