Friday, October 16, 2009

New Underground: The Indie Rock Revolution

Hip-hop is pop culture. Hip-hop is on top. Hip-hop right now…sucks. Now, now don’t bit my head off. The deluded, auto-tune induced garbage that whines of the radio can not possibly be considered good music. I have seen many music scholars and fans (myself included) trying to justify what is occurring in hip-hop. Unfortunately the more we desire to help hip-hop, the more niggas seem to want to take the easy way out and throw it back in our face.

Hip-hop may have forgotten its underground roots, but American music hasn’t. Despite popular belief, American music is not born by the popular and the rich. Like the Blues, Jazz, Rock, Funk, etc. America’s musical genres develop in an artistic crucible that has been dubbed by my generation as the underground. This section seems to elude the penetration of the pop regime, and it is here that we see the machinations of new and exciting art forms. This is were hip-hop was created, and this is were the next great art form will be found.

Instead of lamenting the slow, painful death of hip-hop, I have embraced it and have become very excited about what is happening in Music. This is only my opinion, but I believe the next wave of music is coming from the “indie rock” scene.

Indie Rock, for those not familiar, is less a genre of music and more a movement. It represents independent bands that have stretched from the punk era, all the way to the 2000s. I was first introduced to the term with the Movie Garden State, which features an entire indie band soundtrack. The most important thing to me was that it was refreshing. It was so fucking refreshing. Yes very corny at times, some times a little haunting, but god it was different.

The amazing thing about Indie Rock is the rampant experimentation. Indie Bands do not have to answer to anyone but their fans, so the desire to experiment and find their own unique voices has an almost fervor like quality to them. I love listening to a band change dramatically from one genre to the next, and consequently reinventing what that means. These bands make no qualms about not fitting into a box, and continually jump across them.

Music is a living thing, and it is constantly growing and evolving. That is what I search for when I listen to music. I search for music that grows, that moves, that challenges my perceptions and tantalizes my emotions. When a band reaches the level of Pop, they have reached a zenith. Their only drive at that point is to stay at that level. The hunger is gone, replaced is desperation. Art is created and formed at the lowest level, striving to find an audience, hungry and passionate for expression and human connection. That is the art I love the best.

The Garden State, My introduction to the concept know as Indie rock.

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