What is indie anyway?


Ah, “Indie”. That mystical genre that seems ever so irrelevant in 2018. Even with the release of an album by the band considered the figurehead of the genre, Arctic Monkeys, the genre still appears to be gone, deceased, fin.
Does the term ‘indie’ actually even mean anything anymore? Is it just a term loosely thrown around to categorize music that might not quite be ‘pop’ but isn’t quite ‘alternative’? There are plenty of bands around that I believe do deserve the title of ‘indie’ and do fulfill the desired ‘qualities’ of your typical indie band such as Circa Waves, The Vaccines and The Courteneers; however, I do believe the genre is beginning to slowly die out.

That said, this is not necessarily a bad thing. The genre has been diversified vastly so that subgenres of indie are popping up almost everywhere. Whilst there are still some bands that stick to the core indie values, seemingly forever in the shadow of Oasis and Blur, smaller bands have established themselves with quirky new categories of indie. Harsher and grittier sounds of punk music have been fused with indie to create an ‘indie-punk’ subgenre where bands like Drug Church and Daddy Issues have established themselves as key bands to highlight. On top of this, bands like Cassia and and Vistas are bringing a newer sound to indie with refreshing guitar leads and melodic vocal melodies. Pale Waves have recently shown us also that indie can be fused to become more electronic-sounding and have achieved a lot in a small space of time. This shows that whilst the ‘OG’ indie scene is slowly passing over, a breath of fresh air is injected via these upcoming bands.

In comparison to the late 2000s, where albums like Favourite Worst Nightmare by Arctic Monkeys and Dig Out Your Soul by Oasis were released and adored by millions, indie doesn’t quite seem to be the same now. What was once arguably at the forefront of British music, indie seems to be lesser distinguished now with bands favouring to proceed much more mainstream. A good example of this could be The 1975 who have enjoyed success not only as a figurehead in the indie scene but now also the mainstream ‘pop’ scene too. Losing fans but acquiring more along the way, The 1975 have shown that good things can come of the genre and bands do not necessarily need to stick to their roots in order to be successful – as shown with their immensely popular new record A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships.

Overall, I believe indie is in a vast decline right now. Bands that have already established themselves like The Courtneeners are doing their best to stick to their ingrained roots of indie music but more and more bands are seemingly more invested in breaking into the mainstream with much more pop-flavoured music, ditching the high-gain guitar riffs for high tempo ‘synthy’ ballads. With the emergence of top-quality bands at the grassroots level now, it seems possible for the bands of the future to help defend the integrity of a once great genre.


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Psychology student at UoS.

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