|Cultural origins||Late 1970s, United Kingdom|
Indie pop (also typeset as indie-pop or indiepop) is a music genre and subculturethat combines guitar pop with DIY ethic in opposition to the style and tone of mainstream pop music. It originated from British post-punk in the late 1970s and subsequently generated a thriving fanzine, label, and club and gig circuit. Compared to its counterpart, indie rock, the genre is more melodic, less abrasive, and relatively angst-free. In later years, the definition of indie pop has bifurcated to also mean bands from unrelated DIY scenes/movements with pop leanings. Subgenres include chamber pop and twee pop.
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—Nitsuh Abebe, Pitchfork
—Emily I. Dolan, Popular Music
Both indie and indie pop had originally referred to the same thing during the late 1970s. Inspired more by punk rock's DIY ethos than its style, guitar bands were formed on the then-novel premise that one could record and release their own music instead of having to procure a record contract from a major label. 's Nitsuh Abebe identifies the majority of indie as "all about that 60s-styled guitar jangle". Indie pop borrows heavily from Western pop song conventions and structures with extensive use of, for example, major chords, hooks, common time and a "consistent and noticeable rhythmic element" i.e. the beat.According to Emily Dolan, indie is predicated on the distorted music of the Velvet Underground, the "rebellious screaming" of early punk, and "some of rock's more quirky and eccentric figures", such as Jonathan Richman. Pitchfork
Indie pop was an unprecedented contrast from the gritty and serious tones of previous underground rock styles, as well as being a departure from the glamour of contemporary pop music.Distinguished from the angst and abrasiveness of its indie rock counterpart, the majority of indie pop borrows not only the stripped-down quality of punk, but also "the sweetness and catchiness of mainstream pop". Music critic Simon Reynolds says that indie pop defines itself against "charting pop". Abebe explains:
One of those things was the idea that rock music was supposed to be cool – "cool" meaning sexy, tough, arty, fiery, or fantastical... The charts had "cool" covered – these kids, in their basements and bedrooms, were trying to hand-craft a mirror-image of it, a pop world where they were the stars... and a little bit of a raspberry blown at the larger musical world, which (sensibly) went right on preferring something more interesting than average white kids playing simple pop songs.
Despite their relatively minor commercial success (their third album was sardonically titled They Could Have Been Bigger than the Beatles ), the Television Personalities are highly regarded by critics and have been widely influential, especially on the C86 generation. 's 1986 compilation C86 , which collects many guitar bands who were inspired by the early psychedelic sounds of 1960s garage rock.Simon Reynolds has said that "what we now know as indie music was invented in Scotland," with reference to the emergence of Postcard Records in 1979. However, some have posited that concept of indie music did not crystallise until the late 1980s and early 1990s. Brisbane band "the Go-Betweens" were an early influential indie pop band, releasing their first single "Lee Remick" in 1978. American indie pop band Beat Happening's 1985 eponymous debut album was also influential in the development of the indie pop sound, particularly in North America. In the early 1990s, English indie pop influenced and branched off to a variety of styles. The US, which did not have as much of a scene in the 1980s, had many indie pop enthusiasts by the mid 1990s. Most of the modern notion of indie music stems from NME
Names that indie pop fans use for themselves are popkids and popgeeks, and for the music they listen to, p!o!p, twee, anorak and C86. Abebe says that the Scottish group the Pastels typified the "hip end of 'anorak': Their lazy melodies, lackadaisical strum, and naive attitude transformed the idea of the rock band into something casual, intimate, and free from the pretense of cool".
Everett True, a writer for NME in the 1980s, believes that C86 was not the main factor behind indie pop, arguing that Sarah Records was more responsible for sticking to a particular sound, and that: "C86 didn't actually exist as a sound, or style. ... I find it weird, bordering on surreal, that people are starting to use it as a description again". [ better source needed ]Geoff Taylor, a member of the band Age of Chance, added: "We never considered ourselves part of any scene. I’m not sure that the public at large did either, to be honest. We were just an independent band around at that same time as the others."
Bob Stanley, a Melody Maker journalist in the late 1980s and founding member of pop band Saint Etienne, acknowledges that participants at the time reacted against lazy labelling, but insists they shared an approach:[ improper synthesis? ] "Of course the 'scene', like any scene, barely existed. Like squabbling Marxist factions, groups who had much in common built up petty rivalries. The June Brides and the Jasmine Minks were the biggest names at Alan McGee's Living Room Club and couldn't stand the sight of each other. Only when the Jesus and Mary Chain exploded and stole their two-headed crown did they realise they were basically soulmates. [ verification needed ] Manic Street Preachers bassist Nicky Wire remembers that it was the bands' very independence that gave the scene coherence: "People were doing everything themselves - making their own records, doing the artwork, gluing the sleeves together, releasing them and sending them out, writing fanzines because the music press lost interest really quickly."
Many of the actual C86 bands distanced themselves from the scene cultivated around them by the UK music press - in its time, C86 became a pejorative term for its associations with so-called "shambling" (a John Peel-coined description celebrating the self-conscious primitive approach of some of the music) and underachievement. [ verification needed ]
Where once the term 'Alt pop' was interchangeable with that of 'Indiepop' (with 'Alternative' being the preferred American term for non-mainstream acts, and 'Indie' being favoured more in the United Kingdom), in the 21st Century the term started to be used less in conjunction with twee, jangly guitar acts who would be found in the indie charts and more with pop artists like Tate McRaeand Billie Eilish . These 21st Century pop stars would be seen as more eclectic and more original than the usual chart pop stars (with the definition of chart pop in this instance being the 'more cheesy ' or 'purer' form of pop music usually targeted at teenagers), having more in common with Art pop and Lo-fi music than Stock Aitken Waterman .
Twee pop is a subgenre of indie popthat originates from C86. Characterised by its simplicity and perceived innocence, some of its defining features are boy-girl harmonies, catchy melodies, and lyrics about love. For many years, most bands were distributed by Sarah Records (in the UK) and K Records (in the US).
Shibuya-kei is a Japanese style from the 1990s that was embraced by indie pop enthusiasts, partly because many of its bands were distributed in the United States through major indie labels like Matador and Grand Royal. Out of all the Japanese groups from the scene, Pizzicato Five was the closest in achieving mainstream success in the US.
Chamber pop is a subgenre of indie pop that features lush orchestrations. Heavily influenced by Brian Wilson and Burt Bacharach,the majority of Louis Phillipe's productions for él Records embodied the sophisticated use of orchestras and voices that typified the style, whilst the Divine Comedy were the most popular chamber pop act of the Britpop era.
Post-rock is a form of experimental rock characterized by a focus on exploring textures and timbre over traditional rock song structures, chords, or riffs. Post-rock artists are often instrumental, typically combining rock instrumentation with electronics. The genre emerged within the indie and underground music scene of the 1980s and early 1990s. However, due to its abandonment of rock conventions, it often bears little resemblance musically to contemporary indie rock, borrowing instead from diverse sources including ambient music, electronica, jazz, krautrock, dub, and minimalist classical.
Three Imaginary Boys is the debut studio album by English rock band the Cure, released on 8 May 1979 by Fiction Records. It was later released in the United States, Canada, and Australia with a different track listing as a compilation album titled Boys Don't Cry.
Indie rock is a genre of rock music that originated in the United States and United Kingdom in the 1970s. Originally used to describe independent record labels, the term became associated with the music they produced and was initially used interchangeably with alternative rock or "guitar pop rock". In the 1980s, the use of the term "indie" started to shift from its reference to recording companies to describe the style of music produced on punk and post-punk labels. During the 1990s, grunge and punk revival bands in the US and Britpop bands in the UK broke into the mainstream, and the term "alternative" lost its original counter-cultural meaning. The term "indie rock" became associated with the bands and genres that remained dedicated to their independent status. By the end of the 1990s, indie rock developed several subgenres and related styles, including lo-fi, noise pop, emo, slowcore, post-rock, and math rock. In the 2000s, changes in the music industry and a growing importance of the Internet enabled a new wave of indie rock bands to achieve mainstream success, leading to questions about its meaningfulness as a term.
Alternative rock is a category of rock music that emerged from the independent music underground of the 1970s and became widely popular in the 1990s. "Alternative" refers to the genre's distinction from mainstream or commercial rock or pop music. The term's original meaning was broader, referring to a generation of musicians unified by their collective debt to either the musical style or simply the independent, DIY ethos of punk rock, which in the late 1970s laid the groundwork for alternative music.
Twee pop is a subgenre of indie pop that is thought to originate from the 1986 NME compilation C86. Characterised by its simplicity and perceived innocence, some of its defining features are boy-girl harmonies, catchy melodies, and lyrics about love. For many years, prominent independent record labels associated with twee pop were Sarah Records and K Records.
College rock was the alternative rock music played on student-run university and college campus radio stations located in the United States and Canada in the 1980s. The stations' playlists were often created by students who avoided the mainstream rock played on commercial radio stations.
K Records is an independent record label in Olympia, Washington founded in 1982. Artists on the label included early releases by Beck, Modest Mouse and Built to Spill. The record label has been called "key to the development of independent music" since the 1980s.
Jangle or jingle-jangle is characterized by electric guitars starting the head and/or arpeggiating throughout. The sound has featured mainly in pop music and rock music and is often associated with 1960s guitar bands, folk rock, and 1980s indie music. It is sometimes classed as its own subgenre, jangle pop, a genre of rock music created in the 1960s that saw a resurgence in the 1980s.. Music critics usually deploy the term to suggest brightly-evocative guitar pop.
Noise pop is a subgenre of alternative or indie rock that developed in the mid-1980s in the United Kingdom and United States. It is defined by its mixture of dissonant noise or feedback with the songcraft more often found in pop music. Shoegazing, another noise-based genre that developed in the 1980s, drew from noise pop.
Grebo was a short-lived subgenre of alternative rock that incorporated influences from punk rock, electronic dance music, hip hop and psychedelia. The scene occupied the period in the late 1980s and early 1990s in the United Kingdom before the popularisation of Britpop and grunge. The genre and its attributes were largely absorbed into industrial rock, which would emerge after the sub-genres demise in the late 1980s, which then led to the development of industrial metal in the 1990s.
British rock describes a wide variety of forms of music made in the United Kingdom. Since around 1964, with the "British Invasion" of the United States spearheaded by the Beatles, British rock music has had a considerable impact on the development of American music and rock music across the world.
The New Record by My Bloody Valentine is the second EP by the alternative rock band My Bloody Valentine, released in September 1986 on Kaleidoscope Sound. Recorded at Alaska Studios in London, the EP's sound is influenced by C86, a brand of indie pop, and diverges from the band's earlier post-punk sound.
Popular music of the United Kingdom in the 1990s continued to develop and diversify. While the singles charts were dominated by boy bands and girl groups, British soul and Indian-based music also enjoyed their greatest level of mainstream success to date, and the rise of World music helped revitalise the popularity of folk music. Electronic rock bands like The Prodigy and Chemical Brothers began to achieve a high profile. Alternative rock reached the mainstream, emerging from the Madchester scene to produce dream pop, shoegazing, post rock and indie pop, which led to the commercial success of Britpop bands like Blur and Oasis; followed by a stream of post-Britpop bands like Travis and Feeder.
The Hit Parade is a music group from London that has released eight LPs and fourteen 7" vinyl records. The group is described in British press as "the very definition of twee Eighties style indie".
The Pooh Sticks were an indie pop band from Swansea, Wales recording between 1988 and 1995. They were notable for their jangly melodiousness and lyrics gently mocking the indie scene of the time such as on "On Tape", "Indiepop Ain't Noise Pollution" and "I Know Someone Who Knows Someone Who Knows Alan McGee Quite Well". The band changed direction on their 1991 U.S breakthrough The Great White Wonder, eschewing the 'twee' British indie pop sound for a more American-styled power pop sound, akin to bands like Jellyfish and Redd Kross. Subsequent albums Million Seller, released on 11 January 1993, considered by some power pop fans to be the band's best work, and Optimistic Fool, released on 24 April 1995, followed in this style.
An independent music scene is a localized independent music-oriented community of bands and their audiences. Local scenes can play a key role in musical history and lead to the development of influential genres; for example, No Wave from New York City, Madchester from Manchester, and Grunge from Seattle.
CD86: 48 Tracks from the Birth of Indie Pop is a compilation album of artists from the original C86 era, released in 2006 by Sanctuary Records. It is compiled by Bob Stanley of Saint Etienne.
British pop music is popular music, produced commercially in the United Kingdom. It emerged in the mid-to late 1950s as a softer alternative to American rock 'n' roll. Like American pop music it has a focus on commercial recording, often orientated towards a youth market, as well as that of the Singles Chart usually through the medium of relatively short and simple love songs. While these basic elements of the genre have remained fairly constant, pop music has absorbed influences from most other forms of popular music, particularly borrowing from the development of rock music, and utilising key technological innovations to produce new variations on existing themes. From the British Invasion of rock bands in the 1960s, led by The Beatles, British pop music has alternated between acts and genres with national appeal and those with international success that have had a considerable impact on the development of the wider genre and on popular music in general.
Post-punk is a broad genre of rock music which emerged in the late 1970s as artists departed from the raw simplicity and traditionalism of punk rock, instead adopting a variety of avant-garde sensibilities and non-rock influences. Inspired by punk's energy and DIY ethic but determined to break from rock cliches, artists experimented with styles like funk, electronic music, jazz, and dance music; the production techniques of dub and disco; and ideas from art and politics, including critical theory, modernist art, cinema and literature. These communities produced independent record labels, visual art, multimedia performances and fanzines.
C86 is a cassette compilation released by the British music magazine NME in 1986, featuring new bands licensed from British independent record labels of the time. As a term, C86 quickly evolved into shorthand for a guitar-based musical genre characterized by jangling guitars and melodic power pop song structures, although other musical styles were represented on the tape. In its time, it became a pejorative term for its associations with so-called "shambling" and underachievement. The C86 scene is now recognized as a pivotal moment for independent music in the UK, as was recognized in the subtitle of the compilation's 2006 CD issue: CD86: 48 Tracks from the Birth of Indie Pop. 2014 saw the original compilation reissued in a 3CD expanded edition from Cherry Red Records; the 2014 box-set came with an 11,500-word book of sleevenotes by one of the tape's original curators, former NME journalist Neil Taylor.