Thursday, April 02, 2009

Indie, what does it mean?

CN&R > Music > CAMMIES: Indie/Experimental, Hip-hop, Electro > 04.02.09
You have your indie rock, you have your experimental. You have your indie-experimental. How about alternative? The Alternative Nation? What does it mean? It’s all so confusing.

Labels in music are silly, yet they’ve always functioned as a way to help record companies sell their product … back when they sold product. If you took the term “indie” at face value, every band in Chico would be considered indie.

“Indie rock appears to be a very subjective term,” says Nolan Ford of this year’s CAMMIE-nominated The Secret Stolen. “It doesn’t really define what the music sounds like as much as it is concerned with classifying bands by their promotional philosophies.” Fair enough. TSS does it DIY, while putting out some serious rock ’n’ roll—the kind you’d hear if you crossed Melt-Banana and George Thorogood.

Experimental is much more simple to define, although what exactly does one have to do to be considered experimental? Maybe play a double-neck mandolin with your toes? Let’s just be happy there are bands in Chico pushing the boundaries of sound (as we box them into an easily identifiable category). This year’s nominees are eclectic. And the voting was so close that the category has grown by two bands.

First-time nominee Dr. Yes! is one man and an arsenal of gadgetry. Sometimes he brings a band along for the ride (called The Soulgazers). It’s krautrock meets disco meets psychedelic. Categorize that.

Maybe experimental means your band has no vocals—like jazz, you have only the notes telling you what you’re supposed to feel. As is the case with Red Giant and La Fin du Monde—two bands, sans vocals, that tip-toe and stomp over a number of styles including jazz and metal. They’ve made a lot of friends without saying a single word.
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