Indie music scene
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An independent music scene is a localized independent music-oriented (or, more specifically, indie rock/indie pop-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.
- 1 List of indie scenes per region
- 1.1 Australia and New Zealand
- 1.2 North America
- 1.3 Asia
- 1.4 Europe
- 2 Notes
List of indie scenes per region
Australia and New Zealand
- Melbourne: Melbourne has the largest music scene in Australia and more venues per capita than any other city in the world. Melbourne's music has always been healthy but the arrival of Punk in the late 70s, and then cheap electronic musical instruments saw an explosion of artistic and original music that was not hindered by genre. The Boys Next Door launched The Birthday Party and the careers of Nick Cave and Rowland S. Howard. The Birthday Party's uncompromising music and performances made them the most influential independent Rock band of all time and their legacy continues to influence the international scene. Simultaneously Ollie Olsen's Whirly Wirld, the Primitive Calculators and the Little Bands, and other bands brought monophonic synthesisers, rhythm machines and other non-Rock instruments to the scene. Melbourne music maintain a high profile in Europe
- Sydney: While the independent music scene in Sydney was once second only to Melbourne's, it has suffered from a lack of suitable venues for the last decade or so. Many pubs and clubs are alleged to have found it more profitable to offer gambling machines rather than live music, but a complex and live-music-hostile regulatory environment has also contributed.[dated info]. Some examples include: Pnau, Deep Sea Arcade.
- Perth: Perth's isolation as the only capital city on the west coast, has allowed a thriving independent music scene to develop. Notable examples include: Tame Impala, The Sleepy Jackson, San Cisco.
- Brisbane: Brisbane has a smaller indie scene than Melbourne but many indie bands are in Brisbane. Some bands include: An Horse, Last Dinosaurs, The Medics, Greenthief, The Jungle Giants. The greatest of all is The Saints whose single "(I'm) Stranded" (1977) is considered one of the founding songs of Punk Rock.
- Dunedin: The Dunedin Sound was a style of indie pop music created in the southern New Zealand university city of Dunedin in the early 1980s. It is characterized by "jingly jangly" guitar-playing, minimal basslines and loose drumming. Keyboards are also often prevalent. New Zealand-based Flying Nun Records championed the scene; key artists include The Clean (who gave the scene the name Dunedin Sound), and The Chills.
- Auckland: Auckland is the headquarters of experimental indie taste-makers Midium Records. Auckland is also associated with indie-by-name-only The Mint Chicks and Cut Off Your Hands. Other indie related artists include State of Mind, Liam Finn, Pan Am, Connan Mockasin, The Checks, The Veils and This Flight Tonight.
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- Toronto, Ontario: In the mid-2000s an influx of independent bands infiltrated the music scene, such as Broken Social Scene, Death from Above 1979, Tokyo Police Club, Metric, Crystal Castles and The Carps gaining notoriety at home and abroad.
- Montreal, Quebec: The Montreal music scene has given rise to such musicians and groups as Sean Nicholas Savage, Grimes, BRAIDS, Blue Hawaii, The Deers, Tegan and Sara, Arcade Fire, Stars, Islands, Plants and Animals, Wolf Parade, Sunset Rubdown, AIDS Wolf, Bell Orchestre, Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Patrick Watson. It is centered around the Mile End neighborhood, in the Borough of Le Plateau-Mont-Royal.
- Halifax, Nova Scotia: In the 1990s, Halifax was home to the "Halifax Pop Explosion" scene, including bands such as Sloan, Jale, Thrush Hermit, Rebecca West, The Super Friendz and The Hardship Post. After the early scene splintered somewhat in the late 1990s, artists including Joel Plaskett, Wintersleep, In-Flight Safety and Rich Aucoin formed a second wave in the 2000s.
- Athens, Georgia: During the early 1980s, sleepy Athens suddenly exploded with influential post-punk bands such as R.E.M., the B-52s and Pylon. Many successful indie rock bands in the 1990s were formed in Athens, and were often associated with The Elephant 6 Recording Company (or simply Elephant 6). Some notable bands include The Apples in Stereo, The Olivia Tremor Control, Neutral Milk Hotel, and Of Montreal.
- Chapel Hill, North Carolina: The "Chapel Hill" music scene (which also often includes bands from nearby Research Triangle cities Raleigh and Durham) was one of the biggest hotbeds of indie music starting in the mid-1980s with bands like The Connells, Flat Duo Jets and Southern Culture On The Skids. The 1990s saw the rise of such iconic indie rock bands as Polvo, Archers of Loaf and Superchunk which started Merge one of the best indie record labels of the 1990s. The 2000s saw the arrival of bands like Ben Folds Five and Squirrel Nut Zippers. The indie club Cat's Cradle (which originated as a folk cafe in the 1960s) has also played a major part in the vibrancy of the "Chapel Hill" music scene hosting many "little known" acts (like Pearl Jam, Nirvana, and Smashing Pumpkins) that eventually went on to become major "alternative" acts in the mid-1990s.
- Washington, D.C.: Although the D.C. area was the original home to notable musicians ranging from Duke Ellington and Marvin Gaye to Jim Morrison, Mama Cass and Nils Lofgren, by the 1960s there was little musical infrastructure in D.C. to support a local scene of musicians that would achieve national renown, and most local musicians who sought success or influence went to cities such as New York, Detroit or Los Angeles to pursue their careers. Gaye, for instance, became an innovator and global star of R&B but went to Motown Records before achieving major renown. One rare example of a local scene at the time was the Takoma Park folk scene, centered on the independent self-releases of John Fahey, an acoustic-based artist with both a traditional orientation and an experimental inclination. This scene had little commercial impact at the time, even in the D.C. area, and its artistic influence on underground musicians such as Sonic Youth occurred over a longer term. In the 1970s, however, the majority African American city and its surrounding suburbs such as Prince George's County, Maryland developed a homegrown type of dance-oriented, African-influenced funk music called Go-go, which became highly popular among local residents, though it failed to attract significant national or global attention as compared with other forms of dance music at the time. Go-go artists of major importance in its early years included Rare Essence, Trouble Funk and E.U., with Chuck Brown being the figure most commonly associated with the movement from then to the present. A local infrastructure of independent stores and labels released Go-go music, and local radio stations played it. The late 1970s and early 1980s also marked the birth of a punk rock-inspired independent music scene in the nation's capital which would prove highly influential on other musicians around the country and the world, providing the first independent rock scene in Washington, D.C. and one of the earliest in the U.S. Bad Brains helped to put D.C. on the map with a sound that merged reggae and soul with hard guitars to develop the musically and politically subversive genre of hardcore punk. D.C. resident Henry Rollins, who also came out of the hardcore punk scene, joined the highly influential band Black Flag and became their frontman. Perhaps most importantly, Ian Mackaye and Jeff Nelson founded Dischord Records, originally to release their own groundbreaking hardcore punk recordings with bands such as Teen Idles and Minor Threat. By the later 1980s, Dischord had maintained its firmly independent ethic even as it became a D.C. institution. Meanwhile, its bands such as Embrace and Rites of Spring had developed beyond the hardcore sound to an emotionally raw and more melodic, but still abrasive music which eventually attracted the tag "emo-core" or "emo," which would widely influence alternative rock music in the 1990s and 2000s. The first wave of D.C. independent musicians gradually moved on to developing post-hardcore styles. Members of different Dischord bands were united in the MacKaye-fronted Fugazi, who existed from the 1980s to early 2000s and became a prototypical independent band in their business model. Musically, the band also marked a new era for the D.C. scene, drawing from a range of sounds from hardcore punk to dub and funk; Fugazi are often identified as D.C.'s most influential band along with Minor Threat, Bad Brains and Black Flag, although the band, like other Dischord acts, often recorded not in D.C. but in studios in Arlington, in Northern Virginia. Dave Grohl, a Northern Virginia resident who played in local punk bands such as Scream, joined Seattle-based grunge band Nirvana in 1990, a year before their massive commercial breakthrough; after Nirvana's breakup, Grohl, though no longer based in the area, had continued mainstream success with Foo Fighters, who wrote songs about the D.C. and Northern Virginia area. By the 1990s, as alternative rock went mainstream, Dischord bands such as Shudder to Think began to receive mainstream attention and some signed with major labels, though the label (and Fugazi) remained firmly independent and continues to release musicians who are rooted locally. Because of the unique musical heritage of African Americans in D.C., which included more influence from Afro-funk and Caribbean music, D.C.-based hip hop artists often strugged to find success outside the area, though Wale finally reversed this trend somewhat. Go-go, after a number of failed attempts to expand outside the D.C. area, finally experienced brief mainstream success in the early 2000s, when go-go producer Rich Harrison was called to make beats for prominent R&B acts, resulting in crossover Go-go hits such as Beyoncé's "Crazy in Love," a smash featuring a rap from her then-boyfriend and later-husband Jay-Z, and Amerie's "1 Thing." Though originally of Baltimore, Maryland, the indie rock act Animal Collective maintained strong connections to the D.C. area, naming their breakthrough album after a local live venue.
- Los Angeles, California: The Los Angeles indie scene rides the wave through neighborhoods like Koreatown, Los Feliz, Silverlake, and Echo Park, which have given rise to such bands and artists as Elliott Smith, Local Natives, Dawes, Moving Units, Hopkinson, Rilo Kiley, Earlimart, Autolux, Scarling. and Giant Drag. The Smell scene came up in the 2000s, with bands such as HEALTH, Abe Vigoda, Local Natives and No Age.
- San Francisco, California: Currently centered around the Mission District and underground listening rooms such as Viracocha or clubs like Amnesia and the Make-Out Room, which features local alternative musicians like John Vanderslice or the idiosyncratic singer-(toy) pianist Eliza Rickman as well as indie rock groups like Girls, Deerhoof, The Dodos, Thao with the Get Down Stay Down, Xiu Xiu, and Sun Kil Moon. Additionally, a recent garage rock revival includes such groups as Ty Segall, Thee Oh Sees, and The Fresh & Onlys.
- Chicago, Illinois: Being home to a number of independent record labels such as Touch and Go Records, Thrill Jockey Records and Drag City Records. Chicago has one of the most active indie scenes in America next to New York's. Not only being home to the foundations of American hardcore punk, alt-country, house music, noise rock, industrial music, Post-rock and many other independent music scenes, it is also a city for an independent band to establish a cult following due to its variety of both contemporary and legendary music venues. Notable bands with roots in Chicago include Wilco, Smashing Pumpkins, Cheap Trick, Urge Overkill, Ministry, Tortoise, The Sea and Cake, and Wax Trax! bands such as Front 242. The city was also key in the emo scene with many early bands such as Cap'N Jazz and Braid.Despite the scene's often distaste for local politics, city funding has allowed Chicago to become America's premier music festival city, hosting several popular indie headliners in the past couple of years such as Superchunk, Black Francis, Pavement, The Flaming Lips, Spoon, De La Soul, Mos Def, Isis, Olivia Tremor Control, Junior Boys; music festivals such as Pitchfork Music Festival, Lollapalooza (since 2005), Chicago Blues Festival, and Alehorn of Power; and most recently a free weekly Monday music series called "Downtown Sound", at Millennium Park's Jay Pritzker Pavilion, featuring popular independent acts performing in a theater commonly used for classical music, allowing them to receive brilliantly engineered acoustics as well as an outdoor performance space. Chicago's music scene varies from neighborhood to neighborhood, but overall has a large focus on independent music due to its influences from local radio stations such as WXRT-FM and Loyola University Chicago's WLUW. Chicago is home to music media giant Pitchfork Media and most recently CHIRP (Chicago Independent Radio Project), a community radio station not only providing the internet with independent tunes, but also an organization bidding for support to convince the United States Congress and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to remove existing barriers to the granting of low power FM radio licenses in urban areas, including Chicago.
- New York. In the late 1970s New York No Wave arose with bands such as DNA, Teenage Jesus & the Jerks and James Chance and the Contortions. A second wave of noise rock brought Swans and Sonic Youth. After 2000 in Brooklyn and the Lower East Side of Manhattan, a new scene developed with bands The Strokes, Interpol, LCD Soundsystem, Dirty Projectors, Grizzly Bear, Yeasayer, TV on the Radio and Vampire Weekend. Many indie bands have also relocated to the active indie music scene such as Animal Collective and MGMT. Booker Todd P plays a key role, placing bands in unusual places.
- Baltimore, Maryland: In the 1980s Half Japanese and in the early to mid-2000s a wide variety of indie bands have stepped into the spotlight, such as Beach House, Dan Deacon, Celebration, Future Islands, Wye Oak, and Ponytail.
- Seattle, Washington: The Seattle-based record label Sub Pop was the first to sign Nirvana, and also signed such non-grunge bands as The Postal Service and The Shins. A number of recent and established indie rock groups have their roots in Seattle, including Modest Mouse, Death Cab for Cutie, Harvey Danger, Fleet Foxes, Band of Horses, Minus the Bear, Citizens, and Pedro the Lion.
- Minneapolis, Minnesota: Minneapolis has been a hotbed of influential music for decades. The city is home to Prince and Bob Dylan started his career in Dinkytown, a community located on the University of Minnesota campus in Minneapolis. The city has also had several successful indie acts including Hüsker Dü, The Replacements, Atmosphere, Tapes 'n Tapes, Cloud Cult, Mason Jennings, Brother Ali, and others have helped to make the Twin Cities area one of the most vibrant, music scenes in the country.
- Portland, Oregon: Portland has been a hotbed of indie music since the mid-1990s. In 2007, SLATE Magazine declared Portland as America's indie rock mecca. The late Elliott Smith was one of the first indie musicians to gain notoriety in the area. He has been followed by such acts as The Decemberists, The Shins, Stephen Malkmus, M. Ward, The Helio Sequence, Menomena, The Thermals, Portugal. The Man, Blitzen Trapper, YACHT, Blind Pilot, Sleater-Kinney, and Viva Voce.
- Olympia, Washington: Olympia has also been a founding city of the indie scene, starting with the establishment of Calvin Johnson's K Records in 1982. Other labels in Olympia such as Kill Rock Stars, followed suit, and bands such as Calvin's Dub Narcotic Sound System and Beat Happening, Bikini Kill, Bratmobile, Lois, Lync, and Some Velvet Sidewalk.
- Austin, Texas: Austin's indie scene has developed over the years and has become dominant in this city nicknamed "the live music capital of the world". In addition to music-related festivals SXSW, Austin City Limits, and Fun Fun Fun Fest, indie music can be heard in many of the nearly 200 live music venues across the city. Known local bands include Ghostland Observatory, Spoon, ...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead, Okkervil River, Oh No Oh My, The Wooden Birds, The Black Angels, White Denim, Explosions in the Sky as well as longer active acts such as Daniel Johnston, Bill Callahan and Jad Fair.
- Omaha, Nebraska: Omaha has created a large Indie Scene for the past 15 years. Most bands are from the Indie label Saddle Creek Records. Some notable bands include Bright Eyes, Cursive, Neva Dinova, Rilo Kiley, and The Faint. Omaha's success in the Indie music industry has to do with the success that Conor Oberst has had in the mainstream. Conor is also a co-creator of Saddle Creek along with his brother, Justin.
- Akron, Ohio: Akron folk tend to lean more towards a garage rock scene, primarily influenced by the Black Keys, a blues rock band from Akron, Ohio. Many garage rock/blues rock indie bands are signed to various independent labels in the Highland Square area.
- Provo, Utah: Provo, in large part due to the support, influence and artistic vision of local club owner Corey Fox, has recently gained momentum with the indie rock scene, fueled by supportive college students from nearby schools, Brigham Young University and Utah Valley University. A large number of local bands from all parts of Utah come to play at Muse Music venue and Velour Live Music Gallery in downtown Provo. Bands that have roots in Provo/Salt Lake City include Neon Trees, Imagine Dragons, The Used, The Brobecks, Fictionist, Mindy Gledhill, Meg and Dia, King Niko, Joshua James, Eyes Lips Eyes, Desert Noises, The Brocks, The New Electric Sound, Book on Tape Worm, and The Opskamatrists.
Despite the huge popularity of K-pop (Korean Pop), there is also a great Indie scene in South Korea. It is sometimes referred as K-Indie as a neologism inspired by K-pop. The heart of the Korean indie scene is in Hongdae area where indie acoustic, rock, house, electro and also underground hip-hop artists flourish amongst young niche listeners. 'Sound Day' is held in Hongdae area every 2nd Friday of the month. It is a festive day that is dedicated to the indie scene with discounts on numerous indie performances and access to enter various stages throughout the day. Although it is overshadowed by the mainstream music in Korea, it has gained some degree of international exposure through the internet via Youtube. Some of the renowned indie bands/artists include The RockTigers, 10cm, Lucite Tokki, Yozo, Miniature Acacia Band, Jang Jae-in and Sweetpea. The indie record label Pastel Music has been greatly contributing the outlet of indie bands.
More information about Korean indie music in English can be found at such websites as Korean Indie and the Korea Gig Guide. In Korean, the main indie websites are Weiv and Scatterbrain, while a Korean-language music Wiki is at Krrr.
The indie music scene in Japan is very active and features bands like the pillows, Asian Kung–Fu Generation, ogre you asshole, Straightener, Sakanaction, Acidman, fujifabric and Beat Crusaders among Many others. Expanded list of some Japanese indie rock bands
Known indierock venues in Vienna are the Rhiz, Flex and Fluc. Yearly the Donau Festival focused on experimental rock and indie rock takes place in the spring. Acts from Austria: Killed by 9V Batteries.
- Nantes, In Nantes the yearly Soy Festival takes place in October. The festival has a line-up of mainly avant-rock, noise rock and experimental rock acts and takes place in the city. The biggest music venue in Nantes is Le Lieu Unique.
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- Paris. Festival Villette Sonique is a yearly noise and indie rock festival in Parc de la Villette. The successful band Phoenix originated in the late 1990s, in the city of Versailles.
- Berlin became a cultural musical centre where artist moved to after 2000. Acts: Peaches, Liars, Devastations, IAMX. Labels: City Slang Records
- Hamburg was the center of German indie rock in 1990s (the so-called Hamburger Schule). Around 2000, a second wave of notable acts emerged from Hamburg. Acts: Tocotronic, Die Sterne, Die Goldenen Zitronen (they were around since the 1980s), Blumfeld, Tomte, Kettcar. Labels: L'Âge d'or, Grand Hotel van Cleef, Tapete Records
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The indie music scene in the Netherlands is mainly active in the four biggest cities Amsterdam, The Hague, Rotterdam and Utrecht as well as the northern cities Groningen and Leeuwarden. See Dutch rock#Indie rock for a brief overview of bands, organisations, venues, festivals that create and are connected to the Dutch scene.
- Katowice – Off Festival is a yearly music festival held at Dolina Trzech Stawów in Katowice. The art director of this festival is Artur Rojek, leader of the band Myslovitz (and formerly in Lenny Valentino).
- Barcelona is known for its yearly Primavera Sound Festival, partly curated by ATP and Pitchfork Media.
Many Swedish indie musicians have become famous world-side. Most singing in English. The Cardigans gained early success in the mid-1990s. Some notable acts include: The Sounds, Lykke Li, Robyn, The Tallest Man on Earth, The Hives, Eskobar, The Soundtrack of Our Lives, Kent, First Aid Kit, Air France, Jens Lekman, The Knife, Shout Out Louds, The Radio Dept., Fever Ray, The Tough Alliance, Life on Earth, Avner and Ram Di Dam.
- The first indie music scene is recognized as having started in the United Kingdom, with the release of the C86 cassette, a 1986 NME compilation featuring Primal Scream and other bands. The significance of C86 is recognized in the subtitle of its 2006 extended reissue: CD86: 48 Tracks from the Birth of Indie Pop. C86 was a document of the UK indie scene at the start of 1986, and it gave its name to the indie pop scene that followed, which was a major influence on the development of indie music as a whole. Significant record labels included Creation, Subway and Glass.
- The shoegazing scene of the late 1980s was named for band members' tendency to stare at their feet and guitar effects pedals onstage rather than interact with the audience. My Bloody Valentine and others created a loud "wash of sound" that obscured vocals and melodies with long, droning riffs, distortion, and feedback. Within the same decade, labels such as Cheree Records and Ché Trading amalgamated into an entity that the industry now refers to as Rocket Girl, which has since contributed significantly.
- The end of the 1980s saw the Madchester scene. Based around The Haçienda, a nightclub in Manchester owned by New Order and Factory Records, Madchester bands such as Happy Mondays and The Stone Roses mixed acid house dance rhythms, Northern soul and funk with melodic guitar pop.
- The Britpop scene developed in the early 1990s as part of a larger British cultural movement called Cool Britannia. In the wake of the musical invasion into the UK of American grunge bands, British bands positioned themselves as an opposing musical force. Influenced by the key British band of the 1980s, The Smiths, and adopting the unashamed commercial approach to which the C86 bands had seemed sometimes ideologically opposed, Britpop acts such as Pulp, Oasis and Blur referenced British guitar music of the past and aimed at writing about British topics and concerns.
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