Empire of Dirt

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Empire of Dirt: The Aesthetics and Rituals of British Indie Music
Paperback cover
AuthorWendy Fonarow
CountryUnited States
PublisherWesleyan University Press
Publication date
Media typePrint (hardback and paperback)

Empire of Dirt: The Aesthetics and Rituals of British Indie Music is a 2006 book by Wendy Fonarow.[1]


The title of the book comes from one verse from the song "Hurt" by Nine Inch Nails ("and you could have it all, my empire of dirt"). Fonarow was given a vinyl edition of the Cash album American IV by Alan McGee, founder of Creation Records while writing the manuscript.

The cover, designed by Matthew Cooper, depicts a typical indie band (2 guitarists, a bass player and a drummer all thin) in silhouette (see sleeperbloke).

In chapter 1 the author discuss 'What Is "Indie"?'. A problem with defining indie is that any precise definition will exclude music and performers which indie fans and insiders feel should be included or include ones that should be excluded.[2] These are some possible definitions:[3]

  1. Indie music is the one which is recorded by independent labels and distributed via independent distributors. Records distributed via independent distributors qualified for the UK Indie Chart.
  2. a genre of music with a distinctive sound and style.
  3. music that communicates a particular ethos.
  4. a category of critical assessment.
  5. music different from other genres like mainstream pop, dance, blues, country or classical.



  1. ^ Paperback: ISBN 978-0-8195-6811-3, Hardcover: ISBN 978-0-8195-6810-6.
  2. ^ page 25
  3. ^ page 26

External links[edit]