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.
Indie scenes are often created as a response to mainstream or popular music. These scenes are created in opposition of mainstream culture and music and often contribute to the formation of oppositional identities among individuals involved in the scene.
The Japanese indie music scene began gaining mainstream success in the late 1990s with the so-called "indie boom". Musicians involved with this scene, referred to as "individual producer-composers", included Haruomi Hosono, Komoya Tesuya, Oyamada Keigo (also known as Cornelius), and Oda Tetsuro. Cornelius pioneered an indie music movement called Shibuya-kei and released songs that gained international success such as the Pizzicato Five. Supercar's debut album Three Out Change from 1998 has been described as having "almost foundational importance to 21st century Japanese indie rock".
A Japanese protectionist licensing policy prevents indie music from being sold via major media distribution networks. Indie records are only sold in small retail stores that import foreign records – , which are not part of the industrial channels. This relegates the Japanese indie music into the context of a global scene.
The indie scene in South Korea is sometimes referred to as "K-Indie", a neologism derived from K-pop. The centre of the Korean indie scene is the Hongdae area, where indie acoustic, rock, house, electro and underground hip-hop artists are listened to by young listeners. Sound Day is held in Hongdae on the second Friday of every month, a festive day dedicated to the indie scene with discounted entry to indie shows and access to various stages throughout the day. Korean indie has gained some international exposure via YouTube. Bands/artists include The RockTigers, 10cm, Yozo, and Jang Jae-in.
- Melbourne, Australia:
- The Little Band scene was an experimental post-punk scene which flourished in Melbourne's inner suburbs from 1978 to 1981, characterised by a proliferation of short-lived bands. It involved members of Dead Can Dance, Primitive Calculators and Whirlywirld.
- In the early 2010s, the term dolewave was coined the describe an indie scene involving Melbourne groups such as Twerps, Dick Diver and Scott & Charlene's Wedding, which shared a jangly lo-fi sound and similar lyrical themes. Courtney Barnett was later included in scene.
- Dunedin, New Zealand: The Dunedin sound was a style of indie pop music created in the southern New Zealand university city of Dunedin in the early 1980s, characterized by jangly guitars, minimalist basslines and loose drumming. Keyboards are also often prevalent. New Zealand-based Flying Nun Records championed the scene; artists include The Clean (who gave the scene the name Dunedin sound), and The Chills.
- 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, Tegan and Sara, Arcade Fire, Stars, Cœur de Pirate, Islands, Plants and Animals, Wolf Parade, Sunset Rubdown, AIDS Wolf, Bell Orchestre, Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Patrick Watson. It is centered on 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, Athens became home to influential post-punk bands such as R.E.M., the B-52s and Pylon. Successful indie rock bands in the 1990s were formed in Athens, and were often associated with The Elephant 6 Recording Company. Other 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 home to an indie music scene 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 indie rock bands such as Polvo, Archers of Loaf and Superchunk which started Merge an indie record label 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 played a major part in the Chapel Hill music scene hosting several alternative acts that went on to find major success in the mid-1990s.
- Washington, D.C.: The late 1970s and early 1980s saw the birth of a punk rock-inspired independent music scene in Washington which became influential around the United States, with bands such as Bad Brains, Embrace, Rites of Spring, Henry Rollins and Black Flag, and hardcore punk bands Teen Idles and Minor Threat, members of which founded independent label Dischord Records. The first wave of D.C. independent musicians gradually moved on to developing post-hardcore styles. Members of different Dischord bands formed Fugazi, a prototypical independent band. By the 1990s, Dischord bands such as Shudder to Think began to receive mainstream attention and some signed with major labels
- 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, 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, Best Coast, Foster the People, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Cold War Kids and No Age.
- Chicago, Illinois: Chicago is home to a number of independent record labels such as Touch and Go Records, Thrill Jockey Records and Drag City Records. City funding has made Chicago an important music festival city, hosting music festivals such as Pitchfork Music Festival, Lollapalooza (since 2005), Chicago Blues Festival, and Alehorn of Power; and a weekly Monday music series called "Downtown Sound", at Millennium Park's Jay Pritzker Pavilion, featuring independent acts performing in a theater normally used for classical music. Local radio stations supporting independent music include WXRT-FM and Loyola University Chicago's WLUW. Chicago is home to music media business Pitchfork Media and community radio station CHIRP (Chicago Independent Radio Project).
- 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, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Dirty Projectors, Grizzly Bear, Yeasayer, TV on the Radio and Vampire Weekend. 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 early to mid-2000s several Baltimore indie bands found a wide audience, including Beach House, Lower Dens, Dan Deacon, Celebration, Future Islands, Wye Oak, and Ponytail.
- Seattle, Washington: The Seattle-based record label Sub Pop was home to Nirvana, The Postal Service and The Shins. A number of 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 had several successful indie acts including Hüsker Dü, The Replacements, Atmosphere, Tapes 'n Tapes, Cloud Cult, Mason Jennings, Brother Ali, and Hippocampus.
- Portland, Oregon: Portland has had an active indie music since the mid-1990s. In 2007, Slate declared Portland as "America's indie rock mecca". Local indie artists include Elliott Smith, 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 into "the live music capital of the world", with music-related festivals SXSW, Austin City Limits, and Fun Fun Fun Fest. Local bands include Ghostland Observatory, Spoon, ...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead, Okkervil River, The Wooden Birds, The Black Angels, White Denim, Explosions in the Sky, and older acts such as Daniel Johnston, Bill Callahan and Jad Fair.
- Omaha, Nebraska: Omaha has had an indie scene for the past 15 years, with many bands connected to the indie label Saddle Creek Records owned by Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes. Other bands include Cursive, Neva Dinova, Rilo Kiley, and The Faint.
- Akron, Ohio: Akron tends to lean more towards a garage rock scene, primarily influenced by the Black Keys, a blues rock band from the city. Garage rock/blues rock indie bands have been signed to various independent labels in the Highland Square area.
- Nantes, France: The Soy Festival takes place annually in Nantes in October, with a line-up of mainly avant-rock, noise rock and experimental rock. The biggest music venue in Nantes is Le Lieu Unique.
- Berlin, Germany became a cultural musical centre where artists moved to after 2000, including Peaches, Liars, Devastations, and IAMX. Labels include City Slang Records, and Giant Rooks.
- Hamburg, Germany was the center of German indie rock in the 1990s, the so-called Hamburger Schule. Around 2000, a second wave of notable acts emerged from Hamburg, such as Tocotronic, Die Sterne, Die Goldenen Zitronen (who had been around since the 1980s), Blumfeld, Tomte, and Kettcar. Labels include Grand Hotel van Cleef and Tapete Records.
- Barcelona, Spain is known for its yearly Primavera Sound Festival, partly curated by ATP and Pitchfork Media. Some of the city's indie artists include Family, Los Planetas, Love of Lesbian, Antònia Font, and El Guincho.
The Hungarian indie scene is mainly active in the capital city, Budapest. In the early 2000s, Hungary's indie revival included Ligeti-led The Puzzle from Kaposvár. In 2006 Amber Smith's album RePRINT was released by the German label Kalinkaland Records. In 2007 The Moog's Sold for Tomorrow was released by the US label MuSick Records. Other indie bands include EZ Basic, The KOLIN, Supersonic, The Poster Boy and Dawnstar. Two of the most important and prolific musicians are Imre Poniklo and György Ligeti.
A number of Swedish indie musicians have become famous internationally, mostly 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, and Life on Earth.
- 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 Oasis, Blur, Suede and Pulp referenced British guitar music of the past and aimed at writing about British topics and concerns.
- Trip Hop is a genre of electronic music that originated in the early 1990s in Bristol. The most notable artists are Massive Attack, Tricky and Portishead.
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