What's Indiepop?

we don't know but perhaps a fellow anorak will - ask them here
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Simon May
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What's Indiepop?

Post by Simon May » Tue Oct 23, 2007 10:36

No, seriously. I'm sure this question's been asked before, but I've not been on this internet much, and although my friends consider my musical knowledge to be second to none, I'm actually cluless compared to most of you anoraks.

So, could you people define indiepop for me, at least in the terms recognised by Anorak? I mean, I know the Arcade Fire don't count and the Pipettes do, but I don't know why.

Just so I don't embarrass myself, you know.

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Post by JohaN » Tue Oct 23, 2007 10:42

when someone asked this before, someone else linked to this article, which i found very informative:
http://www.pitchforkmedia.com/article/f ... ee-as-fuck

it's on pitchfork, and probably a lot of people would disagree with it to a greater or lesser extent, but it sketches the ballpark quite nicely

also - it's a 3 part feature, but you should be able to follow the links from the linked page. :)

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Post by Simon May » Tue Oct 23, 2007 10:47

I actually read something on Pitchfork. God Almighty.



You know, I haven't heard a single one of those definitive records they list.

I feel positively ignorant.

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Post by a layer of chips » Tue Oct 23, 2007 10:47

The Pipettes don't count for me. I think they're shite.

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Post by Simon May » Tue Oct 23, 2007 10:56

tastyzine wrote:The Pipettes don't count for me. I think they're shite.
Well, there you and I pretty much agree. But then, do they count for other people here? If not, why not? Does the term "Indiepop" refer to "music we like"?

Apropos to nothing, really, I have a mate who says that he hates country music. It's kind of a standing joke, actually, inasmuch as he says that if he likes it, it can't be country. So he went with me, Jangly Mark and Becky the Dizzy Sheep to see Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan play.

Well, they sang a Hank Williams song. And a song about shootin' Sadie with a six-shooter and gettin' run down by the Sheriff's posse. He liked it. Therefore - and we mocked him for it - it was not country.


In other news, maybe it could be in an Anorak FAQ some time, if the question's been asked before.

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Post by JohaN » Tue Oct 23, 2007 10:59

i'd agree with you - i kindof like them, but they're not indiepop (for me)... though i've been trying to think why not, and i can't really say

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Post by a layer of chips » Tue Oct 23, 2007 11:02

I think it's because they sound like an oompa Bananarama.

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Post by JohaN » Tue Oct 23, 2007 11:16

that might be it, actually

though if someone actually SET OUT to sound like an oompa bananarama, it might be indiepop again, n'est-ce pas?

... am i helping

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Post by humblebee » Tue Oct 23, 2007 11:33

I dunno what oompa means but the Pipettes are like an indie Bananarama. And Bananarama were a great pop band. Therefore, the Pipettes are indiepop. And it is music such as the Pipettes' that distinguishes indiepop from just plain old indie.

It's a fairly superficial distinction between the Pipettes and, say, Girlfrendo: more about the production than the songs.

At the other, less produced, messier end of indiepop you've got, say, the Manhattan Love Suicides or Black Tambourine, and even then you can hear that they belong together with the Pipettes and Girlfrendo because it's about the way the melodies work. It's a bit like painting.

The indie rock palette is all muted or dark hues, moodiness, minor keys. Even when it's fast and brash there's a darkness at the centre. This is the stuff of Radiohead or the Arcade Fire. (The Arcade Fire I find crushingly dull, but that's not intrinsic to the genre. The Wrens are indie rock, like the Arcade Fire, but they're fucking great indie rock, awake and alive and ringing. And just because I like them, doesn't make them indiepop, any more than the Pipettes are not indiepop because Sam doesn't like them.)

Indiepop's palette is of primary colours, major keys, brightness, and bold melody. This holds true even for messy, fuzzy, downbeat indiepop, and even for frankly miserable (but brilliant) stuff like the Just Joans. There's still a brightness gleaming at the heart of it and that is the signature of indiepop.
Last edited by humblebee on Tue Oct 23, 2007 11:41, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by a layer of chips » Tue Oct 23, 2007 11:37

That's your opinion, yes.

I don't really like the term 'indie pop'. There's 'pop' and there's 'not pop' to me. Pipettes bore the milk out of me, therefore I don't find them 'pop'. I can't see anything in them that's bright or gleaming.

But that's just another opinion.

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Post by darvé » Tue Oct 23, 2007 12:16

humblebee wrote:The indie rock palette is all muted or dark hues, moodiness, minor keys. Even when it's fast and brash there's a darkness at the centre. This is the stuff of Radiohead or the Arcade Fire. (The Arcade Fire I find crushingly dull, but that's not intrinsic to the genre. The Wrens are indie rock, like the Arcade Fire, but they're fucking great indie rock, awake and alive and ringing. And just because I like them, doesn't make them indiepop, any more than the Pipettes are not indiepop because Sam doesn't like them.)
The Wrens ?!?

As in, the band from New Jersey,

the ones who released Meadowlands,

the ones who put on the (allegedly) life changing live show..

A friend of mine is obsessed with The Wrens, last year he flew to Chicago to see them twice, then to Hamburg and only decided against Amsterdam as there was an England World Cup match on the same day.

He hates indiepop, twee, anorak, lo-fi, riot grrl, etc.. For many years i've have to put up with his attempts to discredit and embarrass me in my music tastes, he seems to think laughing at me on a regualar basis because i like the bands i do is somehow A/ going to make him look big and clever, B/ make me actually stop listening to what i want to listen to.

He smokes too much pot.

Ironically, he does quite like the Pipettes.

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Post by Simon May » Tue Oct 23, 2007 12:21

tastyzine wrote:That's your opinion, yes.

I don't really like the term 'indie pop'. There's 'pop' and there's 'not pop' to me. Pipettes bore the milk out of me, therefore I don't find them 'pop'. I can't see anything in them that's bright or gleaming.

But that's just another opinion.
But presumably you wouldn't object if someone started a thread about them on the IndiePOP! forum, right?

So I started a thread today about Swci Boscawen in that forum, and I'm still mystified as to whether they're indiepop or not. Still, they have the sort of low-level DIY ethic and the bounciness, so maybe they fit.

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Post by a layer of chips » Tue Oct 23, 2007 12:23

I'm not here to tell people who can start a thread on here, nope.

I would, however, like to ban all mentions of Therapy?.

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Post by Simon May » Tue Oct 23, 2007 12:32

tastyzine wrote:I'm not here to tell people who can start a thread on here, nope.

I would, however, like to ban all mentions of Therapy?.
Wouldn't we all? It could be worse, mind. They could want to talk about Linkin Park.

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Post by Simon May » Tue Oct 23, 2007 12:39

humblebee wrote:I dunno what oompa means but the Pipettes are like an indie Bananarama. And Bananarama were a great pop band. Therefore, the Pipettes are indiepop. And it is music such as the Pipettes' that distinguishes indiepop from just plain old indie.

It's a fairly superficial distinction between the Pipettes and, say, Girlfrendo: more about the production than the songs.

At the other, less produced, messier end of indiepop you've got, say, the Manhattan Love Suicides or Black Tambourine, and even then you can hear that they belong together with the Pipettes and Girlfrendo because it's about the way the melodies work. It's a bit like painting.

The indie rock palette is all muted or dark hues, moodiness, minor keys. Even when it's fast and brash there's a darkness at the centre. This is the stuff of Radiohead or the Arcade Fire. (The Arcade Fire I find crushingly dull, but that's not intrinsic to the genre. The Wrens are indie rock, like the Arcade Fire, but they're fucking great indie rock, awake and alive and ringing. And just because I like them, doesn't make them indiepop, any more than the Pipettes are not indiepop because Sam doesn't like them.)

Indiepop's palette is of primary colours, major keys, brightness, and bold melody. This holds true even for messy, fuzzy, downbeat indiepop, and even for frankly miserable (but brilliant) stuff like the Just Joans. There's still a brightness gleaming at the heart of it and that is the signature of indiepop.
You should put this in an Anorak FAQ.

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Post by Colin » Tue Oct 23, 2007 12:48

I'd say the Pipettes are a pop group, not indie pop. Arguably so are Belle & Sebastian in recent years. It's not necessarily a bad thing; I don't like the Pippettes but I do like B&S, a lot.
I think the distinction comes from the production, the general aesthetic of the group, and arguably the desire to make the pop charts (although, correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't The Smiths court chart success? I'd definitely call them indie pop, or indie something, so the chart thing isn't a certain signifier of non-indieness).
I accept that all of the above may be bollocks. It doesn't really matter, does it? Something's either good or it's not, regardless of genre.

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Post by crystalball » Tue Oct 23, 2007 13:04

tastyzine wrote:That's your opinion, yes.

I don't really like the term 'indie pop'. There's 'pop' and there's 'not pop' to me. Pipettes bore the milk out of me, therefore I don't find them 'pop'. I can't see anything in them that's bright or gleaming.

But that's just another opinion.
But surely pop is not an opinion, is it? The fact that you find a band boring doesn't mean they're not pop. I find The Lucksmiths boring but I have to admit they're pop. Indiepop, in fact. I agree with humblebee: indiepop seems to be the brighter side of indie, although that doesn't always apply in terms of content. But for me it also has a lot to do with the aesthetics and the politics of it. Y'know, small-scale production, seven-inches, DIY, cheap shows and all that.

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Post by JohaN » Tue Oct 23, 2007 13:11

and boy-girl vocals, wherever possible! :)

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Post by Contravene » Tue Oct 23, 2007 14:12

Indiepop is anything I can sell to you guys.
... rockabilly covers of Magnetic Fields?

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Post by a layer of chips » Tue Oct 23, 2007 15:22

crystalball wrote:
tastyzine wrote:That's your opinion, yes.

I don't really like the term 'indie pop'. There's 'pop' and there's 'not pop' to me. Pipettes bore the milk out of me, therefore I don't find them 'pop'. I can't see anything in them that's bright or gleaming.

But that's just another opinion.
But surely pop is not an opinion, is it? The fact that you find a band boring doesn't mean they're not pop. I find The Lucksmiths boring but I have to admit they're pop. Indiepop, in fact. I agree with humblebee: indiepop seems to be the brighter side of indie, although that doesn't always apply in terms of content. But for me it also has a lot to do with the aesthetics and the politics of it. Y'know, small-scale production, seven-inches, DIY, cheap shows and all that.
A boring band isn't pop to me, and when it comes down to it, music is incredibly personal. That's my opinion. Sure, it can be communal, but everyone takes something different from music, don't they?

The small scale thing isn't always brilliant, after all. It can be nauseating. See Kenickie's 'Punka'.

I don't see that it really matters, to be honest. Indie pop isn't offensive, but it holds some conotations that I'd rather not be associated with, just the same as it has a really life-affirming ethos now and again.

I think that everyone should be allowed to make up their own mind what's pop and what's not.

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