The Decade in Indie
The Goodies, 1964
So have you heard? Indie rock is the choice of a new generation! Allegedly! Don't let the exclamation points fool you into thinking I'm being sarcastic! Just try selling iPods or straight-leg jeans without knowing what fresh-faced guitar band is the hip new thing; just try telegraphing to audiences that a character on your television show is quite special and interesting. Stephenie Meyer, author of Twilight, not often accused of lacking insight into the hearts of America's young, just told the world what her favorite records were this summer-- Grizzly Bear and Animal Collective among them. (Do you think that's awesome, or does it make you want to listen to nothing but rap mixtapes and noise?) I just read an article by a pretty likeable 57-year-old who'd decided indie rock was really interesting, that older people should check it out, and that Wilco were probably its godfathers. (That makes more sense than you'd think.) And it's not like charts mean what they used to, but still: they're home to the Shins (#2 record), Wilco (three records in the top 10), Arcade Fire (17 weeks), Interpol (24 weeks), and Death Cab for Cutie, who went to #1-- as in, knocking off Neil Diamond and being replaced at the top by 3 Doors Down, that #1-- without even much changing their sound from a decade ago. Toward the end of the 1990s the Flaming Lips were the kinds of weirdos who released an album you had to play on four different stereos at once, and now they get considered for Oklahoma's state song and soundtrack moving funeral scenes in Mandy Moore movies. Let's not even start on movies: Natalie Portman said the Shins would change your life, and she was in Star Wars.