I love simplicity in a song. Sometimes I don’t want a complex melody and infinite riffs. Sometimes I want breathlessness in a song that isn’t afraid to be silently powerful.
Youth by Daughter begins as the calm before the storm with a softness that slowly builds. I’m won over with the moments of harshness provided by the percussion-it’s poetry at its best- musically and lyrically.
Daughter consists of of Elena Tonra and her partner Igor Haefeli. They are more than folk or indiepop, what they provide is a sweet blend and an addictive one at that.
When an artist stands before you, bearing their soul, with beautiful simplicity what more can you ask for?
McMorrow has little trouble allowing his humanity shine through in his enigmatic lyrics, impassioned performance and paradoxically raw, but, smooth vocals.
Honest in his witty banter, quiet confidence, his appreciation of the audience and of course in his music.
Beginning with Sparrow and the Wolf from his album ‘Early in the Morning’ was the right choice. Immediately noticed by the crowd and creating anticipation for what was next.
For me, the climax was during If I had a boat and We Don’t Eat. Two hauntingly beautiful ballads creating equally beautiful moments.
McMorrow also does stunning covers of Steve Winwood’s Higher Love and Chris Isaak’s Wicked Games. It is a rare occasion that a cover transcends the initial artistry, but, McMorrow manages to achieve exactly that.
In my fickle youth I have fallen even harder for McMorrow after what was a performance to capture, remember and reminisce over. I wanted to stay, to hit rewind and replay.
Unfortunately, his UK tour is no more, but, if a lover of indie-folk and in pursuit of a solid album - a folk tour de force- then Early in the Morning almost faultless.
I often ramble about the superficial nature of chart music: be it (often) empty lyrics, the detachment of the artist in their music, or the same overused beat on every track.
Yet, I admit, as I am undergoing my very own musical journey and desperately trying to make sense of my own identity through music I sometimes do succumb to the ‘mainstream’ and indulge in some chart.
Here lies the crux of this entire blog, it’s not another indie-kids are so unconventional, thus, making them cooler than any other existing teen clique. It comes down to what music does for you in your life and yesterday as I made my first venture to London’s Mahiki (guilty pleasure #2) I found myself enjoying the likes of Beyonce, Rihanna, Drake and Katy Perry. Granted, I was likely somewhat intoxicated, yet, what I do remember is that the music was a big part of what made my night. The question is, why is that I feel guilty to admit this?
Should I feel like I’m betraying my favourite genre of music, or, is it okay to cross over to the dark side every now and then?
Chart music goes against the ethos of what I think symbolises raw music: that DIY approach, the impassioned laborious hours you spend over material rather than auto tuned singing, yet, when you’re all screaming ‘Who runs the World? Girls’ at the top of your lungs it’s strangely liberating (no, I’m not a feminist)!
Should I not care and listen to whatever I like despite my screaming musical ethics or should I stick to what is considered alternative?
WARNING: By pressing you may be considered as crossing over to the dark side…do you dare?
Amidst the smokey haze, drunken antics, moving to a new and unfamiliar place, deprivation of sleep and general freshers trance a bit of good music is exactly what I needed.
Cosmo’s London gig in Soho Square was phenomenal. Only having heard a few songs I didn’t quite know what to expect.
Yet, Cosmo turns out to be one of the best artists I’ve ever seen live.
Not only were he and the band musically faultless they were incredibly entertaining. Switching from electric sounds to acoustic, toying with the crowd’s emotions with loud and soft and teasing the audience with songs from his new album Is the World Strange or Am I Strange?.
Cosmo is a master of creating a gig that leaves you only wanting more when it comes to an end. Then again, I fall in love with any man that can play the ukelele.
Each song has a different element. Sometimes it feels like hardcore Indie Rock, at moments it becomes electric and even Reggae-esque at times.
With a venue like The Boderline you’re never left wishing you were closer to the band or that you could see or hear more. No matter where you stand you can taste the passion, even be scattered with Cosmo’s sweat.It’s a moment that, if you know and love good music, you capture and bottle because a gig as genuine and raw as this with so few people doesn’t come around that often.
Warmup act The Darlingtons are also worthy of recognition. Describing their sound as ‘moody euphoric guitar music’ they are bloody good at exactly that.
The Boderline was the place to be that night and only made for the best night of my freshers week.
Foals had always been on my indie-radar but I hadn’t really given them the undivided attention they very much deserve until recently.
My favourite Foals song is Spanish Sahara, it is a song that toys with your emotions: unsettling, yet, comforting at the same time.
The lengthy intro starting as soft melancholy relaxing your mind is not wasted on me, it prepares me, allows me to wander, to wonder even until the heavy drums crescendo and quickening tempo bring be back to reality.
It is a song that resonates with you, carries you, then drops you.
Favourite lyric: ‘Forget the horror here, leave it all down here’
As I bid the inevitable grey clouds and mere pockets of sunshine in London farewell and get ready to depart to the Greek Ionian islands at which sun, sea and sand await (jealous?) my mind wanders to none other than: holiday music.
It is an all-time must, of course, to fill your iPod with summer music to put you in the holiday mood.
I may not be able to hide you in my suitcase and take you with me, but, I can put you in the summery state of mind:
1) MGMT- Electric Feel
2) The Kooks- Seaside
3) The Drums- Let’s go surfing
4) The Temper Trap- Sweet Disposition
5) Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeroes- 40 day dream
6) Friendly Fires- Paris
7) Boy and Bear- Mexican Marvis
8) The Kooks- Ooh La
9) Florence and the Machine- Dog Days are Over
10) Two Door Cinema Club- Jump in the Pool
Make a cocktail- drink and dance yourself in to summer madness- who needs good weather eh?!
‘An Indie Kid is not, as many people seem to believe, a pretentious tw*t who will only listen to obscure bands and cusses anyone who dares to like anything in the top 40’- Jess C (Indie Kid)
Why is it, then, that people tend to associate Indies as having a superiority complex?
Sometimes I believe there is good reason.
It comes down to those who have tarnished the “indie” reputation and what it symbolises. These supposable indies exude a very pretentious “I’m so much cooler than you by not even trying” attitude. Yet, the irony is these are the very people who try the most- they just don’t want you to realise it.
Today there are even pretentious little ‘hipster’ or ‘fashionable’ places where people move to, for instance, Shoreditch and Brick Lane in London’s East End or NY’s Brooklyn/Williamsberg. Don’t get me wrong I love these areas and the diversity and quirky art and culture you can find when visiting them…
Yet, you do find bike-riding, sandal wearing, hair flipping, so-called “indies” in this area that sometimes try their very best to make you feel ‘normal’ so they can feel unique. I always find that funny, as if an area is so cool that everyone in it must be considered more knowledgeable in the arts, thus, more cultured.
In trying NOT to fit in they are losing the true sense of who they are. Thinking so hard about their actions, hair, dress sense, what to eat, where to go and what music to listen to that they forget what it was once like to simply be.
Being an indie shouldn’t be about how you dress, where you live and whether you ride a bike or not. It’s more a state of mind. One of experimenting, living, being open and pushing boundaries- questioning society, being unafraid to have a voice and at the end of the day if you like a Whitney Houston classic no one’s going to shun you for it!
Bed music is the music that captures those fleeting thoughts that send your mind pacing, captures them, traps them and disposes of them. This music let’s you be free, empties your mind and allows you time to breathe.
1) M83- Too Late
2) Bon Iver- Flume
3) Florence and the Machine- Falling
4) The Middle East- the darkest side
5) Industries of the Blind- I just wanted to make something beautiful
Why bother mentioning I am a British Indian that is an indie-fanatic?
I find it important to note whether stereotypes or assumptions based on your race can change someone’s opinion of you.
When growing up I would listen to music that is typically associated with the Indian youth of my generation such as R&B, Hip Hop and Bhangra. I loved it and such music would often be a focal point for social interaction.
Yet, as I grew and began to play guitar, my musical taste evolved and I developed a new found appreciation for folk, alternative and indie music. For me indie music symbolised that typical teen journey of trying finding yourself by searching beyond the norm.
However, my friends had not developed the same interests. I quickly felt out of the loop when they would discuss recent R&B artists and whilst they engaged in excited discussions I was left to sit in silence. Student Mahnoor also expressed, “when you speak to other Asians who have a different music taste about indie you feel out of sync…” The type of music I would express a liking for would often be labelled as “white” music: not with any racist or prejudiced expression, however, it was just regarded as fact.
I did not care too much as I have always listened to music for me and not for anyone else, yet, growing up in an Indian-dominated community and not having many white friends, opportunities to discuss my interests with friends were scarce. Strange that something seemingly so trivial can create a social barrier between friends, right?
You would think that today associations between race and certain genres of music would be eradicated. Yet, when talking to Nishat Aslam (17) it was interesting that she confessed, “People in general, be they Asian, white or black, are often very surprised that I listen to indie music… I think this is partly because I’m Asian, but also because I’m a Muslim and I wear a headscarf…” Some might find it shocking that people still make assumptions about one’s character on the colour of their skin. Yet, for me I believe to stereotype is part of human nature: perhaps to try and understand society or even ourselves in a better way.
For me, the crux of the debate came to the forefront when Aslam pointed out, “I do notice that after this initial surprise, they are not judgmental of me in any way at all, for which I’m really quite grateful…” This was then echoed by Indian indie Mahnoor who stated, “…when you’re around people who listen to the same music -White or Asian- it’s okay and for me my input would be regarded just the same as a White friends”. People may have initial assumptions of you but, the fact of the matter is, you can be red, green, white, black or brown- or even a jelly bean, if you listen to indie music that’s your prerogative and no one’s going to judge you for that.
In the twenty-first century where people are embracing alternative and independent music no one should care about your ethnicity or colour. It should be about the message of experimenting beyond the mainstream and hopefully that’s the way we are heading.
Twitter is my new best friend. Merely a few days of joining and a new follower: Industries of the Blind.
I am excited to find they are an emerging, “Nine piece instrumental post-rock ensemble.” from Brooklyn, NY. Call me fickle but I had already fallen in lust.
I reminisce of being in wintry bliss after visiting NY in February this year. Brooklyn was my favourite place. It can be likened to London’s Shoreditch: an area that breathes arts, culture and music. Their very own ‘Prospect Park’ attracting many alternative artists for performances such as Bon Iver (yes I am obsessed with them) Animal Collective and The Decemberists. I hope to see Industries of the Blind there in the future.
When I think Brooklyn I think youth, energy, embracing diversity and nostalgia of course. When I think Industries of the Blind I think all of this plus magic- it somehow manages to be melancholic and uplifting all at once.
It’s refreshing to close your eyes and just take in the beauty of an instrumental piece. Your mind is emptied, forcing you to forget about senseless little worries that otherwise overtake and you remember to just breathe. If any artist can make you feel like you’ve entered your solace then they’ve done a hell of a good job creating sensational music.
Industries of the Blind have released “Chapter 1” for which you can find a promo video on their website- simply as beautiful as their sound. When tweeting them I wrote, “Just listened to your Chapter 1 and fell in lust- won’t be so fickle as to use love until ch2” They replied with “hopefully you won’t have to wait to long to be wooed” Clues that ‘Chapter 2: We couldn’t fight the tide” may be on its way soon! I impatiently await.
In the meantime I indulge in the rest of their songs. One is titled, “I just wanted to make something beautiful” which encapsulates their pure sound. No gimmicks: just instruments and brilliantly composed music.
Chapter 1 is available to download for FREE on their website- there is also option to make a small donation..
Indie=Independent. Fact. The DIY approach to making music sends out a clear message: hell no to selling out to major record labels, let’s be real and make real music. Why is it that this doesn’t last for long?
Soon enough an underground band becomes noticed. Initially it’s great- success at last! They’re still quite small and you feel special for knowing who they are and having sought them out from the start of their musical journey.
Yet, it is this very musical journey that, more often than not, leads to their commercialisation.
Take Florence and the Machine who were previously one of my all-time favourite bands. I first found her when she was merely a youtube artist. A few years on she hits big- sings at the Brit Awards, hits mainstream radio, sing’s with Drake at his concert (seriously, Drake?! He’s as commercial as it gets)- they became the band on the tip of everyone’s tongue.
You can’t help but get annoyed that the artist is no longer yours. They’ve amassed a huge following and you’re merely a blurring fan in the fast-increasing crowd. Who cares if you were there from the start?
As crazy as it sounds you’re saddened at the fact that they’re no longer ‘niche’ and if you ever want to see them live you’re going to have to pay an extortionate amount of money to see the artist in a typical mainstream hugeass venue where they look like the size of a pea form the only seat in the place that your budget could afford.
You’d think if not concerts/gigs there would still be hope for festivals right? Think again. Glastonbury- the daddy of all festivals had none other than Pop Diva Beyonce performing this year. I died a little inside when I heard this. She does NOT symbolise ALTERNATIVE at all. Yes, she symbolises strong, sexy and fierce woman but she is NOT niche and NOT an independent artist. It saddens me to think the line between commercial and independent is blurring and that a festival I once admired is selling out to such artists!
That’s just the music. What about the culture? You know you can actually find online tips on how to BECOME an indie kid. Ways to dress, things to BUY so you can seem ‘cooler’- there are shops with an indie clothing range :|. The whole point of being indie was to be independent- for you to set your own trends not listen to the media/advertisers selling what indie ‘should’ be.
This is an SOS call. Anyone that is buying in to the idea of being an indie kid. STOP NOW BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE! Forget what you THINK you should look like and how you THINK you should behave. Be you. Don’t be afraid to be different, to be experimental.
As for the music, you can’t really blame what were once underground and unknown artists breaking out and becoming successful. That’s their life long dream after all.
What you can do is say you went to see them at a teeny tiny unknown venue before they got so commercial and be very proud that you did. Then all you can do is hope that they maintain their musical talent and don’t sell out to huge coorperations and advertisers for money by being told what their music should sound like to appeal to the masses. Chances by be slim but hope must not be lost.
After just two days of creating a Twitter account- success strikes in finding a scoop! (Big thanks to Joanna Geary from ‘The Times’ for stressing the importance of social networking)!
My newest follower “Spacehotel” is what I stumble upon.
"Spacehotel" is the exciting new sound created by solo-artist Paul Timson: an English singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist. Paul describes his sound on his youtube page as "alternative", stating his influences are artists such as Duran Duran, Blur and The Police.
I haven’t found much press on Spacehotel which is unfortunate as Paul is far more deserving an artist than the auto-tuned Pop princes(ses) that run the mainstream world of music.
Spacehotel’s sound is unique, electric, fresh and youthful. The album “Dead Radio” was released early this year via the internet on self-run record label “Sharpfish Records.”
American indie band ‘Foster the People’ are coming to the UK this November. Their most popular song “Pumped up kicks” has been on my 25 most played for months now…I really can’t afford to keep going to all these gigs but they are on my MUST SEE LIVE LIST!
I must live by the ‘see the band before they become mainstream and ticket prices go through the roof’ motto.
I will do it. Tonight I will book the tickets.
Then, I will tell you how awesome they were once I’ve seen them (they better be awesome because I’m going to have to stop eating to afford such privileges)!
They added another London date to their tour so if you don’t want to miss out- visit ticketmaster now and join me and my living life at any cost (literally) motto!!
Living in London’s East End wasn’t always so advantageous.
It is only in the last decade that it has become a creative hub: buzzing with energy and charisma, artists and musicians galore!
Last week I went to the ‘Alternative London’ tour. A quirky, indie, somewhat pretentious, hungover and hillarious tour guide took us through Shoreditch/Brick Lane area to uncover London’s phenomenal street art.
Weaving through small side streets and busier bustling ones I really got a sense of London’s diversity. Street art undoubtedly reflects and questions our society and takes ‘freedom of expression’ to a creative dimension.
Street art was once regarded as an urban grassroots movement, but with the introduction of new technology such as cameras and the internet it has generated a huge following. Anonymous, yet notorious, street artist Banksy critically questions serious issues such as social and economic inequality, oppression and resistance against structures in hierarchical societies.
The tour introduced other artists that are just as talented as Banksy. T-WAT also reflects governmental policies ( see Nick Clegg and David Cameron image below). But street art isn’t always so serious. Artists, C215, Shepard Fairy and Stik all paint/spray colourful, vibrant portraits bringing life to the streets.
These are the voices of those who have revolutionised our idea of art. Those who have taken it out of exhibitions, to the streets, and proven that graffiti and street art can be just as effective, if not more, when influencing our ideas of the world.
Indie: a term so flippantly used. When I say I’m an ‘indie-fanatic’ what does this exactly mean? For me indie symbolises ‘alternative’: independence from the norm. It means difference and it means me.
Indie music has been described as “…independence from major commercial record labels…an autonomous, Do-It-Yourself approach to recording and publishing.” That is exactly why I love it. No in your face advertising or selling of a product: simply music and the production of it in its purest form.
‘Bon Iver’ resemble exactly this. The band recorded their albums in a remote cabin in North-western Wisconsin. No fancy hotels or high maintenance requests. Hello world, this is us and our instruments. Love it or hate it. Admirable: don’t you think?
Indie music arose from the Punk era in the 70’s. The first “real indie band” being ‘The Velvet Underground’. Despite not being very successful their pioneering strategy of a DIY album was one to pave the way for the rest. The 80’s were when alternative music became popular and indie music really emerged and found its own identity. Oh how I wish I was around in the 80’s!
Many who listen to this music may not like to be labelled as “indie”. There’s a “no labels” culture amongst the youth who do not wish to be associated with a certain clique. Ironically, these tend to be the same people that so readily label others. To stereotype or label may not always be fair but is, what I believe, typical of human nature. Perhaps in a way to understand others more: perhaps to understand ourselves better. Personally, I welcome the label of “indie”. It resonates with who I am: independent and embracing things in life with a difference.