Archive | June, 2011

All praise to the Gods of Indie!

3 Jun

Believe it or not I’m not big on nostalgia, I believe we live in the now and should try and enjoy it. I am, however, fond of recalling happy memories and especially fond of celebrating excellent things throughout history that evoke feelings of pure joy.

Which is why it was only a matter of time before I used this blog to write about music.

I love a wide range of music and still enjoy discovering new sounds, however I suppose I would have to describe myself as an indie kid. It was the first genre of music that captured my teenage imagination. And by the way I don’t mean the mediocre shite that has been popular over the past ten years (I hate Keene and the Kaiser Chiefs, and don’t get me started on Scouting for Girls).

Essentially, there is very little that gets me more excited than the screech of guitar feedback – even now. That ear-piercing sound represents pretty much all things wonderful for me – in 1990 it was dangerous, illicit and, dare I say it, sexy. Today it’s still pretty damn sexy but now, it transports me back to dirty indie clubs, gig venues with sticky floors, dry ice, smells of sweat and smoke and skinny boys with floppy hair – in short, a world that I wanted so badly to enter. I think it’s that anticipation, the expectation of being on the threshold of something I didn’t yet understand but wanted to immerse myself in that still lingers. Just listen to the Jesus and Mary Chain’s Upside Down and you’ll know what I mean… Thrilling!

(By the way, I think the Mary Chain are the most romantic band in the world)

I was enamoured with the aesthetic of indie too – I thought there was something so ethereally beautiful about the clothes, the hair cuts, the black and white photos in ‘serious’ music papers and most of all the cover art work. It seemed that the entire scene appealed to a ‘sensitive’ soul such as mine, who longed for meaningful conversations about art, books and French cinema (I know!).

Chapterhouse: the indie girl’s crumpet

Lush Melody Maker review

Ride Play EP

In fact I believe that the cover design for first three Ride EPs and the first album still look amazing today. I’m sure that stark, yet organic imagery and clean, yet tactile two-colour design on heavy matte paper stock, embellished with a gorgeous choice of both sans and serif fonts, ignited the passion I have for seemingly simple yet incredibly well thought-out graphic design to this day.

Ride Nowhere (over 20 years old now!)

Anyway once I’d got into the scene I obviously came across a number of souls who weren’t particularly sensitive and neither was I at times. But boy did I have a lot of fun. From the confines of my bedroom I’d imagined myself sitting in cafes having deep and meaningfuls, in reality there was dingy dives and hedonistic house parties and well, let’s just say a lot of light, rather meaningless, ‘entertainment’ (hey, it was a long time ago). And I’m not immune to making the odd dud choice either – if you watch carefully, you can spot me in the video for Oasis’ Cigarettes and Alcohol.

As I referred to earlier, in my opinion, it went a bit bad in the end (personally once Morning Glory came out and the likes of Kuler Shaker came on the scene it was pretty much over for me) but there are always new things to take its place, underground movements to excite and entice, that’s the fantastic thing about youth culture and music. Long may they reign!

I’ll leave you with some magic from My Bloody Valentine…