“23 Indie Street is the best indie music radio station in the world -
Made by Homeless Stu © 23 Indie Street.
“23 Indie Street is the world’s best indie and alternative music radio station”
Indie Music Radio
A Definition of ‘Indie’-
Here at 23 Indie Street, as you might expect, we love indie music -
But what is ‘indie music’? It’s a question we often get asked. Even more often we
get told that such-
“Since when have Coldplay been indie?”
Lots of people seem pretty clear on what isn’t indie but establishing what is indie is not a straightforward thing. What do you think of when you hear the word ‘indie’? What images does the word conjure? It always makes us think of John Squires’ lemon or perhaps Ian Brown’s hair in the early days.
There’s no universally accepted definition of ‘indie music’ -
These three things, in varying combinations, go towards creating a genre of music that we call ‘indie’.
Let’s look at each definition in a bit more detail.
Indie as a Music Publishing Model
‘Indie’ was originally simply the shortened form of ‘independent’ and was used to
describe bands who were independent of any major record label. These were bands who
were signed to small start-
It is thought that the first example of a band publishing their own record was the 1977 Spiral Scratch EP by Buzzcocks
Whilst they are often described as a punk band, Buzzcocks certainly possessed an
indie ethos (see below) and they were at the vanguard of the trend to find a way
to get your records into the hands of the kids by circumventing the major labels.
Spiral Scratch gives us a useful chronological backstop -
Why did bands want to self-
The second important reason was artistic control -
In the 1980’s small labels sprang-
In the 1990s indie music made the transition from ‘alternative’ to mainstream. In
the UK this change was, in part, a backlash against the massive success of American
grunge acts in the early 90s -
It is here, in the early 1990s that the idea of indie as a publishing model comes
to grief. The major labels were signing alternative bands left-
But who cares? When The Strokes released ‘Is This It?’ they were signed to a big
label (Sony’s RCA) but this doesn’t stop them being indie -
Indie as a State of Mind
So if ‘indie’ is not just about publishing models, what else makes an indie band an indie band?
This one’s a bit harder to pin-
This is music for misfits, by misfits and it’s about misfits. To quote Pulp (one
of the indiest indie bands ever) it’s about “Mistakes, mis-
Indie is bands-
Indie as a Sound
But what does indie music sound like? Well, quite, that’s the really important bit isn’t it?
Indie music is usually guitar driven. We’re not talking about ‘metal’ or ‘rock’ here
Indie music is DIY, it’s not over-
This is not always the case, of course. New Order are an indie band, yet many of
their songs are entirely synthesizer created without a guitar in sight. Take their
towering ‘Blue Monday’ for example -
No conversation about the ‘sound of indie’ can ever be complete without speaking
(in hushed tones) about C86 -
Indie had been around before C86 and many people think that the tape’s influence
has been overstated -
After that, it just got better and better. The Stone Roses, Pulp, Blur, Radiohead,
The Libertines, The Pixies, The Cribs, The Strokes, The Smiths, The Manic Street
Preachers, Spector, Wolf Alice, Joy Division, The Wonderstuff, The Arctic Monkeys,
Belle and Sebastian, The Cure, The Stereophonics, The Wedding Present, Oasis, New
Order, The National, The Flaming Lips, Arcade Fire, Suede, Oasis, The Killers, REM,
The Vaccines -
And Coldplay? Yeah, why not -
23 Indie Street