July 20, 2007



Earlier this week, the Boston Phoenix published a “list of 10 landmark albums that made indie rock.” There are excellent albums among these ten (and the twenty-five appended as Honorable Mentions), several undeniably great ones and a few that I would not be willing to listen to unless paid by someone in Dubai, instantly, while I slept.

The organizing principle doesn’t seem to be the one announced, though: these are albums made in the 1980s by people who mostly don’t sing so good. (No, I am not including Michael Stipe.) That’s a fine category, just as valid as self-similar R&B sung by geniuses. But aren’t there other albums that did more to set off the series of aesthetic jacks that led to the current sound of indie rock? “Pet Sounds” continues to seed new records, as do Gang of Four’s “Entertainment!” and Blondie’s “Parallel Lines.” (That list goes on—enjoy!)

In the other direction, is there a single band with a set of skills and preferences similar to those of The Minutemen (especially as heard on “Double Nickels”)? If so, I missed it. And beyond some of Paul Banks’s vocal tics, there is little trace of Joy Division in the indie rocks. (I often think people mean The Cure [included here] or New Order [not] when they say Joy Division.) Not surprising—JD were an idiosyncratic and sometimes difficult band whose influence is minor compared to say, that of Depeche Mode, who rank near Sonic Youth if we are counting spawn. The Smiths wrought much so we can’t gainsay their place, and they had that cool juju song about the bicycle seat.

Just asking.

Posted by Sasha at July 20, 2007 02:03 PM | TrackBack