The Null Device

<RANT>
What is it with indie-pop's fixation on the 1960s? I recently picked up a free postcard advertising the Poptones record label; it is green in colour and adorned with various cover art, all of which has a strong retro motif. Day-Glo colours and earth tones, swirly psychedelic lettering and pop-art iconography abound. And then there are the shagadelic fonts used for the text (ones in which the @ sign in the email address looks out of place) and the Poptones logo itself, consisting of two swirly things in various shades of green. It's as if the past three decades never happened.

And then there's much of the indie music you hear. In between Damon and Liam acting like extras from Quadrophenia, Belle and Sebastian doing the flower-child thing (compare them, the leading exponents of introspective pop balladry, to countarparts from a decade earlier, such as the Field Mice, or even the Smiths, and you will see what I mean), and all the lounge-pop and Bacharach-hop acts, the whole indie ideosphere seems rather backwards-looking.

It wasn't always like this; during the late '80s/early '90s, things were more innovative. New Order had just combined rock and acid house, and the Madchester baggycore movement was doing something similar; meanwhile, further south, the shoegazer scene was happening. Bands looking for inspiration found it in The Smiths, not retro acts from decades ago.

Of course, then came the juggernaut that was Seattle Grunge, steamrolling everything in its path; faced with the Seattle onslaught, all the other scenes wilted like so many flowers (or alternative web browsers/ independent cafés, if you prefer). Once grunge inevitably degenerated into manufactured pop (i.e., Alanis, the Presidents of the USA), the landscape was blasted and barren, and what followed (such as the britpop movement, which of course was a construct of the music press) had to go back several decades to the Golden Age Of Pop(tm) for inspiration. (The Great Spirit of Perfect Pop, you see, lives somewhere around 1967.) Pretty soon it was just wannabe-Mods and flower children, with a few brave souls venturing into '70s prog-rock.

Me? I'm just holding out for the shoegazer/madchester revival.
</RANT>

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