Indie Rock vs Alternative Rock

I have spent enough hours in the past few days to find more free, legal music downloads, in order to comprise an ultimate top-100 of such music. Having listened to hundreds (thousands?) of available songs from many labels and band sites, I’ve come to realize that most of the music out there is actually indie rock (as in the genre, with the U.S. meaning), rather than alternative rock.

For example, there are way more copycats of Iron & Wine, Fleet Foxes, or Arcade Fire, than there are of AFI, The Strokes, The Offspring, or Green Day. Thing is, both myself and JBQ are more at the alternative hard/rock side of things than the folk-inspired indie rock that the independent scene is filled up with. There are really not many unsigned bands out there that sound like the kind of music we listen to San Francisco’s alternative FM station “Live 105.3“. The few bands that seem to be able to write such music are snatched immediately by the big-4 majors.

Two things are happening here:
1. The musicians that are able to write the kind of music we want to listen to so we can bang our heads and still keep the melody in-tact, are very few.
2. The world is moving towards a different style of music, and the indie scene is the one that’s driving it. In that case, JBQ and I are just old, and we don’t get it anymore.

There are of course unsigned bands that style-wise are in the middle of these two kinds of music, e.g. Ag Silver, The A-Sides, Capital Lights, The Crash Moderns, Death In The Park, Drist, Longwave, Magnolia Sons, The New Frontiers, Seabird, TV/TV, We Shot The Moon, Wiretree etc, but these good ones are also few. Funnily, these guys aren’t as easily snatched by the majors, and yet their music is — to me — much more accessible than the folk-style indie rock that the internet is filled with.

Finally, there is something very interesting I noticed about me these past few days while digging for good music. The kind of “alternative indie rock” Northern Europeans create is much more pleasant to my ears than the one American musicians do. For example, The Raveonettes, The Caesars, The Sounds, Lykke Li, sound to me much more pleasant than Flight of The Conchords, or The Decemberists do. Maybe there is something to be said about the music influences someone is growing up with, and maybe that’s the reason we don’t like the US-style of folk-sounding indie rock.

Sure enough, we can’t stand country music either. Ok, except the Blitzen Trapper, a band that defies categorization to this day.

9 Comments »

The Modern Mistress wrote on May 20th, 2009 at 8:26 AM PST:

Thank you so much for mentioning The Crash Moderns. They totally fit the genre you’re talking about. No Indie Folk need apply! Rock on.


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Eugenia wrote on May 20th, 2009 at 8:34 AM PST:

The band rocks! I bought the album on iTunes a few weeks ago and it’s on heavy rotation here. Every song is a hit, there are no weak links in there. I also sneaked it to my husband’s iPod. 😉


cathy wrote on May 20th, 2009 at 10:28 AM PST:

Nice job name dropping The Crash Moderns. Love those guys! The world is running low on people like you or me that actually give the unsigned bands a chance! Lately a lot of people are stubborn when it comes to checking out a band that hasnt been on Mtv or the current favorite of Pete Wentz or some other celebrity that is all hype.

Since you are already a fan of The Crash Moderns, might i suggest to you a few other amazing bands?
For one, The Pink Spiders is amazing and just this past March The Crash Moderns opened for them at their show in Chicago, it was quite amazing, both bands are good friends.

Also, The Armed Forces, friends of the Pink Spiders, both hailing from Nashville, TN and both have very awesome upbeat and a true rock sound.

http://www.myspace.com/thepinkspiders
http://www.myspace.com/thearmedforces


yelamdenu wrote on May 20th, 2009 at 4:12 PM PST:

hi Eugenia
what do you think about the band Johan?
(from holland)
Band leader is a very good songwriter.


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Eugenia wrote on May 20th, 2009 at 5:30 PM PST:

Johan are pretty good.


The Modern Mistress wrote on May 21st, 2009 at 10:00 AM PST:

The Crash Moderns just played to a huge crowd last night in Knoxville TN and are headed to Japan next month. They’re also recording new songs, playing with them on the road, and enjoy interacting with the fans. If you get a chance to see them live, do it!

Also – i agree with Cathy – The Pink Spiders are so fantastic! definitely check them out!


Bekka wrote on May 22nd, 2009 at 10:16 AM PST:

I definately agree! Everyone wants to have that indie rock sound and very few can pull it off!

The Crash Moderns is a great blend of alternative and indie! I for sure agree with that!

Awesome blog.


Hazel0017 wrote on May 22nd, 2009 at 4:13 PM PST:

Thankyou so much for mentioning The Crash Moderns!!They totally Rocked the house in Knoxville Wednesday! They also played a Great show in Columbia, SC last night! These guys deserve a label! I just spent 3 days driving around to see them and it was totally worth it!! I can’t wait to see them again!!


marc wrote on May 23rd, 2009 at 6:59 PM PST:

i saw The Crash Moderns live one night, they were one of the best shows i’ve ever seen.
unsigned bands are the best. ; )


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