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"A Paler Shade of White: How Indie Rock Lost Its Soul"


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Thanks for sharing, Mr O,

Since I am at home today, I should like to respond to a couple of points in this article I take exception to:

First, is the assertion that if a band doesn't have African American rhythm that it lack "soul" or by association meaning.

"Other flagship indie bands—the Fiery Furnaces, the Decemberists, the Shins—occasionally produce memorable hooks and moments of inspired juxtaposition. (The Fiery Furnaces have a constantly mutating lineup of instruments, which makes the band sound, at its best, like a jukebox on the fritz.) Grizzly Bear, the indie band that excites me most right now, is making songs with no apparent links to black American music—or any readily identifiable genre. (The band’s sound suggests a group of eunuchs singing next to a music box on a sunken galleon.) But, in the past few years, I’ve spent too many evenings at indie concerts waiting in vain for vigor, for rhythm, for a musical effect that could justify all the preciousness."

While I agree that some indie performances have left me cold, they are easily matched by the number of performances that exactly inject more "soul" into a flater album (Small Sins come to mind, as would anyone who has seen Broken Social Scene or The New Pornographers)

"How did rhythm come to be discounted in an art form that was born as a celebration of rhythm’s possibilities? Where is the impulse to reach out to an audience—to entertain? I can imagine James Brown writing dull material. I can even imagine the Meters wearing out their fans by playing a little too long. But I can’t imagine any of these musicians retreating inward and settling for the lassitude and monotony that so many indie acts seem to confuse with authenticity and significance."

I've got a better question. Since when did the African American tradition OWN the exclusive rights to rhythm? For example, the Celtic hop and skip that the Decemebrists often display.

"Pop music is no longer made of just a few musical traditions; it’s a profusion of strands, most of which don’t intersect, except, perhaps, when listeners click “shuffle†on their iPods. Last month, in the Times, the white folk rocker Devendra Banhart declared his admiration for R. Kelly’s new R. & B. album “Double Up.†Thirty years ago, Banhart might have attempted to imitate R. Kelly’s perverse and feather-light soul. Now he’s just a fan."

AND NEVER WILL AGAIN!....Stop being so pretentious as to predict where music is heading. Or maybe he just wants the cred for starting the indie-funk movement

"The uneasy, and sometimes inappropriate, borrowings and imitations that set rock and roll in motion gave popular music a heat and an intensity that can’t be duplicated today, and the loss isn’t just musical; it’s also about risk."

How about the risk of stepping outside of musical tradition and "pop" structure and managing to create within the set template, new and exciting rhythms, chord changes and such. I loves my funk and soul, but I guess the "white" guy in me has a problem with the broad assertions that the two (indie and "soul") will NEVER intertwine and finally, that indie music today is a more exciting form of music than the Clash references earlier in the article.

Now back to the toilet....thanks for the conversation fonder!

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I've been wondering why I no longer feel the urge to dance at shows.

Maybe it's because your old knees are shot, your back hurts from standing, your hearing is a mess from yelling all the time, your nipples are hairy and you're not desperate to mack with any person attached to a vagina within a 3 foot radius now that you've found true love?

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