Though I was feeling awfully self-congratulatory (this is a common problem, honestly) about coming up with “indie-lite”, I found a very well-written piece from Chapel Hill-area paper Indy Week from almost three years ago that uses the term. However, I’m confident that TLOS will be the blog to make indie-lite happen for realz.
Indie-lite is formerly straight indie music that has evolved to appeal to mainstream audiences (large corporations, most normal people) while maintaining a veneer of indie niche aesthetic. The most famous example of an indie-lite song in action, from the artist who led me to coin the term (or at least retrieve it from the ether):
My issues with Feist are well-documented. Interestingly, several of the indie princesses I point out in that post have gone the indie-lite route. See some examples below:
Rilo Kiley, seminal indie-pop project
Rilo Kiley, indie-lite
Cat Power, (fucking amazing) indie artist
Cat Power, indie-lite
(One of the most fun things about writing for this blog is digging up a bunch of shit on YouTube, by the way. I also found this video, which sets Cat Power’s “The Greatest” to amazing shots of…old people bowling.)
Luckily for beautiful girls with bangs everywhere, there are also plenty of other bands that I can lump into the indie-lite category:
Kings of Leon, fun indie rock party band
Kings of Leon, indie-lite
Modest Mouse, hip college-y indie rock
Modest Mouse, indie-lite
Death Cab For Cutie, sensitive-boy indie rock
Death Cab For Cutie, indie-lite
The Decemberists, who have been indie-lite from the get-go
And then there are some artists that I just can’t lump into this category, no matter how well-loved they are by the masses:
Peter Bjorn and John
I don’t want to come off as one of those insufferable indie snobs who dismisses a band the moment their songs turn up in an Outback Steakhouse commercial – trust me when I say I understand the need to make bank. But I do think it’s interesting to watch the evolution from indie to indie-lite, and recognize that this music has basically been sanitized to the point of complete inoffensiveness.
Anyway. Enjoy some Wolf Parade while you ponder these weighty issues, because they’re awesome and I love them and they definitely haven’t crossed over.
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