I guess one way or another, however you want to term it, I have been listening to indie music almost all my life: “underground” music on FM stations in the 60s, the rise of punk/new wave on college and public radio stations in the 70s, then the broader “indie/alternative” that found its various media niches from the 80s until the present day. I have always liked to hear things that are different, away from what I expect somehow, something that grabs my ear. I very much like the DIY aspect of indie music, that there isn’t some soulless Blandinator machine filtering through it from some huge music conglomerate in order to try to drive 4th quarter sales.

Today’s indie music scene is quite broad, and can include bands screaming upward in popularity like Kings of Leon, to lone and plaintive singer/songwriter types like Bon Iver, to complete and utter noisemakers like Psychedelic Horseshit. I like them all. However, I do have a few issues with indie today, and I am going to list them here.

1. Tendency to emo: Shoegazers! Pouting Glasses Nerd With Hopeless Hair And A Fully Buttoned-Up Plaid Shirt! Icy Nordic Obscurists! Lighten the fuck up sometimes! Do you like making music? Aren’t you just all thrilled you got this far? You could crack a smile sometimes onstage. It won’t affect your indie cred. Surprise me, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, and pull out a rainbow clown wig for a song or two. SURPRISE ME.
2. Lack of melody and/or chorus: Something to remember – you are writing songs, and people like to sing along to your songs, if you MAKE IT POSSIBLE. I hear too many songs that are really poems set to one droning chord with a three-note melody that never seem to “kick in.” Like with a story, you need something to HAPPEN in your song. Build it up, give us some dynamics, something. Give me something to remember five minutes after I hear your song. Danger: Foo Fighters/Blink 182 Syndrome, which is quiet-quiet-quiet-YELL-YELL-YELL-quiet-quiet-quiet-FINISH WITH THE BIG YELL. Played out beyond played out. Fake emotional reeks.
3. Letting video games be your backing band: Hello, Animal Collective and Tobacco. Beep beep boop bop bip. I know you were raised on Nintendo, but those damn noises are like hell to the rest of us. Set down the controller sometimes.
4. Brash Solo Girl Talking About Sex Stuff and Swearing: Lily Allen, Katy Perry, Kate Nash. Yeah yeah OK, Liz Phair did it ages ago. It isn’t new now, just kind of ewww. If I thought you weren’t just trying for the attention of it, I would not mind.
5. Reverb: Indie loves reverb, I like reverb, but too many of you are using too much of it. I know it is lots and lots of fun. Just be aware that you sound more like each other than yourselves sometimes, Crystal Stilts and Vivian Girls and The Magnetic Fields.

But I love you all, my little goofy independents, no matter what. Keep on being your alternative selves, and remember to have fun, too. Playing music that others can enjoy is a real privilege, yes, from even you, Psychedelic Horseshit. Maybe even you the most.