|Cultural Origins:||Early 1980s, United States, Canada and United Kingdom|
|Instruments:||Guitar – bass – drums – synthesizers|
|Popularity:||Widespread worldwide in the 2000s.|
|Derivatives:||Post-rock, riot grrl, emo, grindie, Britpop|
|Subgenres:||Garage punk, riot grrl, noise rock, twee pop, grindie, power pop, post-punk revival, queercore, noise pop, folk punk, post-hardcore, dance-punk, New Weird America, Baroque pop, new prog, garage rock revival, lo-fi, sadcore, C86, math rock, shoegazing|
|Regional Scenes:||Largely global, England – Ireland - Scotland – Wales – USA – Canada – Sweden – Japan|
|Other Topics:||Timeline of alternative rock, DIY ethic, riot grrl, queercore, new wave|
Indie rock is alternative rock that most notably exists in the independent underground music scene. It primarily refers to rock musicians that are or were unsigned, or have signed to independent record labels, rather than major record labels. Genres or subgenres often associated with indie rock include lo-fi, post-rock, sadcore, C86, and math rock, to list but a few; other related (and sometimes overlapping) categories include shoegazing and indie pop. Indie rock artists place a premium on maintaining complete control of their music and careers, releasing albums on independent record labels (sometimes their own) and relying on touring, word-of-mouth, and airplay on independent or college radio stations for promotion. Some end up moving to major labels, often on favorable terms won by their prior independent success.
In the United Kingdom, indie music charts have been compiled since the early 1980s. Initially, the charts featured bands that emerged with a form of guitar-based alternative rock that dominated the indie charts, particularly indie pop artists such as Aztec Camera and Orange Juice, the C86 jangle-pop movement and the twee pop of Sarah Records artists. Some definitive British indie rock bands of the 1980s were The Smiths, The Stone Roses and The Jesus and Mary Chain, whose music directly influenced 1990s alternative rock movements such as shoegazing and Britpop.
In the United States, the music commonly regarded as indie rock is descended from an alternative rock scene largely influenced by the movements of the 1970s and early 1980s and their DIY ethic. In the 1980s the term "indie rock" was particularly associated with the abrasive, distortion-heavy sounds of Hüsker Dü, Dinosaur Jr, Sonic Youth, Big Black, and others that populated American indie labels, separating them from jangly college rock bands like R.E.M. and 10,000 Maniacs, who, by the end of the decade, were signed to major labels. The late eighties band Pixies is said to be the main influence in 1990s-present indie rock.
During the first half of the 1990s, alternative rock, led by grunge bands such as Nirvana, Alice in Chains, Soundgarden and Pearl Jam, broke into the mainstream, achieving commercial chart success and widespread exposure. Shortly thereafter the alternative genre became commercialized as mainstream success attracted major-label investment and commercially-oriented or manufactured acts with a formulaic, conservative approach. With this, the meaning of the label "alternative" changed away from its original, more counter-cultural meaning to refer to alternative music that achieved mainstream success and the term "indie rock" was used to refer to the bands and genres that remained underground. One of the defining movements of 1990s indie rock was the lo-fi movement spearheaded by Elliott Smith, Guided by Voices, Pavement, Sebadoh, The Grifters, Liz Phair, The Elephant 6 Recording Co., Neutral Milk Hotel and others, which placed a premium on rough recording techniques, ironic detachment, and disinterest in "selling out" to the mainstream alternative rock scene.
Indie bands have attracted many listeners, especially among college students. Many indie bands have launched their mainstream careers by offering to perform at free concerts hosted by universities and colleges. Bands such as The Dykeenies, Silversun Pickups, Tokyo Police Club, People in Planes and Maxïmo Park have found their way on to charts this way.
With Arts Council funding for some independent bands, and an increasing range of advertising and commercial opportunities to distribute music, few popular acts are wholly independent. However indie music in the UK has perhaps benefited from the relatively broad overlap between 'mainstream' and 'indie' music genres. Radiohead release their music independently, do not accept corporate sponsorship and continue to make music which is experimental. They are also popular and well-known. There are many artists who make original, distinctive music, without aiming for mainstream success, in genres such as grime music. In this sense, the UK retains a tradition of creating original, experimental music, which has one eye on achieving mainstream success without being subsumed by major music corporations.
Placebo, Arctic Monkeys, The View, Maxïmo Park, Franz Ferdinand, Editors, The Cribs, Razorlight, The Killers, Kaiser Chiefs, Bloc Party, The Futureheads, Interpol, Boy Kill Boy, Dirty Pretty Things, The Wombats, TV on the Radio, The Fratellis, We Are Scientists, The Bravery, The Rascals, The Kooks
The White Stripes, The Vines, The Strokes,, Kings Of Leon, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, The Subways, The Libertines, The Hives, Royal Joker, Ikara Colt, Motel Motel, Mclusky, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Mooney Suzuki, The Horrors, The Raveonettes, The Von Bondies, The Black Keys, Dirty Little Rabbits, The Raconteurs, Johnossi, Modest Mouse, Little Joy
Death From Above 1979, Metric, MGMT, The Rapture, Klaxons, The Presets, MSTRKRFT, You Say Party! We Say Die!, Shitdisco, LCD Soundsystem, New Young Pony Club, !!!, Q and Not U, Foals, Does It Offend You, Yeah?, VHS or Beta, The Faint, Digitalism.
Additional, less clearly defined genres include: