This was published in MESS and NOISE last year.
Its an indie indie, indie ,indie, indie world. Well from my couch it seems to be . Everythings gone indie. The banks tv adverts are all indie. Croaky faux americana folk music and young people bending and folding computers. McDonalds runs an indie line, to compliment its historically untrue heritage line where old people remember the days when they met and ate apple pies under the Golden Arches. The time is ripe for an indie Hitler I think. people go for anything as long as it seems right.
The aesthetic “indie” was invented by the Manson family in Death Valley in 1967 or 68. It was a slow, organic process. Strange that such a do it yourself kind of aesthetic was born right next to the Hollywood dream factory which was still, but only just, under the control of the studio bosses. Manson and Hopper kicked the doors down and made the world safe for George Lucas, Steven Spielberg and the Hollywood blockbusting teen pics we have a choice of today.
Dialectical I presume. They were butting up against their opposites. All the slick hustling of Hollywood led to the Manson Family getting their own precious thing together. They always said they got messages from the Beatles who had gone all indie themselves and locked themselves away from the filthy general public and issued records at a steady rate from their studios in London. Must have seemed very exotic and other worldly to the family as they sped around the sand dunes on their buggies, practicing manoeuvres for the coming race war. They must have also looked to the Monkees who were a nearby, dream factory merging of the Beatles and Hollywood. The times were so kinetic, The Monkee model actors had ideas of their own and connections to the real world of murky underground ambitions . This gave the show a bit of a low spark. A weak charge .Charlie even auditioned to be a member of the Monkees. Still, their band in a house as a show style had a kooky correlation to the Family down on the ranch. The Monkees also had a lot in common with the plays of Eugene Ionesco. People were in a room, permanently, there was no time, and occasionally other people walked in. The rules were set and they had to remember them over and over and act accordingly. Very indie.
The basic thing about indie is to be piss weak. I don’t mean this in a judgemental way. I mean in a qualitative, forceful way. I mean conviction. Its a desultory boot of a tin can along the ground with your hands in your pockets, thinking of what you didn’t have for breakfast. This is as opposed to putting on some boots, warming up with a few laps and giving a football a decent roost towards the goals. To be lacking in energy, or any sense of power, is very indie. Bloodless, no show of emotion. To never approach anything from a head on direction. Shrugging everything off. Its a bit like the ideal state of women in upper class Victorian England. They had to be sickly and weak. It can be scary, in a creepy kind of way. Rarely is though. Strangely contrasting with this detachment is the insistence on trusting intuition and the truth of first reactions. Almost Bruce Lee like in attitude. “Don’t think! Feel!” Rehearsing is bad as it leads to phoniness. Oh, and play only to your friends. Outsiders are to be mistrusted. Waco! The best part of the indie state of mind and body is the constant spinning of the wheels. Going over and over the same constructions and arrangements. Such a thin pool of ideas allows anybody to come in and get on the bike straight away. Such a passing parade occasionally lets new , weird blood in and then mistakes are made. These mistakes are the great leaps forward of indie-dom. Well, piss weak leaps up in the air with an accompanying, thin and weak “woo hoo!” . After that brief break for freedom its all back down, ankle deep in the puddle again.
To make an indie song or sound , make sure the drummer does not play the snare or the cymbals. Hi Hats are okay. In stiff double time . Indeed, the drummer should be so stiff as to be in constant danger of rocking right off the stool, such is the perpetual , petrified motion that is engaged. The bass player should have a large amp, an odd looking and weak sounding guitar and an antique white, curled guitar lead. They must always play the 3rd note in the chord, this gives a sad, piss weak melodic quality to the playing and keeps it away from the drums. The guitar is thin and trebley and one foot is pointed in a funny way to show the inner anguish inside an otherwise static performer.
Lyrics are so personal as to be unknowable by anyone but very close family. They are delivered mostly off mic and very uncompressed. Real!
I guess the indie field suffers because it has lost its otherness. The big blocking out the sun style mainstream has been obliterated by technology and the indie led rush to the margins.
Indie is adrift. On its own. Its own piss weak turf. There is nothing in the middle. Just a thousand mainstreams. And they are all flying apart too.
Personally I like some indie things. Ginger beer , liquorice, and....er well , the fact that you never hear AC/DC or bluezak at any of the shows. It is a scene with quite a vast and wild inner life. It actually contains some roots, strangely enough. Trace elements of real heroic stuff. Yes, I much prefer that to the parts of the scene that profess roots but use that as an excuse to wail so emotionally off the dial that they float off the earth itself. Too unreal for me, all that pain. Jeff Buckley, goddam your fruity pipes!
- dave graney
- WORKSHY - 2017 memoir out on Affirm Press. Let's get Tight - 2017 CD with Clare Moore. Moodists - Coral Snakes - mistLY. I don’t know what I am and don’t want to know any more than I already know. I aspire, in my music , to 40s B Movie (voice and presence) and wish I could play guitar like Charlie Christian or Grant Green -but not in this lifetime, I know.
2014 solo album from Dave Graney. *****"If I've learnt anything in my years of writing about music it's that if you are going to do anything of worth in this tough game, you better have your own thing. Today's generic is easily replaced by tomorrow's. And yet you need to be flexible, to follow wherever the songs demand. In the case of this, only the second credited as a solo album among 30 or so Graney releases, it's a curious yet welcoming lane he walks you down, with acoustic guitars, not much percussion, vibes, smooth sounds. At the end of it you feel like you've awoken from a strange yet pleasant summer's dream. As shot by Luis Bunuel. It ranges from off-kilter reveries (A Woman Skinnies Up a Man, The Old Docklands Wheel) through to the softly seductive (How Can You Get Out of London) and the downright arch (Look Into My Shades, Everything Is Great In The Beginning.) This is music that is neither folk, nor blues, nor country, but it's all Graney, somewhere out to the left field beyond Lee Hazlewood's raised eyebrow. It's astringent on the tongue but sweetens in the telling." Noel Mengel Brisbane Courier Mail
you've been in my mind
June 2012 super high energy pop rock album - blazing electric 12 strings - total 70s rock drive. Greatest yet! available via paypal - $20 pp
SUPERMODIFIED - August 2010 remixed/re-sung/re-strung//remastered/replayed comp via PAYPAL
also available as a digital album
Knock yourself (2009)-first ever dg solo set-filthy electro r&b-available via Paypal- $20
available as a digital album too
We Wuz Curious (2008)-blazing R&B jazz pop album available via paypal-$20
UNAVAILABLE-COMPLETELY SOLD OUT!!!
AVAILABLE AS A DIGITAL album
Hashish and Liquor (2005 double disc by Dave Graney and Clare Moore) available via Paypal $25
UNAVAILABLE-COMPLETELY SOLD OUT!!!
Single album HASHISH available as a digital release