Indie music fans often get labeled as “hipsters”, a term often loaded with the underlying assumption that they are only interested in liking something because it isn’t popular. The substantial segment of the population that buys into this likes to think of indie fans as a bunch of “contrarians” for daring to have preferences outside the mainstream. To be fair, there are some people who embody this stereotype. But for the most part, I don’t think that’s the case. I think indie fans are just attracted to something that doesn’t happen to be popular… and they’re fine with that, because it’s not how they choose their music. Whatever.
The flipside to all this is that there are a bunch of people who aren’t interested in liking indie rock because they don’t want to be “hipsters.” It’s not so much the music itself that they object to, but the ethos of the whole thing. After tUnE-yArDs’s 2011 album w h o k i l l won the Village Voice’s annual music poll, Chuck Klosterman wrote a bizarre piece for Grantland that had all sorts of bad things to say about the album, its fans, and tUnE-yArDs in general (To be fair, his critique of the capitalization thing is spot-on; stop doing this, Merrill Garbus!).
Buried amid all the hipster hate, Klosterman actually has a few nice things to say about the album, almost as if he kinda digs it but doesn’t want to be lumped in with the hipster crowd that gave w h o k i l l so much praise last year. His point about how the album may not stand up so well a few years down the road is even a salient one and it’s an issue I’ve raised about several albums over the years, most of which were more conventional than w h o k i l l. But instead of making his article about the music, Klosterman instead focuses on so many peripheral and ultimately irrelevant issues that it reads like a juvenille rant published to make himself look like one of the cool kids at his high school and not one of the nerds. Weak. (Unlike the saxaphones, which continue to be strong on the 2011 releases… and we’re still not done with this theme yet!)
Bizness – tUnE-yArDs