There's no doubt the meaning of “independent” has transformed since bands like the Velvet Underground began recording demo cassettes in their loft apartment in the 1960s, or when Black Flag built their own label to release music no one else would. Indie rock was an ethos, a movement with roots in 1980s college radio and the “do-it-yourself” approach of punk rock. Today, indie rock has taken over the mainstream, far from it's low-budget beginnings. According to CNN, it's a lifestyle reaching towards authenticity, and “If it's cool, creative, and different, it's indie.” But who defines that threshold? Makes you wonder what “indie” even means nowadays.
Sonic Youth; Credit: Photo by Michael Shmelling. Courtesy of Matador Records.