Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Another day, another list

This time it's Amazon's 100 Greatest Indie Rock Albums of All Time which may have been out for a while (it's undated) but I just found it and then about an hour later somebody emailed me the link. This time I'm not counting how many I've heard, partly because it'd be kinda low and partly because oddly enough I'm just not that interested.

For one thing, there are a number of bands that I don't remember even running across the name before: The Microphones, Panda Bear, Portugal the Man. (Boy that last one is a terrible name.) And there are far more I've heard just a track or two. Mainly this is because even though I listen to a lot of new music, my idea of "new" is no longer "recently released independent label rock" especially when it's garbage stuff like Cat Power or Bonnie "Prince" Billy or Tortoise. (Guided by Voices always seemed like an elaborate prank.) A few years ago I stopped trying to "keep up" with whatever's current because there was just no point - no longer reviewing and so much of it is just treading water. Innovation is never a requirement for good art but freshness certainly is.

Oh, there's definitely first-rate stuff here: Sonic Youth, Pavement, Sleater-Kinney, The Fall, Replacements, Stereolab, Half Japanese (yay!), etc. But you'll notice those are mostly older (or older-ish) bands. I like the Shins and White Stripes and Spoon and Bright Eyes and Arcade Fire and so forth just fine but am not blown away by any of them. But why leave out SST, Slash, Subterranean, ZE, Posh Boy or dozens of other labels that released stuff decidedly better than what's here? Probably some of it isn't available (Human Switchboard's fantastic Who's Landing in My Hangar? for instance) but maybe also because Amazon wanted it to seem up-to-date. They are after all selling the music.