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Indie music scene

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Indie music scene

An independent music scene is a localized independent music-oriented (or, more specifically, indie rock/indie pop-oriented) community of bands and their audiences. Local scenes can play a key role in musical history and lead to the development of influential genres; for example, No Wave from New York City, Madchester from Manchester, and Grunge from Seattle.

Indie scenes are often created as a response to mainstream or popular music. These scenes are created in opposition of mainstream culture and music and often contribute to the formation of oppositional identities among individuals involved in the scene.[1]

List of indie scenes per region


South Africa



The indie music scene in Japan is active and features bands like the pillows, Asian Kung–Fu Generation, ogre you asshole, Straightener, Sakanaction, Acidman, fujifabric, and Beat Crusaders. Expanded list of some Japanese indie rock bands

South Korea

Despite the popularity of K-pop (Korean Pop), there is also an Indie scene in South Korea. It is sometimes referred as K-Indie as a neologism inspired by K-pop. The heart of the Korean indie scene is in Hongdae area where indie acoustic, rock, house, electro and also underground hip-hop artists are listened to by young niche listeners. 'Sound Day' is held in Hongdae area every 2nd Friday of the month. It is a festive day dedicated to the indie scene with discounts on numerous indie performances and access to various stages throughout the day. Although overshadowed by the mainstream music in Korea, it has gained some degree of international exposure through the internet via YouTube. Some indie bands/artists include The RockTigers, 10cm, Yozo, and Jang Jae-in.

More information about Korean indie music in English can be found at such websites as Korean Indie and the Korea Gig Guide. In Korean, the main indie websites are Weiv and Scatterbrain, while a Korean-language music Wiki is at Krrr.

Australia and New Zealand


  • Sydney: While the independent music scene in Sydney was once second only to Melbourne's, it has suffered from a lack of suitable venues for the last decade or so. Many pubs and clubs are alleged to have found it more profitable to offer gambling machines rather than live music, but a complex and live-music-hostile regulatory environment has also contributed.[2]. Some examples include: Pnau, Deep Sea Arcade.

New Zealand

North America


United States

  • funk music called Go-go, which became highly popular among local residents, though it failed to attract significant national or global attention as compared with other forms of dance music at the time. Go-go artists of major importance in its early years included Rare Essence, Trouble Funk and E.U., with Chuck Brown being a figure commonly associated with the movement from then to the present. A local infrastructure of independent stores and labels released Go-go music, and local radio stations played it. The late 1970s and early 1980s also marked the birth of a punk rock-inspired independent music scene in the nation's capital which would prove highly influential on other musicians around the country and the world, providing the first independent rock scene in Washington, D.C. and one of the earliest in the U.S. Bad Brains helped to put D.C. on the map with a sound that merged reggae and soul with hard guitars to develop the musically and politically subversive genre of hardcore punk. D.C. resident Henry Rollins, who also came out of the hardcore punk scene, joined the highly influential band Black Flag and became their frontman. Ian Mackaye and Jeff Nelson founded Dischord Records, originally to release their own groundbreaking hardcore punk recordings with bands such as Teen Idles and Minor Threat. By the later 1980s, Dischord had maintained its firmly independent ethic even as it became a D.C. institution. Meanwhile, its bands such as Embrace and Rites of Spring had developed beyond the hardcore sound to an emotionally raw and more melodic, but still abrasive music which eventually attracted the tag "emo-core" or "emo," which would widely influence alternative rock music in the 1990s and 2000s. The first wave of D.C. independent musicians gradually moved on to developing post-hardcore styles. Members of different Dischord bands were united in the MacKaye-fronted Fugazi, who existed from the 1980s to early 2000s and became a prototypical independent band in their business model. Musically, the band also marked a new era for the D.C. scene, drawing from a range of sounds from hardcore punk to dub and funk; Fugazi is a D.C. band along with Minor Threat, Bad Brains and Black Flag, although the band, like other Dischord acts, often recorded not in D.C. but in studios in Arlington, in Northern Virginia. Dave Grohl, a Northern Virginia resident who played in local punk bands such as Scream, joined Seattle-based grunge band Nirvana in 1990, a year before their massive commercial breakthrough; after Nirvana's breakup, Grohl, though no longer based in the area, had continued mainstream success with Foo Fighters, who wrote songs about the D.C. and Northern Virginia area. By the 1990s, as alternative rock went mainstream, Dischord bands such as Shudder to Think began to receive mainstream attention and some signed with major labels, though the label (and Fugazi) remained firmly independent and continues to release musicians who are rooted locally. Because of the unique musical heritage of African Americans in D.C., which included more influence from Afro-funk and Caribbean music, D.C.-based hip hop artists often strugged to find success outside the area, though Wale finally reversed this trend somewhat. Go-go, after a number of failed attempts to expand outside the D.C. area, finally experienced brief mainstream success in the early 2000s, when go-go producer Rich Harrison was called to make beats for prominent R&B acts, resulting in crossover Go-go hits such as Beyoncé's "Crazy in Love," a smash featuring a rap from her then-boyfriend and later-husband Jay-Z, and Amerie's "1 Thing." Though originally of Baltimore, Maryland, the indie rock act Animal Collective maintained connections to the D.C. area, naming their breakthrough album after a local live venue.
  • Omaha, Nebraska: Omaha has created an Indie Scene for the past 15 years. Many bands are from the Indie label Saddle Creek Records. Some notable bands include Bright Eyes, Cursive, Neva Dinova, Rilo Kiley, and The Faint. Omaha's success in the Indie music industry has to do with the success that Conor Oberst has had in the mainstream. Conor is also a co-creator of Saddle Creek along with his brother, Justin.
  • Akron, Ohio: Akron folk tend to lean more towards a garage rock scene, primarily influenced by the Black Keys, a blues rock band from Akron, Ohio. Garage rock/blues rock indie bands have been signed to various independent labels in the Highland Square area.



Indierock venues in Vienna include Flex. Acts from Austria: Killed by 9V Batteries.


The indie music scene in Belgium is mainly active in the three biggest cities: Antwerpen, Ghent, and Brussels.




The Hungarian indie scene is mainly active in the capital city, Budapest. In the early 2000s, Hungary's first response to the world's indie revival were Ligeti-led The Puzzle from Kaposvár. In 2006 Amber Smith's RePRINT was released by the German Kalinkaland Records which demonstrated the emergence of the Hungarian indie in Europe. In 2007 The Moog's Sold for Tomorrow reached even bigger succes when their record was released by the American label, MuSick Records, which indicated the first international success. Other indie bands include EZ Basic, The KOLIN, Supersonic, The Poster Boy and Dawnstar. Two of the most important and prolific musicians are Imre Poniklo and György Ligeti.

The Netherlands

The indie music scene in the Netherlands is mainly active in the four biggest cities Amsterdam, The Hague, Rotterdam and Utrecht as well as the northern cities Groningen and Leeuwarden. See Dutch rock#Indie rock for a brief overview of bands, organisations, venues, festivals that create and are connected to the Dutch scene.


There have been indie music coming out of Oslo such as Lukestar. From the city of Haugesund comes Susanne Sundfør and from Tromsø Röyksopp. Also the city of Bergen has markable acts, such as Casiokids, Datarock, Kings of Convenience, Annie and Sondre Lerche.



Some of the indie bands/artists include Family, Los Planetas, Love of Lesbian, Antònia Font, and El Guincho.


A number of Swedish indie musicians have become famous world-side. Most singing in English. The Cardigans gained early success in the mid-1990s. Some notable acts include: The Sounds, Lykke Li, Robyn, The Tallest Man on Earth, The Hives, Eskobar, The Soundtrack of Our Lives, Kent, First Aid Kit, Air France, Jens Lekman, The Knife, Shout Out Louds, The Radio Dept., Fever Ray, The Tough Alliance, and Life on Earth.

United Kingdom

  • The first indie music scene is recognized as having started in the United Kingdom, with the release of the Subway and Glass.[20]
  • The shoegazing scene of the late 1980s was named for band members' tendency to stare at their feet and guitar effects pedals onstage rather than interact with the audience. My Bloody Valentine and others created a loud "wash of sound" that obscured vocals and melodies with long, droning riffs, distortion, and feedback.[21] Within the same decade, labels such as Cheree Records and Ché Trading amalgamated into an entity that the industry now refers to as Rocket Girl, which has since contributed significantly.[22]
  • The end of the 1980s saw the Madchester scene. Based around The Haçienda, a nightclub in Manchester owned by New Order and Factory Records, Madchester bands such as Happy Mondays and The Stone Roses mixed acid house dance rhythms, Northern soul and funk with melodic guitar pop.[23]
  • The Britpop scene developed in the early 1990s as part of a larger British cultural movement called Cool Britannia. In the wake of the musical invasion into the UK of American grunge bands, British bands positioned themselves as an opposing musical force. Influenced by the key British band of the 1980s, The Smiths, and adopting the unashamed commercial approach to which the C86 bands had seemed sometimes ideologically opposed, Britpop acts such as Pulp, Oasis and Blur referenced British guitar music of the past and aimed at writing about British topics and concerns.[24]

South America


From Santiago comes the acts Anita Tijoux, Astro, Javiera Mena, and Gepe.


  1. ^ Kruse, Holly (1993). "Subcultural identity in alternative music culture". Popular Music 12/1: 33-41. 
  2. ^ "The trouble with Sydney". The Age (Melbourne). 16 December 2005. 
  3. ^ "Brisbane indie bands in recording marathon". ABC News. Retrieved 26 October 2014. 
  4. ^ Staff, Bryan & Ashley, Sheran (2002) For the record: A history of the recording industry in New Zealand. Auckland: David Bateman. ISBN 1-86953-508-1. p. 144.
  5. ^ Armstrong, Stephen (11 May 2008). "New Zealand, pop mecca?". London:  
  6. ^ John, Zeiss (11 September 2007). "Earlimart: Steering Silver Lake's ship". Prefix Magazine. Retrieved 22 December 2008. 
  7. ^ Dicks, Brett Leigh (28 September 2006). "The Watson Twins Display their Southern Manners". Faster Louder. Retrieved 22 December 2008. 
  8. ^ The Chicago Independent Radio Project. "CHIRP Radio – From the Chicago Independent Radio Project". Retrieved 26 October 2014. 
  9. ^ "The Noise From Brooklyn". Retrieved 26 October 2014. 
  10. ^ Clark, Taylor (11 September 2007). "Why Portland is America's indie rock Mecca. – By Taylor Clark – Slate Magazine". Retrieved 8 September 2010. 
  11. ^ "Sense Of Place: Discover Portland's Music Scene". 13 March 2012. 
  12. ^ notification edition 2009 on Pitchfork Media
  13. ^
  14. ^ "Interviews". Pitchfork. Retrieved 26 October 2014. 
  15. ^ City Slang, Berlin, Germany. "City Slang Records". City Slang. Retrieved 26 October 2014. 
  16. ^ "OFF FESTIVAL". Retrieved 26 October 2014. 
  17. ^ "Pitchfork Curates a Stage at Primavera Sound Festival!". Pitchfork. Retrieved 26 October 2014. 
  18. ^ N. Hasted (27 October 2006), "How an NME cassette launched indie music",, archived from the original on 27 April 2011 
  19. ^ M. Hann (23 April 2001), "Fey City Rollers",, archived from the original on 27 April 2011 
  20. ^ N. Abebe (24 October 2005), "Twee as Fuck: The Story of Indie Pop", Pitchfork Media, archived from the original on 24 February 2011 
  21. ^ "Shoegaze", Allmusic, archived from the original on 24 February 2011 
  22. ^ Gourlay, Dom. "Surviving the underground: DiS meets Vinita Joshi of Rocket Girl Records". Drowned in Sound. Retrieved 11 September 2012. 
  23. ^ "Madchester", Allmusic, archived from the original on 27 April 2011 
  24. ^ Harris, John. Britpop!: Cool Britannia and the Spectacular Demise of English Rock. Da Capo Press, 2004. Pg. 202. ISBN 0-306-81367-X
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