In the New Yorker, Sasha Frere-Jones wonders why indie rock is so lame and, well, white. A Paler Shade of White: How indie rock lost its soul
In the past few years, I’ve spent too many evenings at indie concerts waiting in vain for vigor, for rhythm, for a musical effect that could justify all the preciousness.
How did rhythm come to be discounted in an art form that was born as a celebration of rhythm’s possibilities? Where is the impulse to reach out to an audience—to entertain? I can imagine James Brown writing dull material. I can even imagine the Meters wearing out their fans by playing a little too long. But I can’t imagine any of these musicians retreating inward and settling for the lassitude and monotony that so many indie acts seem to confuse with authenticity and significance.
Is this a new segregation of music between the black (beats and rhymes) and white (precious and dreary tones)?