Entertainment Weekly Drops Its “Indie Rock 25″


Why do we love indie rock? Because it shuns everything that is prefab, safe, typical. It’s about freedom, expression, passion — no rules, man! But in order to narrow down hundreds of hours of incredible musical output from the last two and a half decades, we had to apply some … well, rules: 1. Only one album may represent each year (hence the inclusion, in some cases, of too-hard-to-dismiss runners-up, and a number of difficult compromises we had to make). 2. All the bands had to have been signed to an independent label for the given album (ergo, the absence of Nirvana and the Flaming Lips, whose true genius didn’t manifest itself until they graduated to the big leagues, but the inclusion of My Bloody Valentine and the Pixies, who originally signed to small labels in the U.K.). 3. The term ”band” must be taken literally (thus eliminating otherwise unimpeachable artists like Elliott Smith, Sufjan Stevens, and Cat Power).

Let’s start with the past and move inexorably the present:

1984: The Replacements – Let It Be
1985: The Smiths – Meat Is Murder
1986: R.E.M. – Life’s Rich Pageant
1987: Dinosaur Jr. – You’re Living All Over Me
1988: Sonic Youth – Daydream Nation
1989: The Pixies – Doolittle

1990: Fugazi – Repeater
1991: My Bloody Valentine – Loveless
1992: Pavement – Slanted and Enchanted
1993: Built To Spill – Ultimate Alternative Wavers
1994: Guided By Voices – Bee Thousand
1995: Archers Of Loaf – Vee Vee
1996: Belle And Sebastian – If You’re Feeling Sinister
1997: Modest Mouse – Lonesome Crowded West
1998: Neutral Milk Hotel – In the Aeroplane Over the Sea
1999: Sleater-Kinney – The Hot Rock
2000: Yo La Tengo – And then Nothing Turned Itself Inside Out
2001: The Shins – Oh, Inverted World
2002: Interpol – Turn on the Bright Lights
2003: The White Stripes – Elephant
2004: Arcade Fire- Funeral
2005: Bright Eyes – I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning
2006: The Hold Steady – Boys and Girls in America
2007: Spoon – Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
2008: Radiohead – In Rainbows

Did you guess correctly? One that surprised us was Archers. Great album, but somehow we didn’t expect to see Vee Vee. Then, there are others you can’t argue with — Slanted, Loveless, etc. Bright Eyes in ’05? That seems questionable … or at least open to debate. Radiohead could open a can of worms, too. If you go to EW, they have explanations and sound samples for each.