With one month left to go, looking back one thing is clear: the year 2011 has been a very poor year in indie music. Seriously: while 2010 had lots of musical highlights, from the albums High Violet by The National and Before Today by Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti to The Suburbs by Arcade Fire, and from all kinds of energetic electronic-indie and synth acts like Crystal Castles, Delorean, Phoenix and Two Door Cinema Club, to chillwave (which was okay for a while, with Neon Indian, Teen Daze, Luftwaffe), the past year I’ve heard almost nothing that blew my mind like those acts did.
This can mean two things: either the indie/hipster scene in 2011 is really in its dying phase, and depraved of originality – I really can’t stand every next Brooklyn retro-1980s synth-pop outfit with a “vintage” video clip; or I have heard it all and am getting old. Even the acts that are supposed to be at the top of today’s scene, like The Naked and Famous, M83 and the likes, to me in all honesty really sound like poppy rip-offs of stuff that used to be better and more original.
Last year, I had trouble putting together a ‘best of 2010′ list, because the supply was so big. In 2011, I’ll be having trouble filling it because almost nothing really cool or original came out. The one highlight I can think of is Cut Copy’s Zonoscope, and even that wasn’t exactly a game-changer.
I wonder what the next decade hype will be, actually: since every 1980s niche has by now been plundered, my bet is on either retro-1970s or retro-1990s music and trends. We’ll probably never see something new anymore.
But okay. Here’s a new 2k11 track that I actually do like. Yes, it’s synth once again… but this harks back to those early-1980s post-punk bands with an expansive sound, like Siouxsie and the Banshees and early U2, which is a niche that hasn’t been recycled that much yet. If you’re a sucker for “big” sounds, like I am, listen to this: