Thursday, April 15, 2010

indie rock, etc

When people ask me what kind of music I listen to, I tend to answer "indie rock." This is a simplistic answer, but saying "eclectic" is pretty lame, even if that does sum up my listening habits. Still, indie is a decent catchall that happens to include two rock 'n' roll bands, The Hold Steady and Titus Andronicus, that in a different era may have been known as pub rock, or punk rock, or just rock.

But let's step back a bit. I do not like Bruce Springsteen. I think his lyrics are trite, his sound is calcified, and three hour sets are not really a good thing (note to Wilco: while you can play 40 songs a night, but these days less than half will be songs that I want to actually hear). Yet Bruce is for better or worse, a big influence on these bands in that Hold Steady and Titus are the modern heirs to the bar band tradition. Craig Finn and Patrick Stickles, the leaders of each band are both relatively poor singers in the traditional sense, but absolutely fabulous lead singers, which is a very different thing (i.e. Iggy Pop = history's greatest lead singer). Both men are well read and clever lyricists, which all sounds very stodgy, and yet both bands translated lyric-heavy albums into cathartic live shows that anyone can enjoy without being able to cross reference every mention of clever kids or hoodrats.

All of this is to say that these are two rock bands, who exist because of Bruce, punk rock and Pitchfork. And because of the ever shrinking window of rock that makes it on radio stations, they are "indie rock" bands. Plus, if you want to catch a great rock 'r' roll show, go see Titus Andronicus for just $8 @ St Steven's Church in Columbia Heights on Friday.


Stephen said...

I like Craig Finn's voice a lot. Patrick Stickles isn't my cup of tea, which is probably because of production more than anything else, but I have to call it like I hear it.

Also, "eclectic" is better than "anything good" in my book.

Adam Z. Winer said...

Love titus!