When my children hear the phrase “guitar hero” they’ll think of a farcical karaoke-based video game, not the soul-bending power of a Jimi Hendrix. Or worse yet, they’ll hold up a nouveau-styled Jimi who apes his inventive style. This isn’t to say that nothing original at all is occurring in indie rock—at certain corners and edges the creative life-force is bleeding through the seams of some heart, even as I write this. But these endeavors feel, sadly, to be fewer and farther between.
There’s simply too many things on the side of music, MUSIC, to be swept down into the same Charybdis whirlpool of the copy-cat syndrome. Copying tried and true success isn’t success—it’s regurgitation. Re-creation isn’t a step forward, it’s actually in a multitude of ways, a step backwards. I only employ such harsh terminology because bands like Foxygen are the ones that should be leading indie rock toward some future sound. They are talented and charismatic enough to search out the next wave, to push open the double doors of the 2000s and throw off the encloaking of retro-mania that has smothered the impulse to create within an entirely new crop of human souls.
Allen Ginsberg once wrote, “I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness” but I see my peers and the artists of my era destroyed be their own inability to unshackle themselves from that glorified, arbitrarily chosen window of time that Ginsberg lived in. I don���t want to listen to a new pair of great musicians who sound like The Velvet Underground. I don’t even want to listen to “My Generation’s Velvet Underground.” Instead, I’d be delighted to hear a band compelling and inventive enough to wash away these cultural markers and establish new buoys in the sea of music—new counterpoints to call upon. A record, a sound, a creative act that is irreplaceably new, irreplaceably now. An artistic declaration that leaves behind comparisons and influence for the embrace of supernatural creation—an unavoidable, unmissable body of work that draws new chairs to the table—that speaks with voices as yet unimagined.
Where are the stories of life in 2013? Are the tales we tell only copies of the past? Are we doomed to churn out the same piece of newsprint unrelentingly stuck on the same day’s issue, even years, even decades after the original publication date? A blog constantly refreshed only to find it contains the same content merely book-ended by different ads or draped in different clothes? This is essentially what indie rock has become, and largely, in my opinion, why those same complaints are being filed about the media that covers it.
Give us a monster, 2013. Give us an alien. Give us art that disrupts, that feels the way a Pollock splatter felt against formalism, art that is a free-verse on a bookshelf stacked with iambic pentameter. Please don’t give me Foxygen and call it a new band, even as my nostalgic-trending heart likes the sounds of their tie to my childhood. But I am not a child anymore and neither are Foxygen, really. Why stay stuck there? Give me a noise as yet unheard. I think if you tried to, you could.