Indie music scene

An independent music scene is a localized independent music-oriented (or, more specifically, indie rock/indie pop-oriented) community of bands and their audiences. Local scenes can play a key role in musical history and lead to the development of influential genres; for example, No Wave from New York City, Madchester from Manchester, and Grunge from Seattle.

Indie scenes are often created as a response to mainstream or popular music. These scenes are created in opposition of mainstream culture and music and often contribute to the formation of oppositional identities among individuals involved in the scene.[1]


Notable scenes



The Japanese indie music scene began gaining mainstream success in the late 1990s with the so-called "indie boom".[2] Musicians involved with this scene, referred to as "individual producer-composers", included Haruomi Hosono, Komoya Tesuya, Oyamada Keigo (also known as Cornelius), and Oda Tetsuro. Cornelius pioneered an indie music movement called Shibuya-kei and released songs that gained international success such as the Pizzicato Five.[3] Supercar's debut album Three Out Change from 1998[4] has been described as having "almost foundational importance to 21st century Japanese indie rock".[5]

A Japanese protectionist licensing policy prevents indie music from being sold via major media distribution networks.[6] Indie records are only sold in small retail stores that import foreign records – , which are not part of the industrial channels. This relegates the Japanese indie music into the context of a global scene.[7]

Current Japanese indie bands include the pillows, Asian Kung–Fu Generation, ogre you asshole, Straightener, Sakanaction, Acidman, fujifabric, and Beat Crusaders.

South Korea

The indie scene in South Korea is sometimes referred to as "K-Indie", a neologism derived from K-pop. The centre of the Korean indie scene is the Hongdae area, where indie acoustic, rock, house, electro and underground hip-hop artists are listened to by young listeners. Sound Day is held in Hongdae on the second Friday of every month, a festive day dedicated to the indie scene with discounted entry to indie shows and access to various stages throughout the day. Korean indie has gained some international exposure via YouTube. Bands/artists include The RockTigers, 10cm, Yozo, and Jang Jae-in.



New Zealand

North America


United States



The Hungarian indie scene is mainly active in the capital city, Budapest. In the early 2000s, Hungary's indie revival included Ligeti-led The Puzzle from Kaposvár. In 2006 Amber Smith's album RePRINT was released by the German label Kalinkaland Records. In 2007 The Moog's Sold for Tomorrow was released by the US label MuSick Records. Other indie bands include EZ Basic, The KOLIN, Supersonic, The Poster Boy and Dawnstar. Two of the most important and prolific musicians are Imre Poniklo and György Ligeti.


A number of Swedish indie musicians have become famous internationally, mostly singing in English. The Cardigans gained early success in the mid-1990s. Some notable acts include: The Sounds, Lykke Li, Robyn, The Tallest Man on Earth, The Hives, Eskobar, The Soundtrack of Our Lives, Kent, First Aid Kit, Air France, Jens Lekman, The Knife, Shout Out Louds, The Radio Dept., Fever Ray, The Tough Alliance, and Life on Earth.

United Kingdom

  • One of the first scenes recognised as being associated with the term 'indie music' rather than post-punk, new wave or new music[26] was C86, named after the release of the C86 cassette, a 1986 NME compilation featuring Primal Scream and other bands.[27] The significance of C86 is recognized in the subtitle of its 2006 extended reissue: CD86: 48 Tracks from the Birth of Indie Pop. C86 was a document of the UK indie scene at the start of 1986, and it gave its name to the indie pop scene that followed, which was a major influence on the development of indie music as a whole.[28] Significant record labels included Creation, Subway and Glass.[29]
  • The shoegazing scene of the late 1980s was named for band members' tendency to stare at their feet and guitar effects pedals onstage rather than interact with the audience. My Bloody Valentine and others created a loud "wash of sound" that obscured vocals and melodies with long, droning riffs, distortion, and feedback.[30] Within the same decade, labels such as Cheree Records and Ché Trading amalgamated into an entity that the industry now refers to as Rocket Girl, which has since contributed significantly.[31]
  • The end of the 1980s saw the Madchester scene. Based around The Haçienda, a nightclub in Manchester owned by New Order and Factory Records, Madchester bands such as Happy Mondays and The Stone Roses mixed acid house dance rhythms, Northern soul and funk with melodic guitar pop.[32]
  • The Britpop scene developed in the early 1990s as part of a larger British cultural movement called Cool Britannia. In the wake of the musical invasion into the UK of American grunge bands, British bands positioned themselves as an opposing musical force. Influenced by the key British band of the 1980s, The Smiths, and adopting the unashamed commercial approach to which the C86 bands had seemed sometimes ideologically opposed, Britpop acts such as Oasis, Blur, Suede and Pulp referenced British guitar music of the past and aimed at writing about British topics and concerns.[33] Commentary on Britpop noted a north/south divide, with The Good Mixer pub in Camden Town strongly identified with the Britpop scene in the south, though Oasis were signed to Creation Records in nearby Primrose Hill.[34]
  • Trip Hop is a genre of electronic music that originated in the early 1990s in Bristol. The most notable artists are Massive Attack, Tricky and Portishead.
  • Thamesbeat,[35][36] was an early 2000s scene based around Eel Pie Island in London featuring acts like Jamie T,[37] Larrikin Love and Mystery Jets.
  • In Liverpool, a 'Cosmic Scouse' scene (sometimes referred to as 'Scallydelica'[38][39][40]) developed in the 2000s with neo-psychedelia acts like The Coral,[41][42] record labels like Deltasonic and Skeleton Key [43] and events like the annual Liverpool International Festival of Psychedelia (also known as PZYK).[44][45][46] Sometimes the scene would be expanded to include acts such as The Bees and The Earlies under the 'Shroomadelica' definition[36]


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  3. ^ Stevens, Carolyn (2008). Japanese Popular Music: Culture, Authenticity, and Power. London: Routledge. p. 89. ISBN 9780415380577.
  4. ^ Martin, Ian (4 October 2017), "Supercar's 'Three Out Change!!' may be the most stunning debut in Japanese rock history" , The Japan Times
  5. ^ Martin, Ian (17 May 2019), "Supercar's Futurama" , Metropolis
  6. ^ Novak, David (2013). Japanoise: Music at the Edge of Circulation. Mountain View, CA: Duke University Press. p. 131. ISBN 9780822353928.
  7. ^ Novak, p. 131.
  8. ^ "Bones Hillman's bass was exemplary but his vocals were intrinsic to Midnight Oil's sound" . The Guardian. 9 November 2020.
  9. ^ "Zwines and The Idle Idols - The Fiona Clark images - AudioCulture" .
  10. ^ "AK79 - Short Haired Rock'n'Roll in the Queen City - AudioCulture" .
  11. ^ "Punk it Up: A gathering of Kiwi punk clans" . Stuff. 9 March 2019.
  12. ^ "I WAS A RABBIT: Photography of Zwines & the Auckland punk scene, AK 78/79" . Elsewhere by Graham Reid.
  13. ^ Staff, Bryan & Ashley, Sheran (2002) For the record: A history of the recording industry in New Zealand. Auckland: David Bateman. ISBN 1-86953-508-1. p. 144.
  14. ^ John, Zeiss (11 September 2007). "Earlimart: Steering Silver Lake's ship" . Prefix Magazine. Retrieved 22 December 2008.
  15. ^ Dicks, Brett Leigh (28 September 2006). "The Watson Twins Display their Southern Manners" . Faster Louder. Archived from the original on 26 October 2014. Retrieved 22 December 2008.
  16. ^ The Chicago Independent Radio Project. "CHIRP Radio – From the Chicago Independent Radio Project" . Retrieved 26 October 2014.
  17. ^ "The Noise From Brooklyn" . Retrieved 26 October 2014.
  18. ^ "Hippo Campus" . First Avenue. Retrieved 16 December 2018.
  19. ^ Clark, Taylor (11 September 2007). "Why Portland is America's indie rock Mecca. – By Taylor Clark – Slate Magazine" . Retrieved 8 September 2010.
  20. ^ "Discover Portland's Music Scene : World Cafe" . NPR. 13 March 2012. Retrieved 9 September 2016.
  21. ^ Tom Breihan (14 October 2009). "News in Brief: Local Community Radio Act, Systems Officer, Arrington de Dionyso, SOY Festival" . Pitchfork. Retrieved 9 September 2016.
  22. ^ "Archived copy" . Archived from the original on 12 September 2009. Retrieved 2009-12-11.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  23. ^ "Interviews" . Pitchfork. Retrieved 26 October 2014.
  24. ^ City Slang, Berlin, Germany. "City Slang Records" . City Slang. Retrieved 26 October 2014.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  25. ^ "Pitchfork Curates a Stage at Primavera Sound Festival!" . Pitchfork. Retrieved 26 October 2014.
  26. ^ "Archived copy" . Archived from the original on 3 May 2008. Retrieved 9 December 2020.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  27. ^ N. Hasted (27 October 2006), "How an NME cassette launched indie music" ,, archived from the original on 29 April 2011
  28. ^ M. Hann (23 April 2001), "Fey City Rollers" ,, archived from the original on 29 April 2011
  29. ^ N. Abebe (24 October 2005), "Twee as Fuck: The Story of Indie Pop" , Pitchfork Media, archived from the original on 24 February 2011
  30. ^ "Shoegaze" , Allmusic, archived from the original on 24 February 2011
  31. ^ Gourlay, Dom. "Surviving the underground: DiS meets Vinita Joshi of Rocket Girl Records" . Drowned in Sound. Archived from the original on 3 September 2012. Retrieved 11 September 2012.
  32. ^ "Madchester" , Allmusic, archived from the original on 29 April 2011
  33. ^ Harris, John. Britpop!: Cool Britannia and the Spectacular Demise of English Rock. Da Capo Press, 2004. Pg. 202. ISBN 0-306-81367-X
  34. ^ Orrell, Harriet (29 April 2014). "Don't look back: 10 moments in Camden's Britpop history" . Hampstead Highgate Express.
  35. ^ "Meet The Inhabitants Of Eel Pie Island" . Londonist. 28 July 2017.
  36. ^ a b "Eight Terms You'll Know If You Read NME In The Noughties" . 5 September 2016.
  37. ^ "Looking back on Jamie T's 'Panic Prevention' | Features" .
  38. ^ "Cosmic Scousers: A Mind Map of Liverpool's Psychedelic connections - Ilid Williams - Graphic Design" .
  39. ^ "Howie Payne on The Stands, the cosmic Scouse legacy and how Spotify is helping the music well of knowledge" . 14 September 2017.
  40. ^ "Cosmic Scousers" . Issuu.
  41. ^ News, Manchester Evening (17 February 2007). "The Coral - The Coral (Deltasonic/Sony)" . Manchester Evening News.
  42. ^ "The Coral : Nightfreaks And The Sons Of Becker" . 12 September 2005.
  43. ^ "Cult Liverpool acts join forces for tour that starts in Leeds" .
  44. ^ "Liverpool Psych Fest Tour Dates & Tickets" .
  45. ^ Brobby, Melissa (13 March 2017). "May events: Open your mind at the International Festival of Psychedelia" . VisitEngland.
  46. ^ "Liverpool Psych Fest | Liverpool International Festival Of Psychedelia" .


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