If you want to understand white people, you need to understand indie music. As mentioned before, white people hate anything that’s “mainstream” and are desperate to find things that are more genuine, unique, and reflective of their experiences.
Fortunately, they have independent music.
A white person’s iPod (formerly CD collection) is not merely an assemblage of music that they enjoy. It is what defines them as a person. They are always on the look out for the latest hot band that no one has heard of so that one day, they can hit it just right and be into a band BEFORE they are featured in an Apple commercial. To a white person, being a fan of a band before they get popular is one of the most important things they can do with their life. They can hold it over their friends forever!
Indie music also produces a lot of concerts, for which white people can attend and meet other white people. It’s especially useful, since they are attending the same concert, they both like the artist and can easily strike up a conversation that will flow from band at the show->other bands they like->where they went to/go to school->where to get the best vegan food in town->agreement to meet at said restaurant for awkward date.
It is worth noting that white people are expected to stay current with music and go to concerts well into their 40s. Unlike at dance or hip hop clubs, there are few stigmas attached to being the “old guy at the club.”
But BE WARNED, talking about Indie Music with white people is perhaps the most dangerous subject you touch upon. One false move and you will lose their respect and admiration forever. Here are some general rules
- Bands that have had their songs in an Apple ad are still marginally acceptable
- Bands that have had their songs in ads for other companies are not acceptable
- If you mention a band you like and the other person has heard of them, you lose. They own you. It is essential that you like the most obscure music possible.
Remember, popular artists can turn unpopular in a heartbeat (Ryan Adams, Bright Eyes, The Strokes), so you would be best to stick to the following statements: “I love the Arcade Fire,” “I still think the Montreal scene is the best in the world,” “I would die without Stereogum or Fluxblog“* and “Joanna Newsom is maybe the most original artist today.”
*-do not substitute Stereogum for Pitchfork, as this is one of those things that used to be cool, but is now not cool.
Image: Spaceland in Silverlake.