Net Nuggets 28: Radio Free Indie, or: How I Learned to Stop Dancing and Love Indie

This toilet guppy has been going through a period of unprecedented, almost insolent optimism and enthusiasm lately. Those of you who
received the annual winter compilation CD will have heard a two-and-a-half-year staring contest with the abyss condensed into one utterly bleak, unlistenable CD (for which I do apologise), vomited out, leaving yours truly purified at last! (I win, Abyss!)

Worry not; like anything else it probably won't last, but the days of this being a downer death trip blog may just be a thing of the past. And as the best music is usually somehow negative (sorrowful, aggressive, perverted, or trying desperately to clamber to the top that is transcendence), that means the future of this blog hangs by a thin thread indeed. There's still music to post before I call it quits, however, and since today is Sunday—that grey day of nothing I used to find so heavy as a child—I'm grabbing the opportunity to share some of the self-indulgent, misery-guts music that's left in the ol' iTunes library…

Indie's a mixed bag. The flashes of brilliance—and they are brilliant—are almost swept away by an insufferable tide of collegiate, sensitive artiste blandness or knowing trendiness. It's enough to make you hate the guitar. And singer-songwriters. And the middle class. And suburbia. And institutions of education. And hipsters (if one didn't already hate them so). And hairdos. It makes you want to do extreme sports, or commit a heinous crime that would make even your own mother spit you in the face.

But it's not all navel gazing mediocrity or overly cerebral, sexless wankery with all the passion of a bong-hugging slacker—although you might be forgiven for thinking so from perusing websites such as Pitchfork (Rolling Stone for the noughties' discerning, computer literate hipster) or Internet radio station Daytrotter. But for every dozen or so Sufjan Stevenses, there's a Devendra Banhart; for every ten Pavements there's a Blonde Redhead, so don't lose heart!

Over at Daytrotter, there are so many sessions by so many artists to download, all for free, that navigating it is an autist's dream come true. Naturally, Toilet Guppies has only listened to a fraction of the sessions, but that doesn't stop me from compiling a best-of primer.

The problem with indie becomes apparent at times during this sampler, but that's due to indie overload more than the quality of the songs, which all bear the Toilet Guppies stamp of approval. And worry not, I've sorted away the trite campfire songs (so that you wouldn't have to—you're welcome). So, rock out to Black Lips, grieve to Spoon, dance to High Places, dream to Elvis Perkins, whistle to Grizzly Bear, and (try not to) weep to Will Oldham. Terrific stuff.

WARNING: You may still want to go listen to something like this afterwards, just to regain your equilibrium, libido, sense of humour and overall lust for life… In the meantime, fold your brittle, little self into a foetal position and indulge:

  1. Jana Hunter: «Pinnacle»
  2. Marissa Nadler: «Salutations in the Dark»
  3. Grizzly Bear: «Shift»
  4. Department Of Eagles: «1997»
  5. Deerhunter: «Heatherwood»
  6. Spoon: «The Ghost of You Lingers»
  7. The Dodos: «Horny Hippies»
  8. The Walkmen: «Yellow Kid»
  9. High Places: «From Stardust to Sentience»
  10. Elvis Perkins: «Good Friday»
  11. The Cave Singers: «Seeds of Night»
  12. Bonnie «Prince» Billy: «The Sun Highlights the Lack in Each»
  13. Rodriguez: «Sugar Man»
  14. Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson: «There Will Be Mud»
  15. Akron/Family: «The Land»
  16. The Entrance Band: «Lookout!»
  17. Black Lips: «Take My Heart»
All tracks are in 128 kbps (Daytrotter download standard). Hundreds, if not thousands more mp3s are freely available over at the gracious Daytrotter site.

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