when i was in portland shooting video i had a big debate w/ my best friend from college (when i went to reed college) about how around 1996 it became formulaic on how to make a cmj/pitchfork writer soil themselves with a new indie record.
he didn't buy my overall argument but wholly agreed with a few points that i made, especially one about how a well-reviewed indie record can't rock. he stated that indie bands have tried for years to get rid of the rock from that style of music (i don't see how this is a good thing and i called out for some indie butt rock). i realized the other day while having a similar discussion that rockless indie rock would probably be better off with the label "un-rock." further discussion revealed un-rock + indie rock = undie rock
oddly enough, i've come to realize that there is about a 10-12 year lag on indie rock appreciation by critics. albums that i said "wow, this is a landmark indie record" back in the day generally got awful reviews, but now in hindsight, critics are looking back and now saying "wow, that was a landmark indie record."
i believe in 10 years people will look back at this era of undie rock and go "wow, all this stuff that got great reviews sucked and we really f'd things up by destroying bands that made good independent rock records." i blame radiohead.
i guess all this just further jades the indie rock snob in my heart.
on a side note, wtf is up with remastering old indie records. it ruins the experience and rivals the genius of "neck belts" (from the onion).