(It's hard for me to admit that anyone is good lyrically, since I'm a huge Dylan fan and no one comes close.)
yah, jacob dylan is very talented (yes, this is sarcasm)
I haven't had a chance to listen to nova mob and I was definitly not a DK fan they were to popular around were I grew up for me to like them.
i never listed dk. hehe. dead milkmen were fun. king missle got really old, really fast.
keep in mind i do give you props. most people seem to forget uncle tupelo ever existed.
I always liked Pavement, but never really got into them. I got into the scene after it was already quite established (I am only 28 ). I will have to go back and listen to some of these bands you are talking about.
i am also 28... but i'll put it this way, i was buyin mudhoney 7" when i was 12. the thing that people never got about my musical tastes in high school was that by the time a lot of bands got mad big, to me, they were already played out. i still have some original ministry 12" from the late 80's when i went through my industrial phase (by the time NIN got big, i was already sick of them). yah, i was badazz at 12.
pavement's slanted & enchanted was one of my first hard to find (at the time) "indie rock" records. picked that up at 14 in mid 1993. loretta's scars, summer babe, conduit for sale, trigger cut, etc... all classics. silence kit and cut your hair... amazing songs. imo, they got weaker as the "matured" but it to this day still bums me out that i can't make my voice sound anything like malkmus.
i'm not going to tell you to buy any of the early/mid 90's indie stuff as it's quite dated... and just isn't as impressive nowadays. if i had to dig up essentials...
my top 20 indie albums 1990-1996 (in any order):
1. sebadoh - bakesale (94)
2. superchunk - foolish (94)
3. archers of loaf - icky mettle (94)
4. sunny day real estate - diary (94)
5. built to spill - there's nothing wrong with love (94)
6. hum - you'd prefer an astronaut (94)
7. pavement - slanted & enchanted (93)
8. liz phair - exile in guyville (93)
9. polvo - today's active lifestyles (93)
10. rodan - rusty (94)
11. june of '44 - tropics and meridians (96)
12. unrest - perfect teeth (93)
13. crain - speed (92)
14. thirty ought six - hagseed (95)
15. velocity girl - simpatico (94)
16. don caballero - 2 (95)
17. craw - lost nation road (94)
18. american music club - everclear (91)
19. tullycraft - old traditions, new standards (96)
20a. fugazi - repeater (90, if you consider them indie rock)
20b. spent - songs of drinking and rebellion (95, if you don't consider fugazi indie rock, although i must admit i only really liked one song on this album, but it's sooooo good)
it's a shame that bands like kerosene 454, the party of helicopters, and cars get crushed will always be overlooked since they weren't trying to sound like radiohead. at least they didn't pull a cave-in and lose all of the fans they did have.
I think that the UK's indy movement was parallel to ours here. You talk about the rock washing out of indy rock, and I don't think that happened here like it did in the UK, but once those bands came ashore here, they brought it in and it was a more subdued sound that really clashed with the angst of the American scene. While American indy bands were mostly still angry, the British had moved on to despair. Despair is more comfortable, I guess.
i dunno if i agree with this. britain grew out of their angst era ~1984. the US had it hit in 91 w/ nirvana, pearl jam, etc. smashing pumpkins contributed to the trend until billy corgan became the biggest lame-azz poseur on the planet.
despair set into the indie scene ~1986 w/ embrace, rites of spring, one last wish, etc. w/ the creation of emo-core. emo evolved in the late 80's into the second generation bands of the early 90's. when malkmus was singin about having so much style that it's wasted, bands like chino horde, current, anasarca, indian summer, evergreen, still life, frail, groundwork, absinthe, sleepytime trio, falling forward, endpoint, etc. were carrying despair in an off-shoot of the hardcore scene, but it was not in a form palatable to the general public (screamed vocals) and it was limited to the hardcore scene.
history gets hazy on that side of the fence for the next few years... but that's the transition era between gen 2 and 3. sidekick kato, gauge, friction, amber inn, sky corvair, and probably the pivotal band of that era... cap'n jazz, whose demise somewhat launched generation 3, and the big split.
split 1a: first pop emo-core. promise ring, mineral, jimmy eat world, christie front drive, braid, giants chair, boys life, texas is the reason, sense field, joan of arc, etc. this drew in many many fans of hum and sunny day that were bored shizless by the lack of quality indie rock records post-96 that weren't in some obvious subgenre (math rock grew, june of 44 got crappy, etc.). some bands that followed this initial wave were rainer maria, jazz june, cursive, hot water music, american football, the appleseed cast, etc.
split 1b: a return to heavy. closure, saetia, still life (they got back together), to dream of autumn, grade, you and i, boysetsfire, portrait, joshua fit for battle, etc. this stuff differs sooooo much from the contemporary hardcore of the time (converge, botch, snapcase, etc.). imo, the most heartfelt, genuine despair lyrics are found in these bands.
split 1c: so pretty it hurts. acoustic wuss emo. sadly, it is bands like jimmy eat world (i always thought they sucked) and the get up kids (who in '96 were the 7th largest emo/hardcore act in kansas city) that are responsible for hot topic mall emo (aka generation 4 of emo) and not acoustic wuss emo. imo, owen is probably the best version of this style that still exists but kind of like spitting, jeff london, superstitions of the sky, etc. also fall into this genre. very secretary is probably the earliest form of this genre that i can trace, but they were always mis-grouped into the indie scene because they were from champaign/urbana... and that scene didn't look too favorably on them.
the evolutionary process.
evo 1a: braid broke up. mineral broke up. boys life broke up. cfd broke up. titr broke up. giants chair broke up. basically, everyone from early gen 3 with a following broke up with the exceptions of jimmy eat world and the get up kids. this opened the floodgates to shiz.
evo 1b: another split here. there was a vain that spawned some very cool hybrid bands (screamed vocals, melodic and sometimes chaotic instrumental)... under a dying sun, hot cross, off minor, the assitant, forstella ford, etc. they were followed up by other even more out there hybrids like bright calm blue, a trillion barnacle lapse, city of caterpillar, etc. if any of these bands heard they were called emo, they'd probably be pretty pissed even though i'm referring to it in a good way (i long for their sounds to flow throughout the airways). split 2... oh god... i blame this existence on boysetsfire... i have now coined this genre "chemo" = cheese mosh metal + wuss emo. alexisonfire or thursday are probably the biggest acts in this style. if anyone saw mis-one.com's "this is you" video, it is this split that made the world suck to go to shows. that video still makes me shoot beverage out my nose, and i have yet to find a "death before dying on a twisted river that's bleeding" album.
evo 1c: not much to say about this. it hasn't really evolved. luckily, dashboard confessional got a full band so it can no longer be classified as this genre to make it wreak of suck (i didn't mind them as a whiny "i miss my girlfriend" solo-acoustic act, but when you put a band behind the exact same songs... it just wreaks of suck).
i guess the problem i always had with english despair is that it's about stuff that if you really sat down and dealt with it, you'd probably find some way of feeling at least functionally okay about it. eventually, it ends up seeming like lou barlow singing about a relationship that ended 10 years ago... or bob mould's 19384902830948329042830423 song that is titled "i can't believe this is happening and it makes me sad"
bands like saetia and still life always had lyrics that could make me genuinely upset (or give me genuine comfort) depending upon what was going on in my life.
if you go beyond the stereotyped not-so-indie-not-so-rock indie rock scene nowadays, there's a lot of cool stuff going on (or at least went on if the bands already broke up) that's an evolution upon some of the best stuff from the 90's. in the instrumental math rock scene, ent, hella, pele, dianogah, to name a few. in the indie-that-actually-rocks-rock version of things... the north atlantic put out one of the best albums in years... many bands wreak of potential as well, a day in black & white, 31 knots, the medications, the icarus line (about 50% of the time), and hell, even pretty girls make graves got decent.
the downside of all this is that many of these records are going out of print... and were small runs to begin with (5000 or less) meaning they will fade away without much notice, and always from bands that were under-appreciated in their day.