Nada Mucho

Indie Rock 101: The Nada Mucho Guide to Purchasing Independent Rock

Posted by July 3rd, 2003 No Comments »

The bestest magazine ever and stuff.By Brendan O’Brien

Some of us here at Nada Mucho have been accused of being indie-rock snobs. While we firmly deny such accusations, we do tend to like music that you won’t hear on your local alternative radio station or in MTV’s heavy rotation. Immediately you’re thinking, “If these acts aren’t played on the radio or MTV how do I know which ones to buy? How can I be as cool as you guys?” Not to fret little pumpkins. We’re here to help. To guide you in your quest for better music, we proudly present:

Indie Rock 101: The Nada Mucho Guide to Purchasing Independent Music
1. Read your local music press religiously. Here in Seattle we have the Rocket and the Stranger. Within both of these fine publications you can find disc reviews, concert reviews, and numerous other articles on music. Most major cities have similar publications.

The bestest magazine ever and stuff.By Brendan O’Brien

Some of us here at Nada Mucho have been accused of being indie-rock snobs. While we firmly deny such accusations, we do tend to like music that you won’t hear on your local alternative radio station or in MTV’s heavy rotation. Immediately you’re thinking, “If these acts aren’t played on the radio or MTV how do I know which ones to buy? How can I be as cool as you guys?” Not to fret little pumpkins. We’re here to help. To guide you in your quest for better music, we proudly present:
The Nada Mucho guide to purchasing independent rock

1. Read your local music press religiously. Here in Seattle we have the Rocket and the Stranger. Within both of these fine publications you can find disc reviews, concert reviews, and numerous other articles on music. Most major cities have similar publications.

2. Use the internet. There are oodles of sites that discuss independent music and/or offer MP3 files you can listen to. Start with Liquid Audio and 818 Music. Most labels also have their own sites now.
Find record labels that carry a band you like. We like K Records out of Olympia, Up Records out of Seattle, and New York’s Matador Records. Unlike the major labels, most smaller companies stick to a particular sound since they don’t have a large stable of bands to draw from. If you find a band you like, chances are you will like many of the other groups on that band’s label.

3. Read interviews with your favorite artists and see what they like. For instance, if we hear Greg Dulli of the Afghan Whigs really likes a certain group, chances are we will too.

4. Don’t be afraid to waste $15 dollars on a new album. If something looks or sounds intriguing, buy it. You won’t be delighted every time, but taking that chance is sometimes rewarding, and it’s always exciting.

5. Shell out the cash for a turntable. Most Americans think vinyl is a dead art, and as such have traded in their LP collection for “technologically superior” (and infinitely less satisfying) CDs. You would be surprised at what great stuff you can find on vinyl, even in the bargain bin at 2nd Time Around and the like. And used LPs are always cheaper than used CDs. So stop drinking beer for a week and scrounge up $100 for an older belt-driven turntable and a decent phono cartridge – a whole new world of music will be yours.

6. Stop being such a jerk and admit that a lot of great music was created before 1978. There’s a reason the Pixies covered the Beatles, that most critics say the Wedding Present reminds them of the Velvet Underground, and that modern pop bands love Cheap Trick. If your parents weren’t total dorks, you can probably appropriate a lot of cool stuff from those boxes in your very own basement, and what doesn’t lie packed away in the dark recesses of your house can be had for a song at your local used LP/CD emporium.

8. Frequent a large variety of used record stores. If you’ve heard about a band you think you may like, its a lot easier to plunk down $9 at Golden Oldies than it is to spend $18 at Tower.

9. Go to as many live shows as you can. Local club shows tend to showcase area talent, and most of the time you can see them for under $10. Make sure you get there for the opening acts, as it’s a great way to catch bands before they get famous.
Trade tapes with friends. Unless your friends are a bunch of good-for-nothing lackeys, they probably like music too, and they are likely to buy things you wouldn’t. Use that resource.

10. Pay attention to “side projects.” Groups often splinter, fragment, and co-opt. Pay attention when artists you like start side projects. For instance, fans of the Treepeople will most likely enjoy Doug Martsch’s next band Built to Spill; fans of Sleater-Kinney will want to check out Quasi, Cadallaca, and the Spells. And if your name is Nada Mucho Columnist Sean Oliver, you’re youthful obsession with Dinosaur Jr. will lead you to artistic gems like Gobblehoof.

11. Read Nada Mucho like a bible. If you can’t think for yourself, we’ll tell you what to like. A simple rule is “If the guys at Nada Mucho like it, it must be good.”

12. Follow this guide carefully, and your newfound musical knowledge will make you more attractive to the opposite sex, impress your friends and families, and give you something to talk about in awkward social situations. You’re welcome.


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