[Hype Hype Hooray] Please Allow Me to Ramble About Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist

Every [two weeks?] Jamie Hale takes a long, hard look at the music industry and the blog scene that feeds it. Here, he releases those findings and makes snarky, sarcastic remarks. Admittedly, both Jamie and Knox Road are a part of this scene. So sue us.

I forgot this week was my week to write Hype Hype Hooray, so instead of a well thought-out piece on the state of the music industry and how it somehow relates to my childhood (really pigeon-holed myself, huh?), I’m just going to ramble about 2008 and Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist for a bit. If that’s ok with you all. If not, you don’t have to read it, I guess, but I would really like it if you did!

Remember 2008? I remember it well as it was the year I got heavily into the indie scene. I listened to bands like Tokyo Police Club, Team B, Army Navy and the like. I thought there was some pretty good stuff out there! But when everybody came out with their year-end lists, I was apparently wrong (quick side note: check out Knox Road’s awkward year-end list for 2008). Apparently it was an awful year for music!

It was also, however, the year that mainstream cinema decided to try and document and market the indie scene with Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist. In fact 2008 was probably the only year they could have done it. The sound in a lot of the bands prominent in the year happened to be pretty marketable. It wasn’t the weirdo dramatic Antlers sound or the idiot, tongue out lo-fi rock of Wavves. It was the pop, dramatic, heartache, party, we’re all in hoodies and big sunglasses brand of indie that dominated Urban Outfitters and college campuses that year.

And hey! What happened to the bands on the infamous soundtrack to Nick & Norah? Let’s find out! (Note: my version of the album has some more songs on it, but I’m going with the shorter, Wikipedia version.)

Chris Bell: Well, died in 1978
Devendra Banhart: Inconsistent since. No real wave-making records.
Bishop Allen: Grrr… was alright, but does anybody listen to Bishop Allen anymore?
Vampire Weekend: Always kind of done their own thing.
The Dead 60s: Broke up earlier in 2008.
Takka Takka: Haven’t made a record since 2008.
The Submarines: Have had trouble distancing themselves from that iTunes ad. Bummer.
We Are Scientists: Remember Barbara? Yikes.
Band of Horses: Kind of been “meh” as of late. It’s kind of really a shame.
Army Navy: An album coming out this summer! The jury’s still out.
Richard Hawley: Still making quality music, I guess? I don’t really know.
Shout Out Louds: Became mediocre. Comeback possible.
Paul Tiernan: Still recording. Selling albums on CD Baby.
The Real Wednesday Weld: Now appearing in Chevrolet ads!
Mark Mothersbaugh: Still awesome, of course.

I don’t know, in retrospect it’s pretty unfair to judge these people only three years after the fact. I guess I’ll try to sum this all up in some sort of point so you don’t feel like I wasted your time (I hope you don’t think that!).

This movie and subsequent soundtrack was supposed to be the mainstream big wigs really nailing down the indie scene (or letting somebody with some semblance of an idea about it do the work for them). Instead they nailed down a big part of one year of it. The indie scene is an ever-changing beast and few bands survive years and years of it. It’s hard to evolve from a certain sound, especially if that sound becomes voraciously popular (see: Hot Hot Heat).

I guess that’s the point I’m going to make here. Like I said, this wasn’t so much a topic I really thought out as much as just something I was thinking about after I played Army Navy’s “Thin Sides” for my girlfriend while we were getting ready yesterday. I guess I should note the weeks I do this column in my calendar or something. There’s a lesson in all this, you guys, and it’s either about responsibility or Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist. You be the judge!

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