StreeXB Global Talent SearchIndie pop was simple in the 90s compared to now


Though indie pop may have some bits and pieces from the 90s, it’s not what it used to be.

The sound and creative songwriting from back then was unique to what we had now.

The thought put into 90s Indie Pop was inescapable while its impact, exists in such a great amount of music.

Be that as it may and besides the critique of the 90s, outside-the-box indie pop stars from this decade such as Elephant 6 were able to create an extensive variety of musical expression. The 90s saw music evolving rapidly and some of the best tunes came out of this era. Indie pop is the very core to most of the music since then and now.

Go through here to see the article and you will change your perception about indie pop music.

In certain circles, conventional wisdom holds that there is a “Denver sound” — the Gothic Americana embodied by the likes of 16 Horsepower, Slim Cessna’s Auto Club, The Denver Gentlemen and whatever project of Jaysun Munly’s you’d care to name. Absurdly enough, some people even try to place all kinds of Americana and country-influenced music and folk under that umbrella. I’d advise these people to stop conveniently forgetting the existence of Alan Lomax and the myriad artists he helped to bring to mass public consciousness — Bob Dylan, Neil Young, The Gun Club and Nick Cave, among other artists, not to mention the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack —before making such pronouncements. A significant strand of music from a city, from a scene, does not define the whole thing. Perhaps significant artists such as DeVotchKa, Tarantella, The Lumineers and Ian Cooke could be considered part of Gothic Americana, but in each case, it’s a problematic fit; the latter two aren’t even particularly Gothic.


An often puzzlingly forgotten movement with roots in Ruston, Louisiana, then Denver and Athens, Georgia, was the ’90s wave of indie pop — inspired by ’60s psychedelic rock, lo-fi pop of the ’80s and an interest in using elements of musique concrète in recordings and performances. That was the group of bands that made up the Elephant 6 Collective and like-minded musicians around the country who realized a new way for pop music to have depth in terms of sounds, artistic ambition and emotional content.


Elephant 6 was founded in Denver in 1991 by Rob Schneider of the Apples in Stereo along with his childhood friends Bill Doss, Will Cullen Hart and Jeff Mangum and Apples bandmates Jim McIntyre and Hilarie Sidney. Doss and Hart are perhaps more well known as members of influential indie-pop band Olivia Tremor Control, and Mangum is fairly famous for a project called Neutral Milk Hotel. In the 1990s that aesthetic in which musical darkness and atmosphere and experimental musical ideas could occupy the same song as incredibly catchy melodies proved to have an enduring impact, and never more so than through the influence of the 1998 Neutral Milk Hotel album, In an Aeroplane Over the Sea.



In an Aeroplane is arguably the most influential record to have come out of Denver. It was an immediately striking record for its strong songwriting, as well as for themes that many fans have attributed to being inspired directly by the life of Anne Frank, which Mangum all but confirmed in talking about being influenced by The Diary of Anne Frank while writing the songs for the record. Recorded at Pet Sounds Studio in 1997, the album came out on February 10, 1998, to little fanfare, though the album-release show, at 15th St. Tavern, was packed to the walls with early fans.

StreeXB appreciates Denver Westword for this article. Click here for access to the full content.

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