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I saw them when they were still playing clubs.

9 December 2010

Indie rock is pretty terrible lately. My wife’s car has Sirius/XM, and the XMU channel showcases what I hope isn’t the best of new indie rock, because I find about one song out of ten I like. The others aren’t vomit-through-your-eye-sockets terrible, they’re just not good.

But there is something indie happening that’s rather exciting, and that’s indie literature. I’m seeing it crop up in small patches here and there on the Internet. . . and while my recreational reading time isn’t what it used to be, I do manage to keep up on some of it, especially when it’s from an author I’ve read before.

Rewind a bit — what seems like forever ago (but was probably only a couple of years), I was part of the online community at Authonomy. While I came to realize that it was functionally useless for the purposes advertised (“major publisher will read and buy your book!”), it did have something great going for it — it brought in immensely talented writers who hadn’t yet found mainstream success.

One of those was Cody James, and the book she had up was Babylon. I read it, and I was floored. It was a beautiful, dark, and utterly human work I couldn’t believe hadn’t been snapped up by a major publisher.

Babylon would go on to be published by the Year Zero writers collective, an indie publisher started by Dan Holloway, another Authonomite who I never really had the pleasure of talking with much. Recently, Dan also started Eight Cuts gallery press, another indie label (I keep thinking of it like a record label for some reason), dedicated to putting out an awesome caliber of work.

And Cody James has a new book there called The Dead Beat. I’m not a reviewer, and I’m not going to spoil anything for you — just go get it and read it. It’s available through Eight Cuts, and is also ridiculously inexpensive at Amazon.

Like I said, my recreational reading time isn’t what it should be lately, but if the rest of the stuff on offer from Year Zero and Eight Cuts is half as good as Cody’s stellar work. . . well, I see a lot of money being dumped from me to them in the near future.

What about you, folks? Anything indie or obscure that you just love the hell out of but none of your friends seems to know about?

6 Comments leave one →
  1. 9 December 2010 0734

    I acn’t believe it either, but on a selfish basis I’m delighted that Cody has chosen us. The DEad Beat is simply stunning. Thank you for the write-up šŸ™‚ Cody’s work will also feature in our next online exhibition, a collection of words, music, film, and art hyperlink curated to lead readers through it in all kind of unexpected ways like gingerbread crumbs through a night-time forest, which is appropriate as it’s themed around dark modern fairytales ( – still gladly accepting submissions).

    Agree about music – seems to have gone stale very recently. Check out who still take the effort to winkle out what good new stuff there is.

    Exciting indie stuff – we have 3 or 4 links a week to weird but wonderful stuff on eight cuts. I’d point anyone who loves what’s good in culture and what cares about making people think to: anything katelan Foisy does; Marion Stein’s Loisaida; Kirsty Logan; the site Resistance Underground; the music/photography/art/poetry of Anne Pigalle; moxie mezcal; sarah e melville; penny goring; Larry Harrison’s Glimpses of a Floating World

    I think what all of the above have in common is that there’s a ditching of the blankness and minimalism that’s leeched the feeling from art of all forms for a few decades – Sarah used a great phrase the other week “new libertinage” – there’s a kind of cultural hedonism – not glam rock/new romantic/wafty prose-poetic excess for its own sake, but, as Cody would having, seeing the whole picture of life – not cutting out the humour and most of all the pleasure that goes with the pain and the anguish and the boredom.

    Yeah, we should talk more šŸ™‚

  2. Trace permalink
    9 December 2010 0755

    Will buy it on the Kindle when I get a chance and let you know when I’ve read it.

    Obscure stuff? I usually ask you, man.

  3. 10 December 2010 0712

    One of the great things about getting to live in another country for a while is finding all this great music I’d been missing out on. Scotland is churning out a lot more awesomeness than Camera Obscura and Travis (awesome though they are). I’ve been into Biffy Clyro, Frightened Rabit, Malcolm Middleton, and The Twilight Sad to name a few.

    • 10 December 2010 0736

      Saw Biffy supporting Muse at Wembley – absolutely marvellous

      • 10 December 2010 0747

        Saw Muse pretty recently — outstanding. Hardly indie, but a good band anyway.

  4. 11 December 2010 0412

    These guys are the most exciting live band I’ve seen in Oxford. Also check out totally unlike anything else

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