Indie rock is a subgenre of rock music that originated in the United States, United Kingdom and New Zealand from the 1970s to the 1980s. Originally used to describe independent record labels, the term became associated with the music they produced and was initially used interchangeably with alternative rock or "guitar pop rock".
|Cultural origins||Late 1970s to early 1980s, United States, United Kingdom and New Zealand|
One of the primary scenes of the movement was Dunedin, where a cultural scene based around a convergence of noise pop and jangle became popular among the city's large student population. Independent labels such as Flying Nun began to promote the scene across New Zealand, inspiring key college rock bands in the United States such as Pavement, Pixies and R.E.M. Other notable scenes grew in Manchester and Hamburg, with many others thriving thereafter.
In the 1980s, the use of the term "indie" (or "indie pop") started to shift from its reference to recording companies to describe the style of music produced on punk and post-punk labels. During the 1990s, grunge and punk revival bands in the US and Britpop bands in the UK broke into the mainstream, and the term "alternative" lost its original counter-cultural meaning. The term "indie rock" became associated with the bands and genres that remained dedicated to their independent status. By the end of the 1990s, indie rock developed several subgenres and related styles, including lo-fi, noise pop, emo, slowcore, post-rock, and math rock. In the 2000s, changes in the music industry and the growing importance of the internet enabled a new wave of indie rock bands to achieve mainstream success, leading to questions about its meaningfulness as a term.
In the early 2000s, a new group of bands that played a stripped-down, back-to-basics version of guitar rock emerged into the mainstream. The commercial breakthrough from these scenes was led by four bands: The Strokes, The White Stripes, The Hives and The Vines. Emo also broke into mainstream culture in the early 2000s. By the end of the decade, the proliferation of indie bands was being referred to as an "indie landfill", with the term "landfill indie" becoming used by some critics/websites in the 2020s as subgenre for a certain type of 2000s indie band, in the same way Britpop is used for British guitar music of the 1990s.