Thursday, March 15, 2007
The Muncie Sound?
When I started this project of exploring the Midwest's current indie scene, I thought it would be great to get to know unheard of bands in Chicago and Detroit. Pretty much by chance, I fell into the lap of Indiana. I thought it would be a quick state to sum up and I could move on to Chicago. But I immediately became one of Indiana's biggest fans. The music is incredible. I still haven't even started on Chicago.
Every association I have with the state of Indiana is driving through it on the way out west.
When you're at the beginning of a long trip, the whole state sometimes feels like a line at the amusement park: Just waiting to get to the end.
The whole reason for this is because most people live in a bubble. Mine is Ohio. I didn't choose it, but I'm here nonetheless for better or worse.
The back story is that I asked Margot and the Nuclear So and So's to do an interview about their views of Indiana's music scene. Before agreeing to the interview, they instead provided a list of links and suggested I first get to know the scene and then come back. I instantly realized that doing this project half-assed was not what I wanted to do. So I took them up on that challenge. I dove into Indiana with a wet suit.
Surprisingly enough, what I soon discovered is that the state is not just about Indianapolis. In fact, that city is probably the weakest link. Instead, I was immediatey drawn to Muncie. I know nothing about Muncie. Rarely do I even hear people mutter that word on accident.
Nestled about 50 miles north-east of Indianapolis sits Muncie, Indiana. Semi-conservative and the land of Ball State University, it has been described as a turn of the century gas boom town. I also heard country music is big there, and when The Strokes came to town the venue lost money because not enough people showed up.
Muncie has a small batch of excellent bands, almost entirely under the Standard Recording record label. These bands create a home for incredibly quirky, interesting and well-crafted music. I think I would categorize the band Arrah and the Ferns as a great water mark to judge other Muncie bands by. Plenty of humor and sincerity and the overall feeling is pure joy. My guess is that people in Muncie love to have fun. I also appreciate that bands are extremely focused on creating inventive indie pop rock and music that is completely original and hopefull.
Check out Everything, Now!, Arrah and the Ferns and Everthus the Deadbeats to see what I mean.
Everything, Now! I would consider one of the top five bands in the entire Midwest. That's saying a lot.
I also found this interesting site where this guy notes city's with "giant" statues of random stuff. Muncie has a few of those too. Check it out HERE.