Dirty Projectors and Fleet Foxes members debate the decline of indie music

Dave Longstreth and Robin Pecknold involved in Instagram discussion

Members of indie bands Dirty Projectors and Fleet Foxes have taken to Instagram to debate the so-called decline of the genre.

Dirty Projectors frontman Dave Longstreth kicked off the discussion by asking whether indie rock had become “both bad and boujee”, referring to the Migos rap hit of the same name.

Longstreth went on to argue that indie has become boujee “in the word’s negative sense: refined and effete”, as well as “musically underwhelming… and also bad like sartrian bad faith, outwardly obedient to an expired paradigm that we know in our hearts makes basically no sense.”

Fleet Foxes singer Robin Pecknold replied that he doesn’t “know what counts as ‘indie rock’ these days… like, Whitney, Mac DeMarco, Angel Olsen, Car Seat Headrest? Idk if any of that has ‘cutting edge’ written into the M.O., even if it’s fun to listen to.”

Pecknold added: “Feel like everything else that gets covered that’s progressive is in other landscapes, either more commercial ones or less commercial ones. I feel like 2009, ‘Bitte Orca’ [Dirty Projectors album] / ‘Merriweather [Post Pavilion’, Animal Collective album] / ‘Veckatimest’ [Grizzly Bear album], was the last time there was a fertile strain of ‘indie rock’ that also felt progressive w/o devolving into Yes-ish largesse.”

Longstreth responded that “novelty / newness is exciting and useful to reflect a changing world, but it seems like human experience/nature has a way of staying constant : for this ,we don’t need music that changes all the time; for this, tradition is valuable”.

Grizzly Bear’s Ed Droste also offered input in the form of the shocked-face emoji.

Following some criticism over their comments, both Longstreth and Pecknold have issued additional statements.

On Instagram, Longstreth wrote that “the post was something more than a jokey riff on fake critical theory language mixed w migos lyrics” and that “the concept of ‘indie’ is personal/important to me”. He continued: “i was getting kinda navelgaze abt my band’s context, wringing my hands over the way the term has been co-opted by wack spotify playlists, garageband presets etc. c’est la vie i guess … def wasn’t trying to put anybody on blast — esp younger bands, who are doing amazing shit in a super unprecedented cultural context.”

Pecknold has said on Twitter that he doesn’t “think music needs to be ‘progressive’ in to be valid or enjoyable”. See below.

hey everybody, 'indie' is a community that i def consider myself/dirty projectors to be a part of. 80s/90s indie rock is the first music that showed me that i could make music and be a part of a community that way. most of my music-making friends make 'indie rock' and if i had to guess i'd say that the DP album that's about to come out on domino records will be filed under 'indie rock' in our local record stores. so to the extent that the post was something more than a jokey riff on fake critical theory language mixed w migos lyrics, the concept of 'indie' is personal/important to me. i was getting kinda navelgaze abt my band's context, wringing my hands over the way the term has been co-opted by wack spotify playlists, garageband presets etc. c'est la vie i guess … def wasn't trying to put anybody on blast — esp younger bands, who are doing amazing shit in a super unprecedented cultural context. whitney is my favorite band in many years, i don't know how they do that!?! abt 2009. it's ironic to be nostalgic abt the alleged newness of something that happened 7 years ago! feel like there's been so much mind-blowing and fresh music since then. in all diff scenes & genres. but also, as a number of people on the thread have said: innovation isn't everything. emotion seems pretty timeless &universal, and that's the core of music right? i feel like in the context of 45, filling old traditional forms w new messages of resistance is gonna be a strong way forward!

A photo posted by @davidlongstreth on

Meanwhile, Dirty Projectors recently announced new self-titled album, their first since 2012’s ‘Swing Lo Magellan’. Listen to single ‘Up In Hudson’.