The story of British indie over three musically diverse episodes. Much more than a genre of music, it is a spirit, an attitude and an ethos.
Episode two explores a time when the independent labels transformed from cottage industries into real businesses that could compete with the majors. It examines the evolution of ‘indie’ – a guitar-based genre of music with its own sound, fashion and culture.
Independent record labels provided a platform for some of Britain’s most groundbreaking artists at this time, including the Jesus and Mary Chain and the Smiths, who would burst onto the scene in 1983 staging a mainstream intervention and starting a small revolution.
In the midst of shiny 80s sounds and shoulder-padded fashion, indie was anti-image and anti-flamboyance. Through many of the indie bands in this period, everyday life was repackaged in melody and poetic lyrics. It’s not hard to see why a generation of youth, disaffected from the times they were living in, sought refuge in the poetic haze of early indie. The bands were accessible too, and aspiring music journalists could meet their favourite indie stars at the small and intimate gigs where they performed.
The programme concludes in the late 80s with the Madchester scene, as alternative music crossed over into the mainstream chart. This breakthrough was inspired by a merging of indie rock and the burgeoning acid house culture, and it was led by a new crop of bands such as the Stone Roses and Happy Mondays.