There’s been a lot of commentary on blogs, websites and in the traditional rock press over the last few months about the so called death of indie rock. Certainly the format of ‘four skinny lads in jeans with guitars against the world’ has stalled commercially in terms of record sales and arguably creatively as well.
Depending on your perspective the lack of indie rock within the UK singles charts is either the signal for the hammering of the nails in the coffin lid, a momentary pause whilst the wheels of fashion turn, or it’s still doing the business just in different ways. It certainly gives us all something to write about. Music journo types, like any other, love a sensationalist headline and if they can get ‘Indie R.I.P’ across their pages then why not? It might generate some hits / readers.
We’d like to propose a different theory though. It is one of tradition. Guitar based indie rock music has been around for a while now. In fact it’s reached middle age. The possibility of the excitement caused by true originality has faded as new ideas become foggier and harder to find for new indie bands. Most of them have been used before; everything references something else.
Indie will now just slowly evolve in the same way as an older form of traditional music - folk - has. Maybe indie rock will even become the new folk music? As long as people continue to practice the traditions, it won’t die. It may not innovate anymore, it may not blaze up the pop charts, but it will still be there, for those who want to play, perform and participate in it.
That ladies and gentlemen of the Breaking More Waves blog readership is our theory. Which brings us neatly to The Staves; a band rooted in the tradition of acoustic folk music. They may not be 100% original or innovative in what they do, but these three sisters from Watford are blessed with such wonderful harmonies and hush-the-room melodies that they fully justify why tradition is hugely important in music. When it envelops the emotions with such warmth it would be wrong to have it any other way.
Fresh from supporting Michael Kiwanuka on his UK tour, The Staves are due to release their new EP (their second) at the start of April and follow it up with their own headline tour (see here for dates and grab 2 free downloads whilst you're at it). Listen to the title track from the EP Motherlode below, be washed along with their angelic voices and understand why we named them as one of our Ones To Watch 2012 last December.
The Staves - The Motherlode