by carl wilson

Teaching the Indie Kids to Fuck Again

Kids on TV, from the band's MySpace.

The second annual Kids on TV Bath House Show approaches tomorrow night. Basic rundown: The band plays and Will Munro, the stylingest boy in town, DJs in a co-ed space created in a gay bathhouse here in Toronto. Upstairs, there are separate male-only and female-only spaces for queernoodling. (There was no female-only space last year, if i recall, so this is a breakthrough. More breakthroughs to come, in relation to bathhouse culture, which is part of KoTV's polymorphously-perverse point with the project.) Towel comes with admission. Equals fun. The event has occasioned some provocative talk on Stillepost, particularly this: "This is actually a really remarkably anti-sex community. I'm consistently astonished by the prudishness." I was struck by Kate's comment.

While I am thrilled that the indie-music world is much more musically diverse than it was when I was in school - much more disco, much more classical influence, much more electronics, even in the rock bands, than the Guitar World back in the day - I do squint confusedly at the pervasive glorification of pre-pubescent reference points and the awkward relationship to sexuality. I suppose the past era I'm thinking of was heavily influenced by AIDS activism and the pro-sex, safe-sex message directed at the time to queers and not-so-queers alike. In fact, it was a time when even opposite-sexers in such subcultures aspired to a cultural queerness. Now there's this a more stuck-in-high-school aspect to indie culture - I like Fake Prom, but it's symptomatic - all seeming to show a discomfort with adulthood and sexuality. Of course people are having sex, and joke about it and such, but it seems heavily deemphasized both socially and artistically - relative to sexuality's normally prominent place in any music scene. No doubt Toronto the Good has more of this prudishness than other places, by nature - I can't imagine Montreal has had the same slide - but I pick up on it in indie-rockish music from all over North America. (Though of course there are contrary bands such as KoTV, the Hidden Cameras, Spank Rock, Xiu Xiu, etc.)

What's your impression, wherever you are? If I'm right, what do you think is the cause? And is there a way in which this is a good thing? Arguably perhaps it's a subcultural counterpoint to mainstream "raunch culture" - perhaps indie kids are snubbing sex because it's gotten too popular?

| Posted by zoilus on Wednesday, June 14 at 4:55 PM | Linking Posts | Comments (38)



I think a music scene that may not place sex at the centre of itself - and I'm not about to call the indie scene prudish - lends itself to diversifying it's patrons.

The sex, drugs and rock and roll ideal isn't appealing to all would be indie afficionados, nor do I think promiscuity is something that enhances an experience.

Posted by Kathryn on June 29, 2006 4:29 PM



You're twisting my words. I wasn't saying that it is naive to fight for reform. Duh. I was saying that it is just as naive to believe that an employee of a shitty company always has the ability and resources to change that company as it is to believe that said employee can always get another job. Fighting for reform requires getting a critical mass in any organization. Sometimes people can do it - there have been those few unionization fights even in Walmarts and McDonalds - but it's only one reasonable option. Fighting for reform in a broader social sense is obviously anything but naive - for one thing to (re)create structures to make that workplace organizing more possible and less potentially devastating to the worker. (You think it's hard to find a job when you quit? Try doing it when you've been fired as a troublemaker, but the company has covered up the reason by making you look incompetent and irresponsible.)

RoS, by the way, regularly play benefits, including for unions. Their members have been involved in social and cultural activism in other ways outside the band. As for the sloganeering - yeah, now and then, but the argument about the effectiveness of political messages in pop/rock/indie is a larger one than I want to bother to get into here. Overall I find them less than self-righteous, as there's so much humour in the songs and in the shows, as compared to the level of self-righteousness with which you're lobbing, once again, anonymous attacks at them, all leading me to believe there's something more personal involved in all this pique at one not-even-very-well-known band.

Posted by zoilus on June 23, 2006 2:27 PM



"It's a typical leftist disease of going after the people who are bold enough to raise these issues for not having perfectly formulated their thoughts to take in every variable, while giving a free pass to those who say nothing."

Sorry who gave anyone a free pass? Hedley, Nickleback, Simple Plan, blah, blah, blah all suck. There. Feel better? I don't.

Just because someone raises issues doesn't mean what they're saying is of any substance or that their message is improving or helping any progressive causes. At most, like any RoS show, it's a bunch of sloganeering with a heavy dose of self-righteousness (excuse me for not screaming that with a loud guitar accompaniment but it can be arranged - would it give it more value?).

"We're also not in one where union organizing and other forms of reform are legally well supported anymore, and it seems equally naive to say that the answer is to stay and fight to change things - corporate cultures are more entrenched and resilient than that."

What Human Resources department do you work for Carl? Seriously, maybe I've been weeping for the wrong generation all this time. It's "naive" to fight for reform? Well, that's pretty much my problem with RoS but you seem to agree with them. See, I think artists should be politically naive and that's why I brought up that interview (if anyone should be fighting for reform it should be the middle/upper class white kids that Maggie and Co. seem to consider their demographic).

"The whole thing with tyrannical oppression is that it gives you an illusion of permanence, one where you cant see any escape."

Somewhere there's a former hippie, now a WALMART executive, with that on the bumper of his HUMMER.

Posted by James Brown on June 22, 2006 6:11 PM



Okay, I agree with you that this is not right, that many people *can't* "always" quit their jobs. However, the comment that, "The whole thing with tyrannical oppression is that it gives you an illusion of permanence, one where you cant see any escape," is far from class-blind or stupid in that context, James. (And man, clearly you haven't interviewed many musicians - you'd kill to have most of them say something that cogent.) Anyway, this is a bit ridiculous, as I'm perfectly happy to admit I am defending friends in this whole conversation. But given Ontario's revised legal structures - and worse ones elsewhere - that are entirely complicit with perpetuating this illusion that you should just be damn happy to have any job and suck up what you get, Maggie's point seems at least partially well-taken. We're not in a high-unemployment economy here. We're also not in one where union organizing and other forms of reform are legally well supported anymore, and it seems equally naive to say that the answer is to stay and fight to change things - corporate cultures are more entrenched and resilient than that. Absolutely, people with families to support and no other viable means of support are really screwed that way, especially since quitting can jeopardize your UI (and I refuse to *ever* call it "Employment Insurance" rather than Unemployment Insurance, btw - tho the new structures do kind of ensure you'll stay employed by making you feel trapped this way!). But saying to people, "You can get along without the assholes who are making your lives hell - really, it's possible," hardly seems to me the equivalent of repressing race and class issues in the way you're singling RoS out to do. It's a typical leftist disease of going after the people who are bold enough to raise these issues for not having perfectly formulated their thoughts to take in every variable, while giving a free pass to those who say nothing. The quote above does not boil down to anything as passive and silly as, "If you don't like your job you should just quit and get a new one." It just says quitting is an *option*.

Posted by zoilus on June 22, 2006 1:23 AM



okay, fair enough - although I can't find that interview in Exclaim, I'll take your word for it. But in the *song* that talks about that - "if you like it that much, then quit your job ... write your book and start your band" - it's more about not being afraid to pursue your heart's desires, more about DIY. and yeah, those tend to be white, middle-class luxuries to a degree too, but that doesn't make them bad goals - just goals that with social justice would become more widely available. The lyrics aren't "don't change things, just get a new job" - they're more anti-jobs in general, on the anarchist tip, which is deserving of critique and nuance but not anti-reform or anti-change by any means. (and in the context of the rest of the band's songs i can't see taking them that way.)

i think it'd be more accurate to talk about a certain naivete w/ activist bands like RoS - which come more out of a Dischord-Fugazi kinda tradition than the current college-rock model - than to suggest they're socially irresponsible or unconcerned.

Posted by zoilus on June 20, 2006 2:11 PM



"If you don't like your job you should just quit and get a new one."

Spoken like a true recent white graduate. That's from an interview with Maggie in a recent Exclaim.

So don't try to change or reform anything - just leave cause it'll be so easy to get a new job.

Posted by James Brown on June 19, 2006 11:38 PM



I don't normally care how people I.D. themselves here, but if the only point of your comment is to launch a snipe attack (especially on grounds like race and class), doing it under a pseudonym is cowardly - if you're going to name names, one of them should be your own.

Posted by zoilus on June 19, 2006 3:01 PM



I'm really surprised that there's been no mention of Jon Rae & the River in this comments thread.

They're all about the fuck.

Posted by Sofi on June 19, 2006 8:16 AM



"As for "James": Brave anonymous commenting there, fella."

Sorry is that you Carl or is that Warren Kinsella??

Posted by SpeakToThePointPlease on June 19, 2006 7:56 AM



Dave - your comment's worth dealing with in a whole post, which I'll try to do tomorrow.

As for "James": Brave anonymous commenting there, fella.

Republic of Safety, at their best, are actually one of the few loudly sex-positive indie-rock bands around here (and hetero, though pointedly queer-friendly), singing cheerily of sexual aggression (saying that everyone should be more like dirty old men), incest in Cornwall (in "The Favourite Game", which certainly has a class element), and of course "I like to work/ I like to fuck/ My mind is my body/ And my body is a truck." It's all similar to that older "alternative culture" model I was talking about in this post. And RoS has an awareness of economics that brings more implicit class content to their music than 90 per cent of current rock bands. You're right there's not a lot about race there, but to single them out among indie bands for that criticism seems kind of absurd - as opposed to which bands that *are* dealing with it? At least I can imagine RoS addressing the subject at some point.

I do agree that their name and the whole idea of celebrating "safety" are questionable, though there's a case to be made for them: They're meant to valorize Canadian-style social programs and the "safety net" as contrasted to the U.S. model ("the nation of fear"). It's a provocative paradox, "safety rock", but yes, it does raise that question of retreat Dave's talking about. But most of their music is much more engaged.

Posted by zoilus on June 18, 2006 9:18 PM



"retreat from dealing with the complexities of race relations, retreat from balancing questions of integrity and earning a living -- in sum, retreat from adult life."

Please see most of the work of The Republic of Safety, where 'safety' means avoiding questions of race and class.

Posted by James Brown on June 17, 2006 11:22 PM



overt sexuality in precursors to indie: punks wearing bondage gear, for a start.

i'm amazed and impressed that this got brought up at all, but indie's retreat from sexuality is just the tip of the iceberg when talking about the culture. helen rightly points out that sexuality is about being vulnerable and taking risks, but fear of being seen as unhip isn't the motor driving that repression -- what could possibly be unhip in these celine dion-rehabilitating times? (sorry carl, just teasing.) indie culture simply isn't a haven for the alienated and the disaffected any more.

the people who were once drawn to the indie culture because it was more accepting than other places have somewhere else to go now, where more people are interested in the same things they are. if you're queer or interested in gender-bending, you have a safe and clearly defined cultural space. if you want a community of likeminded freaks, just go on the internet -- you're not going to make friends with sufjian stevens fans out of mutual desperation.

i'm not saying this is a bad thing. there's nothing particularly wrong with the old indie culture being replaced by a puritan scene akin to the folk scene of the 50s, so long as everyone has somewhere to go with their freaky bad selves. and if you're repulsed by the gratuitous sex and money talk in mainstream youth-oriented pop (who isn't from time to time?), not to mention the mainstream's hostility to certain kinds of musical expression, then indie's probably a good place for you.

but (and let's not kid ourselves) indie culture is practically defined by retreat. retreat from overt sexual expression, retreat from dealing with the complexities of race relations, retreat from balancing questions of integrity and earning a living -- in sum, retreat from adult life. is it any wonder it's all so focused on high school, ie. a mythical period when we were supposedly young adults with few responsibilities, possibly more disposable income than we do now, and a lot of free time?

Posted by dave m. on June 16, 2006 8:21 PM



You have a point, Misha. There's certainly always been a distance from sexual swagger in the aesthetic. But I think indie-before-it-was-called-indie - back when it was "alternative" or "postpunk" or even "hardcore" - was sexier and dirtier and a little less I'm-too-fragile-to-touch in its general self-presentation.

And even if 'twas ever thus, that doesn't make it unworthy of discussion. (My no. 1 complaint about the internets = people mistaking conversation for a symptom of "fuss and surprise" rather than, say, a sign of "curiosity and reflection.")

Posted by zoilus on June 16, 2006 4:22 PM



I don't get all the fuss and surprise. Hasn't indie always been a pretty unsexy aesthetic (at leas un-hetero-sexy)? Was there ever a time when indie as all like "let's get it on"? Am I missing something?

Posted by Misha on June 16, 2006 2:49 PM



good points. I too would like to see more raunch with my rawk.

Posted by PG on June 16, 2006 12:52 PM



PG - I was talking about sex, not relationships - but more about the public expression of it, both in the music and in the way people talk and act, than about what goes on behind closed doors. And obvs it's not the whole thing - the dance parties are much sexier, but a lot of the indie live-music scene doesn't quite partake in that.

I don't want to overstate my point, though. It's not that the whole thing is sexless at all. There's just this chaste-prudent undercurrent that frequently surfaces, socially and musically, that surprises me.

Posted by zoilus on June 16, 2006 11:07 AM



Kelly, my use of queer reflected conventions that distinguish it from just plain "gay" - in a frankly ideological way. It's possible the distinction is out of vogue. But I don't think we need to go 'round and 'round parsing subcultcha usages here and now. It's a bit of a distraction from the point.

Um, Bruce, what Waylon song were you thinking of? "Ruby Don't Take Your Love to Town"? "Don't You Think This Outlaw Bit's Done Got Out of Hand"?

Posted by zoilus on June 16, 2006 11:03 AM



there *is* a lot of sex-it's just not formalized into a lot of proper relationships. these so-called smarmy dance parties and shows are just sweaty foreplay.

Posted by PG on June 16, 2006 10:55 AM



The late Waylon Jennings said it best...
No, look it up yourself.

Posted by Bruce Mowat on June 16, 2006 9:56 AM



The Waylon Jennings said it best...
No, look it up yourself.

Posted by Bruce Mowat on June 16, 2006 9:55 AM



Sorry about "mild fascism." That was your comment filter. I kept phrasing and rephrasing until something was accepted... I was trying to describe what you so eloquently call "the pathological fear of sell-out-itude." It's that kind of thing that turns me off the indie scene, not the music.

I still have problems with the idea of "cultural queerness." It may be a fact that "a liberated, frank and open-ended way of talking about and doing sex" was (is?) particularly evident is the queer community. But it still ends up stereotyping all gays and lesbians based on a certain segment. Even if you marry the same boyfriend you've had since high school, you can still be queer.

In short, I think using the word "queer" to describe a sexual ideology AND a sexual orientation fudges the issue in a dangerous way; it blurs the line between the life and the lifestyle.

Posted by JKelly on June 16, 2006 2:09 AM



I find it more coming from the boys than from the girls: The boys seem to be more scared of the sex than the indie womenfolk. But again, sample sizes here are small.

JKelly - I'm gonna try and leave aside the kneejerk indie-bashing stuff here ("mild fascism"? yeah, right). But the Emily Haines quote - though "furor" seems like a huge exaggeration - and the stuff about it being tied to the pathological fear of sell-out-itude are quite right on. However I think you're misreading the notion of "cultural queerness" entirely - it's not, in the time and places I was thinking of, remotely to do with anti-heterosexuality but a great deal to do with a liberated, frank and open-ended way of talking about and doing sex that takes its cues from the queer community because that's the place where it's been most creatively experimented with in the past few decades. It's about monogamy not being the exclusive and compulsory model, about flirtation not being thought offensive, about physical affection not being automatically classified as either sexual or threatening, all before you get anywhere near the bedroom. None of these things seem very high on the agenda these days. There seems to be a lot of, "eww, gross" going on. Among the non-gay/queer set, it's either shmoozey New York-wannabe fashion parties (which aren't anti-sex, but tend to be smarmy) or music-oriented shows and scenes that aren't very sexy. The recent vogue in Toronto for audience-band play rough-housing, while it can be a hell of a lot of fun, also smacks more than a bit of sublimation, no?

I mean, what could be more 2000s indie in the worst way than those "cuddle parties" whose rules seemed just short of declarations of born-again virginity?

(Marco's point that the Elite Couples do get hypercelebrated is an indication of the way in which monogamy is overemphasized. Although I do think love can be culturally inspiring and motivating to the people in the couple and from there to the people around them. It's not like these couples should be condemned.)

Your point about the "raunch culture" - not my term but a currently journalistically popular one; I don't really endorse it. But yeah, maybe some of what we've got now came out of that same pro-sex agitation a decade and more back. The feminist pro-porn position certainly helped prevent the legal context from becoming more restrictive. And yes, the point isn't straight-porn/sex bad, queer porn/sex good. But Girls Gone Wild seems like a totally different thing - strictly voyeuristic and one-sided, just staring at girls and commanding them to do things rather than everyone playing and interacting together. Not that voyeurism and domination are terrible things in themselves, but as the everywhere-all-the-time version in popular culture, it's tedious and wearing. The frat-house tone of shit. But other parts of what's now coming attack under this "raunch culture" label are, yeah, just sexual self-expression of the kind that's had to be fought for again and again against Waspish prudery. As you can tell, I'm ambivalent about whether there's any cause to reject the so-called raunch - it strikes me mainly as taking a more European attitude, more than it is a backlash or regression. But it's going to evolve unevenly and it doesn't all have to be pretty. Still, some level of subculture counterreaction - even just an instinctive resistance to participating in it - wouldn't be surprising.

Posted by zoilus on June 15, 2006 4:36 PM



I'm just wondering, for those who have made observations about the hetero-repression/prudery in the indie scene/culture/music/whatevs -- do you find that prudery to be true of the males and females alike?

Posted by jennifer on June 15, 2006 2:06 PM



wait, are we talking about the scene or the music/art?

(best blog post title by you ever)

Posted by Graham on June 15, 2006 1:28 AM



(I had to rewrite that third part of my comment like 20 times before it would allow me to publish it. So excuse me if it stopped making sense.)
(And excuse me for the million comments.)

Posted by JKelly on June 14, 2006 11:30 PM



Remember the indie furour when Emily Haines dared to wear a -- gasp! -- skirt on stage? Here's an extract from an interview on the subject with the Montreal Mirror:

"Mirror: I've read several Metric reviews where the writer uses your sex appeal as the springboard for criticism. That must be tiresome.

"Emily Haines: Yeah, seriously. A guy from LA Weekly described me as a young ingnue who's desperate for a record deal, and it was just so gross. I'm definitely battling the feeling that the press sees me as this tart jumping around wanting attention and that's not what I'm doing. I'm trying to set myself free over here, do you know what I'm saying? It's annoying to be misunderstood but I feel like the audience gets what I'm doing and they get what I'm not.

"M: I bet you weren't always so confident on stage.

"EH: My early performances were really not that compelling. I was appropriately reserved, dressed according to indie rock rules, jeans and a T-shirt, saying nothing, doing nothing too brave and I always felt really unsatisfied with my performance and so did the audience. As a serious musician, I wanted to separate myself from the pop tarts so I resigned myself to acting like a guy, and I was unhappy. I was completely limiting myself by thinking that it's superficial of me to be a girl, to wear a fucking skirt."

A skirt! And it was like Dylan going electric! (Another example of another type of puritanism in music scene.)

I just feel like, you know, it's the year 2006, folks. Fuck or do not fuck. Pick a gender to do, flash your parts in private or in public, be raunchy or sauve, wear slutty clothes or argyle-print cardigans, obsess over sexing or do it once in a while or be asexual... it's up to you. Don't do it to send a message or be politically correct, though. As soon as you start or stop having sex to make a point or be righteous, I think the plot has been lost.

I also blame these damn ironic beards and sweater vests. Or are they even ironic? I can't keep up with you trendy hipsters.

Posted by JKelly on June 14, 2006 11:27 PM



Added to that, there's that mild fascism in indie culture where certain modes of expression are allowed but others are not Being s-xy is decidedly on the no-no list, cuz it means you're selling out! (continued)

Posted by JKelly on June 14, 2006 11:27 PM



Indie music culture is so friggin' puritanical. Straight indie culture, anyway, you're right. There's a total double-standard and it has to do with bullshit politics more than anything.

Queer sexuality is celebrated because it is somehow perceived as transgressive or part of a cool subculture, while straight sexuality, being supposedly "mainstream", is viewed as uncool.

I mean, take your very use of the term "raunch culture," Carl. You know what's raunchy? Having anonymous sex in bathhouses. Makin' "sex trains" in the sauna. The contests in gay bars where dudes whip out their peckers... That's raunchy.

But because it is queer folks doing these things, you would never call it raunch. Instead, it's liberating. Transgressive. Rebellious. Polymorphously perverse! Woo-hoo!

Meanwhile, what about girls flashing their tits on Girls Gone Wild? Oh that's "raunch culture." How mainstream and sexist...

Indie/leftie culture consistently gives greater value to queer sex over straight sex. In this very post, you wax nostalgic about "opposite-sexers" aspiring to "cultural queerness." How is that anything but being anti-straight? (I think it's kind of ghettoizes queers too, frankly, this whole line of thinking that equates natural biological orientation synonymous with being antiestablishment.) Why is "cultural queerness" somehow preferable to "cultural straightness"? (You're being sexually rockist!) I see it too often, this business where straightness is almost viewed as something embarrassing, potentially offensive and heterosexist and oppressive, something to keep behind closed doors...
(Continued below)

Posted by JKelly on June 14, 2006 11:11 PM



Um, I wrote a long, long comment but it apparently contains "questionable content." Your blog is anti-sex!

Let me try and insert some dashes...

Posted by jkelly on June 14, 2006 11:06 PM



Alexander: I don't think sexuality in music necessarily implies aggression, loudness or swagger. It's one of the things I love about the Hidden Cameras: they make inventively filthy music that tangles itself into knots with emotion. I'm still not even sure how some Final Fantasy songs deal with sex, but the answer is probably never "arrogantly". Most of the bands in Toronto who are like that are, as Sasha suggests, not using sex itself as subject matter at all.

With respect to your post itself, Carl: the idea of some people in the scene consciously/subconsciously placing themselves as some kind of chaste counterculturalist sounds plausible, but also misguided. Aside from the "raunch culture" thing perhaps being less pervasive and simplistic than it seems, the off-putting sexuality that DOES exist in mainstream culture is no reason to deny the good kind from ourselves. Sometimes the flesh feels like mere meat, but you don't have to be all Cronenberg about it.

Agree on the high-school thing, too. It may be more acute for me because I'm still very young, and have always felt like I didn't quite belong with most people the same age as I, but: I left high school pretty recently, and it wasn't hellish or anything but I have no interest in reliving it now. Fake Prom looks fun, and I love the sense of playful, childlike joy some Toronto bands have, but there's more than that, you know? My parents were so WASPy we never even talked about sex so I threw my lot in with, as you put it, "cultural queerness" - and now, like Sasha says, I've discovered that the only bands here who seem to share that attitude literally are queer. I too would happily be proven wrong, though.

Posted by chris r. on June 14, 2006 8:43 PM



To take a few tiny steps forward from pointing the finger at het/repression, I think the prudery you notice is also related to the persistent cooler-than-thou-ism in the indie scene. Not to paint everyone with the same broad brush (though that might be fun quick! lie down naked!) but the insecurity that underpins the urge to have utterly distinct and/or superior taste in music does inhibit openness. And though there are certainly very many generous, open folks in the toronto scene it is rampant enough that it has a chastity-belt-like effect. If one defines oneself primarily based on the exclusivity of what one likes/is into, and is disdainful of others based on what they like/are into, well then its not a very welcome environment in which to express anything vulnerable. And you gotta make yourself vulnerable if youre gonna have a good time between the sheets, baby.

The other piece of the puzzle might be related to the physical geography of the rock show all yr attention focused on the one, fundamentally inaccessible (which is part of the appeal) object of admiration. A really good example of this was the Hot Springs show last week. The boylust was really palpable, in an almost physical way, walking into that show last week. And (while Im right there with you, lads) it wasnt exactly an inviting atmosphere. Or a communicative one. The (early) Hidden Cameras overcame this dynamic with the go go dancers etc, which is why those shows felt so gloriously participatory and different from other rock shows. The Hot Springs show is a very overt & sexualized example, but Im sure there was a similar, sublimated version happening at Radiohead last week.

And yet another possible culprit is the mind/body split in music criticism, which Ive never quite understood. But its amazing how quickly critics (here, for example) disappear up their own asses in contemplating one of the most visceral of the arts (um, please forgive the corporeality of that metaphor). Not to get all essentialist on you, but it is why we need more ladies out here.

Er, and the other piece of this could just be the fact that a lot of music fans (say, in their early twenties) are busy sublimating in rock fandom the energies that their peers are investing in sexual relationships.

Yeah, actually, that's it.

Posted by miss spitz on June 14, 2006 8:38 PM



Carl, I'll post this comment in s slightly inebriated state and hope you'll accept my apology in advance. But I respectfully disagree -- though this is a fascinating topic. I find that, while drug-and-alcohol use, indolence, incense, and most other vestiges of hippiedom are sternly denounced by Toronto's mostly proactive, participatory, clean-cut indie scene, I think sex is still a fundamental marker of "cool" in this city's music. Mind you, excepting the Hidden Cameras' and spinoffs' over-the-top gay schtick, and perhaps excepting the blatant, tongue-in-cheek-but-actually-not-tongue-in-cheek sexuality of the garage-rock scene, I think the (straight) bands in this city generally imbue their music, rhetoric, stage banter, and image with an understated, but imnplied, sexiness. Perhaps the one-night hookup is frowned upon, but the steady, lusty affairs known to exist between self-proclaimed social marginals are lionized as though they hold the secret to the meaning of life. I guess even the most self-righetous straight-edgers back in the day made moral exceptions for sex -- after all, monasticism has never been very rock'n'roll (although perhaps the band The Monks undermine this argument) -- and I think you needn't worry that the universal phenomenon is under threat in this no-longer-puritanical city.

please excuse this rant for not making sense.

Posted by marco on June 14, 2006 8:27 PM



Seems to me the more provocative talk on Stillepost is all about the World Cup. Go Cote d'Ivoire.

Posted by Half on June 14, 2006 8:13 PM



Woah, Ryan. Two minutes apart. One of us has to start looking into our latent telepathic abilities.

Posted by Sasha on June 14, 2006 7:40 PM



Disagree, Alexander, insofar as I don't know what you're talking about with the comments about Toronto's music being oriented towards brash, agressive, 'cool' music (really?).

I think there's a big split down the middle between indie bands that approach sex openly as a subject for their music or just as a fact in their music, (as Carl mentioned, Hidden Cameras, KoTV, et al) and bands that treat sex as a hilarious novelty, as a thing for dudes to high five about, or as a negative gross thing (I'm thinking mainly of No Dynamics here, although that's no knock against No Dynamics).

That split seems to fall really conveniently between straight artists and queer artists. I mean, with the gleeful exception of The Maynards, I can't think of any Ontario-area straight bands that approach sex frequently without falling into the realms of novelty, disgust, or misogyny.

Straight repression is kind of a huge and lazy thing to point a finger at, though, and I'd love to hear about bands that prove my previous statement is false.

Posted by Sasha on June 14, 2006 7:35 PM



It's telling that the bands you listed are all either a.) Gay, b.) humorous/silly or c.) both. Sexuality is an integral primary topic for the gay community, so it's no surprise that gay artists address it as such, and as far as humor/joke bands like Spank Rock or Peaches... well, who doesn't like a good dirty joke, you know? Thing is, when I sit and think, it's hard for me to remember any time when there actually was a prominent representation of hetero-indie; I just don't think hetero-indies have ever been comfortable being overtly sexual, without trying to make a joke of it.

On the other hand, that first Pink Mountaintops record was pretty explicitly sexual (and semi-serious about it), as is that (amazing) new HOME record, Sexteen. I mean, yeah, sure, a lot of Sexteen is fairly tongue-in-cheek, but it's tongue-in-a-lot-of-other-orifices, too.

Anyway, did I make a point? I don't think so. I think I'm just rambling. Move along.

Posted by Ryan on June 14, 2006 7:33 PM



I think it's the opposite. The indie scene here seems to radiate "sexual vibes" like there's no tomorrow, if you ask me. I would prefer it if the predominant style of music was more soft and lonely and introspective and sensitive, than what seems to be the more popular loud sexy selfish aggressive "cool" sound. A song by Thanksgiving is called "Sad and Dance" and he suggests those are the two types that all songs can be divided into. Although it's nice to be able to 'dance' to a song i'd rather be able to 'cry' along with the lyric. and i think when music contains a sexiness to it it tends to be louder and more confident and aggressive and less profound.

Posted by Alexander Arvelo McQuaig on June 14, 2006 7:06 PM



People don't even have sex in Guelph, so Toronto the Prude is a step up.

Posted by spitz on June 14, 2006 6:55 PM




Zoilus by Carl Wilson