You're sick of digesting mainstream, overproduced drivel from the likes of MTV and the local "be-caller-100" pop station. You'd like to be edgier and more "underground" - or at least you'd like to pretend you're both those things. The only trouble is, you don't know where to begin. Being in-the-know about independent rock music - a.k.a. "indie rock" - can seem like an overwhelming task. Indie fans often come across as if they belong to some sort of secret society, frowning upon all those poor, ignorant souls who just don't "get it" when it comes to music. Lies. We're here to tell you that you too can be a hipster. By learning the basics of what the indie phenomenon is all about, you should be well on your way to passing yourself off as a die-hard fan.

By the way, we should probably warn you that we're assuming you have at least some musical savvy. We're about to make lots of references to bands, albums and record labels that aren't exactly household names. So if obscurity scares you, save yourself the trouble and click here.


To begin a sham indie rock education, you might be tempted to think you should go buy some indie rock records. Don't be a fool. There are several personal actions you must undertake before bothering with the music itself. After all, part of being an indie rock expert is having the image that goes along with it.

  • The first thing you should do is alter your bathing habits. By no means does that mean you should develop a complete disregard for hygiene, but you might want to cut back on the frequency with which you wash your hair. The "bedhead" look is too obvious, but a modified bedhead with a greasy sheen to it will have you blending right in with the crowd at the indie rock show.

  • Next, think about your shirtwear. An old undersized T-shirt is a safe bet, but it should be some vibrant color - green, orange, and yellow are all good choices - never white or black. White is gauche, and black is too glamorous, too L.A. Generally speaking, the shirt should look like something you would find at a thrift store, but it shouldn't look like you bought it at a thrift store.

  • Got a nice car? Good. Lose it. If you want to be indie rock you can't drive a car that has fewer than 100,000 miles on the odometer and had an original sticker price of more than $20K. As a rule, money is antithetical to indie rock. Unless you are Matt Groening, it's hard to make piles of cash when you are a clever cynic (as most indie rockers like to think of themselves).