Whither Indie?

What is indie now that Death Cab for Cutie, Animal Collective, the Shins, and TV on the Radio are part of the mainstream cultural conversation, making inroads on the Billboard charts and scoring award nods? Jordan Kurland — who heads the Noise Pop festival along with founder Kevin Arnold and, for that matter, manages Noise Pop vet Death Cab — definitely has pondered the question. "It would be interesting to do a chart on how many bands that played Noise Pop have won Grammys," he muses. Every year he and Arnold reassess whether to continue this clear labor of love ("We don’t make money," Kurland confesses. "We haven’t cracked that yet."), and this year, despite the tough economic environment with the number of shows contracting and the event’s music industry conference expanding, the two decided to hold steady. "We’re still here championing independent culture," Kurland affirms. After all, "now we’re so close to 20. And then once we get to 20, it’ll be, ‘But we’re so close to 25!’ We just really love it. The community still cares about it. And we’ll be inspired as long as people show up for shows and keep talking about it."

NOISE POP ’09 — which includes a film fest, art exhibits, and a craft fair — runs Tues/24–March 1 at various venues. For the complete schedule, go to www.noisepop.com