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White Boys, White Noise: Masculinities and 1980s Indie Guitar Rock is a captivating book that explores the complex relationship between rock music and masculinity. As a music enthusiast, I have always been fascinated by the various interpretations of masculinity that exist within the indie rock scene, and Matthew Bannister’s book provides a comprehensive and insightful analysis of this topic.
Bannister raises some important questions about the role of rock music in promoting toxic masculinity and suggests that the alternative presentation of masculinity in indie rock can help combat this. As someone who has grown up listening to indie guitar rock, I have always been drawn to the genre’s rejection of traditional gender roles and its celebration of non-conformity and individuality.
One thing that Bannister makes very clear in his book is just how many interpretations of masculinity exist throughout the scope of indie rock.
He explores the various sub-genres of indie guitar rock, from post-punk to new wave, and highlights the ways in which many of these contexts challenge the patriarchal support that is often associated with rock music. Bannister also notes that the working-class “deviance” that is often portrayed alongside rockers is an unfair stereotype that ignores the diversity of experiences and identities within the indie rock scene.
One of the most interesting aspects of White Boys, White Noise is its exploration of the ways in which indie guitar rock has evolved over time. Bannister traces the genre’s roots back to the post-punk scene of the late 1970s and early 1980s, and shows how it has continued to evolve and adapt in response to changing cultural and social contexts. From the jangly guitars of the C86 scene to the shoegaze and grunge movements of the 1990s, indie guitar rock has always been a genre that is constantly in flux, challenging and redefining itself in new and exciting ways.
As I read through the book, I was reminded of my own experiences discovering and exploring the indie rock scene. I remember spending countless hours in record stores, flipping through stacks of vinyl and CDs, searching for the next band that would capture my imagination. I remember going to shows at small clubs and dive bars, feeling the energy of the crowd as we all sang along to our favorite songs. And I remember the sense of community and belonging that I felt as part of this vibrant and diverse music culture.
Moreover, the DIY ethos of indie guitar rock encouraged a sense of community and collaboration that was based on mutual respect and support rather than competition and aggression. As a young musician myself, I found this ethos to be incredibly inspiring and empowering, and it helped me to develop my own sense of identity and purpose.
White Boys, White Noise is a fascinating and engaging book that sheds light on the complex and dynamic relationship between rock music and masculinity. Bannister’s analysis is both insightful and thought-provoking, and his exploration of the diverse interpretations of masculinity within the indie rock scene is both nuanced and comprehensive.
As someone who has been deeply influenced by indie guitar rock, I can attest to the importance of this genre in promoting a more inclusive and diverse music culture.
If you are a fan of indie rock or simply interested in exploring the intersections of gender, class, and music, I highly recommend this book.
You can grab a copy online here.