Samantha Spaccasi continues to explore artists who shape and push the boundaries of a genre.
The DIY scene holds a special place in my heart. For me, the thriving underground indie scene is a reminder that the legacy of punk’s democratic, egalitarian principles is still alive and can function in a neoliberal, capitalistic society. Even though I’m not in a band, the ethos of DIY encouraged me to start my own blog and be a music critic. While some would argue that the scene is becoming largely homogenous and stylistically rigid, and it’s true that some bands and artists are lured into the trap of making music that sounds exactly like the work of Mac Demarco and other lo-fi artists, there are some who are doing pioneering sound work in the DIY community while also working to radically reshape it. For many people, the DIY community can be a difficult space to navigate. I’ve read many books on the American indie underground, and I believe this phenomenon can be pinpointed to the fact that DIY shows became spaces where toxic masculinity ran unchecked. As Sharon Cheslow brilliantly stated, “Although many of the females have just as much anger, it [isn’t] socially acceptable for us to release. The angry young boy thing [is] very romanticised. Angry young girls [are] a threat.” Historically, DIY spaces haven’t been very welcoming to women, femmes, trans people, or people of colour. And while strides have been made in making the scene more inclusive, as a community, we still have a long way to go towards dismantling oppressive power structures that do exist and are present in our shows, stores, and publications.