Indie rock is not dead. People say that it doesn’t occupy the cultural zeitgeist like it did in the 90s; to this I say, fair enough, but neither does Helen Hunt, and the last time I checked she’s still alive. Just because something isn’t at the forefront of the national conversation doesn’t mean it’s ceased to exist. And besides, the wonderful thing about music is that it only takes one song going into the right pair of ears to spark the creation of something new, and the internet allows for an infinite archive to explore. In a world where people still make albums based on medieval hocketing techniques, how could something like indie rock ever really die?
And yet, since indie rock has never been bigger than it was in the 90s, you’ll find plenty of bands mining the sounds of that decade almost exclusively. That’s not necessarily a wrong way of going about it (Bully’s Feels Like, one of my favorite albums of the past decade, sounds like it could’ve come out twenty years earlier), but there’s always the danger of stagnating in a puddle of influences. The key to avoiding that fate is, simply, to have fun. “‘Til I’m A Ghost”, the debut single from the Charlotte-based indie rock band Modern Moxie, is fun, and it’s fun because Modern Moxie sounds like they had fun making it. Rather than a studious attempt to recreate a bygone era, it sounds like a bunch of friends getting together to make the kind of music that they would want to listen to. You can imagine each musical decision coming from one of the band members saying “wouldn’t it be cool if…?” And they’re right–it is cool when the guitars get crunchy and distorted in the chorus, and it is cool that the song turns into a lush, breezy beach-sway in the last forty seconds. There’s something to be said for trusting your instincts.
The voice of Madison Lucas, Modern Moxie’s frontwoman and primary songwriter, is perfect for this kind of song. Reminiscent of Kim Deal’s sweet-and-sour rasp, she sounds like the tomboy she plays in the song’s video, wearing black eye paint and wielding a hockey stick like a polearm. The song’s message is of a piece with that brash, defiant attitude, dismissing all the world’s bullshit (delightfully, Brett Kavanaugh gets named and sneered at like he was some
asshole Lucas went to summer camp with) and focusing on what really matters: rocking out. “All I know is, I only wanna rock and roll/’Til I’m a ghost,” Lucas belts in the chorus, and it’s easy to believe her.
Maybe indie rock isn’t as relevant as it once was, but at the risk of turning everything into a treatise on The Current Moment, there’s something about the spirit of “‘Til I’m A Ghost” that resonates. Yes, it seems like a million awful and infuriating things happen every day, but there’s no point in curling up in your room waiting for the flood waters to rise. There’s still life to live, things to do, dreams to fulfill, and if any of that involves roaring out a commitment to everlasting rock n’ roll, so much the better.
To catch up with Modern Moxie, visit modernmoxieband.com