Unlike all of the above, Cut Copy have stumbled across the ideal mix of sincerity of emotion (without being too earnest), gorgeous production, giant, danceable house beats, DJ æsthetics, indie-rock guitars, and retro-fitted callbacks to nearly every era of danceable indie. It's a formula that not only has taught the indie kids how to dance again but has brought electronic heads back into the fold of rock clubs. For every rock purist I know who's dancing at clubs now, I know another DJ type who was welcomed back into rock rooms by Cut Copy's connective genre tissue. This gateway is a revolving door.
Alex Frankel, of Holy Ghost, who've just released a sexy-smooth collection of indie electro-disco gems themselves, and who'll open the Cut Copy show this week, says the credit is twofold. "The four-on-the-floor thump you now hear all the time in indie rock is there, in large part, because of the DFA." The message of all of their records, Frankel continues, has been: " 'Hey kids, it's okay to dance!' It's now so common in indie rock."
Fair point, but what about Cut Copy? "Cut Copy is a band making dance music. Not dissimilar to what New Order or Talking Heads or LCD Soundsystem have done. They're not DJs, but their shows are as fun as going to a dance club. The fact that it's good music surely helps, but making Sonic Youth–style guitar noise over what are essentially club tracks does seem to trick the indie snobs into dancing."
Evan Kenney of Boston's dance/indie crossover Bodega Girls might not have ever started his band if it weren't for Cut Copy. "I don't know many bands that have had such an impact in both worlds simultaneously. I can't really think of anyone that has had more of a similar impact since New Order."
Asked about Cut Copy's influence on his own danceable electronic pop, Sam McCarthy of Kids of 88 from New Zealand (which is practically Australia, right?) says it's hard to define genres like this. "Indie is such a diverse genre . . . but I do feel there will always be a dance aspect involved. Whether it's grunge, angular, post-punk, or disco, there will always be experimental and creative bands that produce music in order to make people move their bodies."
I tossed this notion at Cut Copy bassist Ben Browning. "I hear that a lot," he tells me. "That the great thing about the band is that it has that kind of entry point for people who are more interested in guitar music, or vice versa. You can come out on the other side and find interest in the opposite genre that they may not have been so much into. I actually always wonder what split our fans would be, approaching the band from a dance-music background or a more classic-rock or indie background? I don't know, I always say it's 50/50, but maybe in the States it's a little more indie-guitar-rock background."
Distinguishing among genres seems like a common conversation for Browning, especially dialogue about the hyphenated hybrid genre. "I guess it's become more of its own genre now. More than five or 10 years ago. There is a distinction between them, maybe, but pure dance music and pure rock indie-guitar music and what we do — and I guess there other bands that fall into that category now — to me it's just kind of indie popular music but with bigger beats."