White Noise8 Founders of Indie Rock (Photos) Alyssa Noel06.08.12White Noise8 Founders of Indie Rock (Photos) From the dB’s to Dinosaur Jr., how these alt-rock pioneers signed onto small record labels and inspired a new music scene.Alyssa Noel06.08.12 11:26 PM ET8 Founders of Indie RockBy Alyssa Noel Obscure bands signing to small record labels changed the landscape of music and ushered in the indie era. In an essay on the new book, Big Day Coming, I trace the story of Yo La Tengo, and how its scrappy do-it-yourself dedication anticipated today’s music scene. From the dB’s to Dinosaur Jr., here are seven more pioneers of the genre and how they inspired and kickstarted the scene. GAB Archive, Redferns / Getty ImagesThe dB’sThe North Carolina transplants cultivated an audience—Yo La Tengo’s Ira Kaplan and Georgia Hubley among them—in the dingy clubs of late 1970s New York. Chris Stamey, guitarist for the power-pop group, lived with Kaplan for a time in a two-bedroom Hoboken apartment where “only cockroaches could live in the kitchen,” according to Kaplan. © B. C. Kagan / RetnaThe FeeliesFamous for their indifference both to touring and practicing, the New Jersey rockers formed in 1976 in a burst of inspiration following a Modern Lovers’ show. Adverse to Manhattan where guitarist Glen Mercer once told the New York Rocker, “You just can’t breathe,” the group frequently played Maxwell’s, the venerable Hoboken haunt, before disbanding in 1992. R.E.M. and Yo La Tengo both cite the group as a major influence. AP PhotoR.E.MAfter incessant touring, the Athens, Georgia quartet became the first college radio darlings to break into the mainstream. By the 1990s, they had gone multi-platinum, paving the way for indie rock and punk groups to garner fans far outside their insular scenes. Jim Steinfeldt, Michael Ochs / Getty ImagesThe ReplacementsThe Minneapolis alt-rock band didn’t sell a lot of records, but their blistering live sets and scrappy, emotionally charged songs have made them legends. Credited with influencing everyone from indie mainstays Wilco to the bratty pop punk act Green Day, the band is truly a pioneer. Jessica Stein / RetnaSonic YouthFormed in New York in 1982, the loud, raucous quartet went on to become college radio stars, though they never cracked the top 100 on the music charts. In their formative years, the band performed at Ira Kaplan’s weekly Music for Dozens event (three bands for $3) at the Folk City concert venue. Ed Sirrs / Retna UKYo La TengoFormed in Hoboken in 1984 by husband-wife pair Ira Kaplan and Georgia Hubley, this guitar-driven experimental rock group with a fondness for jangly fuzz has had a long and rather unglamorous career and allegiance to small do-it-yourself record labels, which foreshadowed an endless stream of scrappy, hardworking rock bands that were among the first to grapple with transitioning to a post-album world. Liz Clayton / Antietam.comAntietamLike Yo La Tengo and Sonic Youth, the band included wife Tara Key playing guitar and husband Tim Harris on bass. (The pair would eventually move to Hoboken and become longtime friends with Kaplan and Hubley.) The band, originally from Kentucky, joined the first wave of indie rock with their loose, searing tracks. Chris Taylor / Retna UKDinosaur Jr.Among the loudest acts in the genre, frontman J Mascis formed Dinosaur Jr. (initially without the diminutive, before it caused legal problems) with high school pal Lou Barlow in the mid-1980s. Their infamous tower of amps and distorted wall of noise once prompted Kaplan to encourage the group to turn down the sound so the crowd could hear the songs more clearly.