Library of Congress

Authorities & Vocabularies

The Library of Congress > Linked Data Service > LC Subject Headings (LCSH)

From Library of Congress Subject Headings

Lo-fi (Rock music)

  • URI(s)

  • Instance Of

  • Scheme Membership(s)

  • Collection Membership(s)

  • Variants

    • Lo-fi music (Rock music)
    • Lo fidelity music (Rock music)
    • Low-fi music (Rock music)
    • Low-fi (Rock music)
    • Low fidelity music (Rock music)
  • Broader Terms

  • Closely Matching Concepts from Other Schemes

  • Sources

    • found: Work cat.: Beat Happening (Musical group). Beat Happening, 199-?
    • found: Oxford Music Online, viewed Jan. 14, 2016Blur (In 1997 the band effected a volte face and embraced the slow, grunge-influenced 'low-fi' American sound of such artists as Pavement and Beck)
    • found: Beat Happening (Musical group). Black candy, c1989.
    • found: Beck. Mellow gold, p1994.
    • found: 94752443: Tall Dwarfs (Musical group). Hello cruel world, p1988.
    • found: AllMusic website, Aug. 25, 2015:Pop/Rock > Alternative/Indie Rock > Lo-Fi (During the late '80s and early '90s, lo fidelity became not only a description of the recording quality of a particular album, but it also became a genre onto itself. Throughout rock & roll's history, recordings were made cheaply and quickly, often on substandard equipment. In that sense, the earliest rock & roll records, most of the garage rock of the '60s, and much of the punk rock of the late '70s could be tagged as Lo-Fi. However, the term came to refer to a breed of underground indie rockers that recorded their material at home on four-track machines. Most of this music grew out of the American underground of the '80s, including bands like R.E.M., as well as a handful of British post-punk bands and New Zealand bands like the Chills and the Clean. Often, these lo-fi bands fluctuated from simple pop and rock songs to free-form song structures to pure noise and arty experimentalism. Even when the groups kept the songs relatively straightforward, the thin quality of the recordings, the layers of tape distortion and hiss, as well as the tendency toward abstract, obtuse lyrics made the music sound different and left of center. Initially, lo-fi recordings were traded on homemade tapes, but several indie labels -- most notably K Records, which was run by Calvin Johnson, who led the lo-fi band Beat Happening -- released albums on vinyl. Several groups in the late '80s, like Pussy Galore, Beat Happening, and Royal Trux earned small cult followings within the American underground. By 1992, groups like Sebadoh and Pavement had become popular cult acts in America and Britain with their willfully noisy, chaotic recordings. A few years later, Liz Phair and Beck helped break the lo-fi aesthetic into the mainstream, albeit in a more streamlined fashion.)
    • found: Unterberger, R. Unknown legends of rock 'n' roll, ©1998:t.p. (lo-fi mavericks)
    • found: Wikipedia, Aug. 25, 2015:Beat Happening (Beat Happening is an American indie pop band formed in Olympia, Washington in 1982. Beat Happening were early leaders in the American indie pop and lo-fi movements, noted for their use of primitive recording techniques, disregard for the technical aspects of musicianship, and songs with subject matters of a childish or coy nature.) Beck (Beck Hansen, known by the stage name Beck, is an American singer, songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist. He rose to fame in the early 1990s with his lo-fi, sonically experimental style) Tall Dwarfs (Tall Dwarfs are a New Zealand rock band formed in 1981 by Chris Knox and Alec Bathgate who, through their do-it-yourself ethic, helped pioneer the lo-fi style of rock music)
    • found: Wikipedia, Aug. 25, 2015:Lo-fi music (Lo-fi (from the term "low fidelity") is lower quality of sound recordings than the usual standard for modern music. The qualities of lo-fi are usually achieved by either degrading the quality of the recorded audio, or using certain equipment. Through the use of these degradative techniques, artifacts are created as a byproduct of the recording process itself that may be used in conjunction with the musical aspects of the recording in a similar way that musique concrète may juxtapose traditional musical sound and "concrete" sound. Recent uses of the phrase have led to it becoming a genre, although it still remains as an aesthetic in music recording practice. The aesthetic of lo-fi music often contrasts that of mainstream pop by being somewhat flawed but at the same time embracing those flaws, claiming they give low-fi a more honest and unpretentious feeling. Many lo-fi artists use inexpensive cassette tape recorders or low-quality commercial digital recorders to achieve the desired sound. ... As a term to describe a musical genre, lo-fi is mainly associated with recordings from the 1980s onwards, when cassette technology such as Tascam's four-track Portastudio became widely available. Prime early exponents included Daniel Johnston, New Zealand band the Tall Dwarfs, who recorded on Chris Knox's 4-track and released on Flying Nun Records, The Bilders (period 1978-81), who recorded in a bedroom, Beat Happening and the Olympia, Washington label K Records. In the early-mid-1990s (1991--1999), lo-fi found a wider audience with the success of such acts as Aphex Twin, Beck, Blur, Enrico Curreri, Sebadoh, Guided by Voices, Smog, Spookey Ruben, Mercury Rev, Sparklehorse, Spare Snare, Pavement, Modest Mouse, Neutral Milk Hotel, Operation Ivy, Rooney (UK band), Liz Phair, Will Oldham, Yo La Tengo, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Ween, David Kilgour and later (1999--2003) The Microphones, Elliott Smith, The Apples in Stereo, Dr. Dog, The Olivia Tremor Control, Elf Power, Beulah, Of Montreal, Mike Rifone, Sufjan Stevens, Joanna Newsom, Iron & Wine, Tame Impala, The Shins and Boards of Canada.)
  • Change Notes

    • 2015-08-26: new
    • 2016-02-14: revised
  • Alternate Formats

Suggest terminology

The LC Linked Data Service welcomes any suggestions you might have about terminology used for a given heading or concept.

Would you like to suggest a change to this heading?

Please provide your name, email, and your suggestion so that we can begin assessing any terminology changes.

Fields denoted with an asterisk (*) are required.