From Academic Kids

Template:NPOV Though the term crusty was only ever used half seriously by the British music press, as it is a very vague term relating to the dilatory personal hygiene habits of the crusties themselves, it is referred to by this term by the majority of the indie community. The scene came in part from the free-festival scene, itself a descendant from the Counterculture of the 1960s, and is as tied into the New Age movement as Grunge was tied into Alternative culture. The scene began forming in the late '70s, cementing itself throughout the '80s and achieving a small level of commercial success in the very early '90s.

One of the first bands that displayed elements of crusty was English Anarcho punks Crass. Their uncompromising, at times preachy, political stance as well as their communal life style had a large impact on a small number of people, especially in the south of England. Probably the first crusty band to be signed to a record label was New Model Army. Their music combined traditional folk music with the anger and politics of Punk rock and the band earned an incredibly loyal following in England.

The late '80s saw the formation of The Levellers, a band much like the New Model Army in both style in attitude. Like many other crusty bands, they were environmentally aware and planted trees to make up for the damage done by their touring.

The other usage of crusty is somewhat incorrect but is generally accepted. It applies to poppy, indie rock bands that achieved a small level of success at about the same time as the 'true' crusty bands. These bands were labelled crusty, the strictly correct term being grebo, because of their image and it's similarity to the 'true' crustys and are often thought of negatively by both fans and critics. Many of the bands had grungy, ratty hair (usually dreadlocks) and wore grungy, dirty clothes. Live, they were not showmen, instead concentrating on the quality of their playing. In this way they were similar to the shoegazing bands of the time. They also toured in transit vans, playing literally hundreds of gigs each year but selling few records apart from the rare Top 20 hit single. For example, Stourbridge band Ned's Atomic Dustbin, were dropped by their label due to a lack of interest.

Both strands of crusty achieved a brief period of chart success during the very early '90s. The so called 'true' crusty bands achieved their success mainly because of their devoted following, with The Levellers getting a few Top 20 hits during this period. However, the success of the so called 'fake' crusty bands like Senseless Things was mainly due to much coverage (some would say hype) in the NME and the Melody Maker. Due to the 'fake' crusty scene and the shoegazing scene emerging at almost exactly the same time, the Melody Maker referred to both scenes as "The Scene That Celebrates Itself." This is because many of the London based shoegazing and 'fake' crusty bands (as well as well as London based proto Brit-pop bands like Blur) went to each others gigs.

List of crusty bands


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