More Indie Rock Shirts that Wouldn’t Sell

Desperate for traffic after a week of server issues, the Bureau Staff turns to an area guaranteed to bring in the readers: snarky indie shirts. In this installment, we discuss Scientology, robots, and the nature of human sexuality.

We at the Bygone Bureau strive more than anything to maintain our pristine, independent reputation. So, after noticing the popularity of our previous article, Indie Rock T-Shirts That Would Never Sell, our path was immediately clear. We would carry on with business-as-usual in a muted, dignified manner. After all, it would be tacky and cloying to duplicate our most successful post, especially so shortly after it bubbled up into the internet consciousness.

Then we received a call from our business manager (“Ol’ Stoned Jim”) informing us that our hits were down. We responded the way any literary publication would after learning of a drop in circulation: we wildly scrambled to slap together a gutless retread of our lowest-brow content. When we ran out of marginally funny new shirts, we stole them from this excellent comment thread on Stereogum.com.

Further, we’ve been working to establish a shirt-sellin’ service over at Spreadshirt.com. Please feel free to email us with your favorite designs from either post. Hopefully we’re as bad at titling articles as we are at maintaining our integrity.


Bursting with a new father’s pride at this design, we sent a copy to Natalie Portman for her approval. Her response: “Ripping off Apple does not change my life.” We’ve been on a heavy regimen of Prozac and Smirnoff Ice ever since, which helps explain our recent downtime.


You might be surprised that this design was not shelved for litigious reasons. Neither Beck nor the Church of Scientology threatened to sue us (well, not for this shirt, anyways). Rather, our focus group testing among the Scientologist community showed rock-bottom purchase interest.

Turns out that our problem lay within the teachings of L. Ron Hubbard. It seems that a passage in Dianetics states, very clearly, that there is no conversion in Scientology. Instead, the physic poison that inhabits every person’s mind slowly wanes over the course of a lifetime. Some things, watching Beck play “Devil’s Haircut,” for example, can expedite this process. When this shell of mental miasma is completely eroded, prismatic thought-beams illuminate the mind, allowing a person to see the true structure of the universe, which is an incandescent tree of spiritual lightning.

We tried printing “Beck Facilitated my Ability to Perceive the True Structure of the Universe,” but the costs were prohibitive.


Andrew Bird is the most attractive person who has ever lived. Everybody knows this. Needless to say, after seeing a Bird concert, Bureau editors Kevin and Nick were left with some… questions. Needing an outlet for their “frustrations” and deterred from future Bird shows by a stern restraining order, the editors instead created this shirt.

Interestingly, this shirt failed not for its text, which essentially expresses a universal constant for straight males, but because both birds and scarves were widely decried as cliche. These criticisms generally came from scarved individuals wearing “ironic” Death Cab shirts.

We also circulated alternative designs to cover our sexual bases, but, this being the internet, no one noticed.


This shirt was rejected after we realized a glaring inaccuracy. While it’s true that most of Toronto plays or has played with BSS, we neglected the significant benefit of being able to awkwardly mumble in Feist’s general direction. That’s gotta be worth, what, two or three shirts?


Just because In Rainbows shies away from the political commentary doesn’t mean the years you’ve been listening to Ok Computer and Hail to the Thief have gone to waste. Radiohead’s ideologies are widely lauded, and there’s even a “Myxomatosis” political party in Denmark.

We halted production of this shirt after being informed that Radiohead ideologues would not buy it for fear of being labeled “kicking, screaming Gucci little piggies.” Also, the check-mark as a “V” is just ghastly. Who’s designing these?


Plagiarized gracelessly from Stereogum user Bort, this design, set in lovely Cooper Black against a popular hue of Indie Brown, has become the uniform for Bureau staffers. Of course, due to the status of our Q4 revenue (“nonexistent”), we were only able to afford one shirt per writer. If you ever drop by BB HQ, you might want to bring some Febreze or something.


Sure, they’re not eligible for the Prize in music, since they’re not American, but that’s the worst Pulitzer anyway. We want Daft Punk to be acknowledged for their tremendous literary contributions to the global culture. The complex, well-reasoned criticism of “Television Rules the Nation” expresses an endemic ennui regarding popular media, and the message of peace and unification presented in “Around the World” is powerful and resonant. When we rang Columbia with our nomination, however, we were informed that the prize is not awarded to robots. Expect a major campaign here at the Bureau in the coming months advocating the reversal of this discriminatory policy.


Having utterly exhausted our meager reserves of creativity, we once again dipped in to the well of Stereogum comments. This one was poached from Mrs, whose idea graciously enabled further laziness in the design department. We loved this shirt, as did the geriatric crowd at a Hold Steady show, but when we approached the 22 year-old manager of our t-shirt printer he only said “what the fuck is a Hold Steady?”


A church group stormed our printer as this design went to press, having learned that Butler occasionally sings in French. Police found only battered corpses and broken Chardonnay bottles in the facility.