The thing that many indie rock followers dispute about are posers and sell outs. first i'd like to say that because a band like death cab sign with a big label, their music is still following the same style as it did in their past records.
the other thing that many followers argue about is posers. the indie rock poser is one of two things... 1-the kid who hears about an indie band on tv and begins acting like they have been a follower from the begining... or 2-the indie obbsessor who reads up on bands they don't even like or that don't sound good just because they're indie and they can be added to their iPod to make said kid look more indie.
that being said indie rock is one of the greatest genres of music ever created and i love it.
2000's indie rock-The White Stripes, The Shins, The Arcade Fire, Death Cab for Cutie, The Strokes, Artic Monkeys, Yeah Yeah Yeahs
90's-lo-fi, emo(went mainstream in 2000's), post-hardcore, noise pop, dream pop, neo-psychedelia, shoegaze, indie pop
2000's-garage rock revival, post-punk/new wave revival, freak folk, new weird America, dance punk, indietronica
2. A band that fits under the label 'indie-rock' which nowadays rarely actualy means a band without a record label but instead fits the general 'indie-rock' sound.
Their followers may not necessarily follow them because they like their music but just to be able to have something obscure on their I-Pod and to be able to criticize people who don't like or haven't heard of said band.
If a band manages to sign a record deal or get on a popular radio station they will often loose a large chunk of their fan base who now no longer consider them 'indie' enough for them and will deem them as 'sell-outs'.
Indie-rock is usually simply referred to as Indie.
Keep an eye out for people who want to get attention or be considered 'cool' for liking indie music. People like these are often referred to as Indie Posers or Hipsters. These people fall into two major categories:
1. Those who download hoards of indie rock playlists and keep the songs whether they like them or not. They get great enjoyment from watching their friends scroll through their artists and not recognizing any of them.
2. The people who know only four or five indie bands but still think that they're avid listeners to the music. They get really disappointed when they find out that most of their friends know those bands too. They normally only know one or two songs from each artist.
An example of an Independent band is Hawksley Workmen.
Friend: Oh hey, can I see your I-Pod?
Indie Poser: Sure. But you probably won't know any of the artists, they're all pretty obscure.
Friend: Wintersleep, Arctic Monkeys, Arcade fire, I love those bands. Although a couple of songs on the album Funeral took a bit of time to get used to. What did you think of it?
Indie Poser: Er, what?
-Indie Poser pwnd-
Indie Poser1: Do you know -insert obscure band name here-
Indie Poser2: Duh. Of course. How could anyone not have heard of them?
-Indie Poser1 is now deletes that band from their I-Pod. Indie Poser2 adds their entire album since they'd never heard of them before.
The best way to mess with their minds is to ask them if they know a band who's name you just made up. Wait for an appropriate time after they've agreed they're fans of it to say you made it up. Watch them squirm.