Monthly Archives: December 2010

THE AGE OF INDEPENDENCE.- The Seventies


We are in dead time. The week between Christmas and New Year when the mass hysteria of joy is over and the anxiety of New Years Eve begins. It’s also the week the music dies: Just look at what’s out this week, Ne-Yo, Tinie Tempah, The Wanted and Alfie Boe (yeah? me neither). The Xmas temps on the High Street haven’t even been told whether to still play Xmas Songs or start on Princes 1999.

Catering for the doldrums has been 6 Music; a station, according to some, dedicated to dancing on Peel’s grave by exploiting his name and playing all the pop indie-by-numbers hits you’ve ever heard. The ones Peel throws out to the throng once they’ve been found. However, this is no bad thing. No one will ever be John Peel, the same as no one really likes everything he played. The people who mock 6 Music for its popularist leanings, are the same indie elite who think of Peel only as obscure indie and  DIY god, forgetting the Gabba, World, Reggae, Techno etc. Yes, it’s cool to like small, obscure unheard DIY bands, but it’s not cool to only like them. Some times it can get a bit, you know, Sci-Fi! Quite often, the reason obscure indie bands stay obscure and indie, is because they’re shit. Where the clever part comes in, is knowing which of these groups are actually good, and which are, well, accountants nowadays.  Liking a band because they only released a 100 issue 7 inch in 1988, is exactly the same as liking Tom Cruise because he’s in films. TOLD.

Anyway, to make us feel less guilty for still drinking winter Pimms too early, 6 Music has been dedicating each day to a decade from the 70s, to the noughties. The tracks have been nothing surprising. Go to any indie disco, especially one of mine, and you’ll hear most of them, but they’re good to hear every now and then. They’re classics that have shaped our indiepop. Blisters in The Sun, Animal Nitrate, Only Living Boy in New Cross, Suedehead, Touch Sensitive, the list goes on, are all mainstream indie songs played up and down the country, yet we still love them. And so we bloody should. Our heroes all write brilliant pop songs, better that the toss in the charts, and that cannot be a bad thing. We may have heard them time and time again, but hearing the Ewok groans of Cannonball still tantalises our ears, the bass rumble of Public Image rattles our soul.

Aware of this, 6 Music has been reminiscing over these songs we love, with some added rarely heard gems, causing arguments because they haven’t played any Prolapse or are playing the wrong Jesus and Mary Chain Song. Never one to miss a flogged bandwagon, The Guild, drowned in tea and gin, has put together it’s own take on the decades; 10 songs which embody a certain feeling of a decade. They may not be the best songs, but they are songs which teleport you back to a time before the Kings of Leon. Good times, which sowed our own age of independence.

THE 70’s

The Guild wasn’t alive in the 70’s so it’s a bit like looking at Romans and picking the best bits: I quite like the Aquduct and Gladiators, but I’ll forget the Slaves and the whole Jesus thing.  Therefore, it’s got to be songs that make us feel 70’s. It’s electricity free, riots in the streets and a bit of casual racism, so what do we want to hear.

Spotify Link

10-David Bowie- ZIGGY STARDUST

This guitar riff makes you wish you were your dad. When he first heard it, it must have been amazing. You can imagine running to the local C&A to ditch your denim jacket and get a spangly cat suit. Walking into the Working Mans Club to get half a mild and tell your dad that you ain’t going down the labour exchange, you’re off to the city to get eye liner and a healthy drug habit.  That is the power of this song, it changes lives, it teleports you. You really are a spaceman.

David Bowie – Ziggy Stardust by Itubaina Radio Retro

9- Roxy Music- VIRGINIA PLAIN

The accessible side of Prog, and avoiding the camp plod of Glam, in three minutes. It’s amphetamines to the post Hippy skag, Punk before the fourth chord was banned. It attacks like a sequined Moog from Venus with all the asexual tension of the first underaged glimpe of the Joy of Sex. Bringing synth’s to the fore it creates a new style of music which flies against all the free love and rural idyll of quasi spiritualism. It brings a realistic hope to an industrialised society which is fuelled by power. The very same electrical power which pumps through Eno’s synth’s.

8-Suicide -CHEREE

If Kraftwerk gave electronic music a fur coat to prance down the street, then it’s Suicide which mugged it and brought it down to the sewer. Not taking it to the extremes of Throbbing Gristle, but twisting the reverb and slowing the rhythm to a monotonous drone. Rocket USA is a perfect album veering from the Punk angst of Ghost Rider to the disturbed repetition of Frankie Teardrop. However, it’s gentle Cheree which truly casts electronica in a new light, manipulated to create actual songs. Using Synthesisers to create a soundscape over which almost crooning vocals present lust and fantasy. It’s a deeply seedy song, we’d expect no less, but it’s the fist time we see electronic music shying away from roboticism, sci-fi or industry, allowing No Wave to compete with the Carpenters rather than the Velvet Underground.

Suicide – Cheree by jordiguzman

7-Joy Division- DEAD SOULS*

A parting shot from a decade which died. The county’s a rioting mess, the lights are only just coming back on, Badder Meinhof still on the loose and Nixon isn’t in jail. Glam rock had been colourful propaganda to stop you looking away from Top of the Pops, and even the rebellious virility of Punk is turning into cod-rock cliché through the Rich Kids and Who Killed Bambi. It’s takes a derelict slum north of Liverpool to provide a voice for the times. Ian Curtis encompasses the despair felt on the streets, away from the Morecambe and Wise radiation, the realisation of life being nothing more than a terraced house, having a kid in your early twenties and the dole. The rhythm thunders of lost industry with pained vocals crying for help which comes in the form of Thatcher.

*Although released in 1981on Still we can safely say it’s a 70’s song, so bite me.

Joy Division – Dead Souls by concharrita1

6-Sex Pistols- HOLIDAYS IN THE SUN

Facts and time lines don’t matter: of course the Sex Pistols invented Punk. The whole Ramones, New York Dolls malarkey over the pond was just a small fad of Monkeys wannabee’s and preppy mammy’s boys, Right?

The stomping intro of Holidays in the Sun opening Nevermind the Bollocks is call to arms for an army of pissed of kids gathering to smash the system. Anarchy in  the UK and Pretty Vacant were the airdrops of leaflets warning civilians to leave, indicating intent, but shock without the awe. It’s only with the Blitzkrieg (Bop) of Holiday in the Sun’s barraging can we see the world changing and finally break free the nuclear family’s dreams.

Sex Pistols – Holidays In The Sun by Itubaina Radio Retro

5-Clash- WHITE RIOT

With Brixton on fire and the Flying Squad recruiting from James Bond henchmen it’s the turn of middle class white kids to rebel. In a time of political and economic oblivion the slightest ember could set society ablaze and White Riot provides a blow torch to the fuse, generating an excuse to leave the home-counties for an Earls Court squat. It’s a two minute epiphany that everyone can be politicised, not just the disadvantaged or Telegraph readers. Being essentially a young middle class rant, the effect soon wares thin when something new to blazon their rebellious colours comes knocking; in the Clash’s case reggae, giving a more accomplished musical sound. Eventually, Mick Jones would refuse to play it due to its musical ineptness, but for a brief period White Riot was the sound of British youth against society and its influence inspiring for decades to come.


4-Jimmy Cliff- THE HARDER THEY COME

Away from the darkness of crumbling New York basements and three day Britain, the film, The Harder They Come gives us, sunshine, short sleeves and edgy excitement, and the soundtrack is a joyous relief from NATO rock. As the Hippy dream dies we see a hidden truth behind drugs, and its certainly not all piece and love. Forget the paddy field war of Nam, there’s war on the streets of the colonies and we’re given a no holds barred vision of utopia. The Harder They Come shows music as a way out, and that sometimes heroes can be the bad boys.

3-Patti Smith- PISSING IN A RIVER

This song makes me cry, it’s just wonderful, and sees Patti Smith in fully-blown poetess mode. A shift away from the poppy accessible Horses, this is a somewhat indulgent track, mid temp and a bit rock opera, but allows Patti Smith to develop her vocals and concentrate in delivering her message. Essentially a song about love and its confusions and exciting risks, it puts raw emotions into a superficial music scene. While all contemporaries around are braking things down and looking at a raw truth, Pissing in a River creates a true American epic soundtrack while kicking dirt in the face of AOR.

Patti Smith- Pissing In A River by Jen JP

2-T Rex- METAL GURU

Handing over the musical baton from 60’s peace and love to 70’s glam indulgence, Metal Guru is the bridge between the Beetles and Bowie. First impressions show it as a Glam rock epic, an anthem for platforms and spangles. However, on deeper inspection we see a deeply spiritual song seeped in religious mysticism. Talk of a “Silver studded sabre tooth dream” puts the new glam image on a pedestal to be feared, yet intriguing, and combines the festival romanticism of freedom within a new urbanised showcase. “All alone without a telephone,” is Marc Bolan crying out for someone to be the leader for the new pop culture, a godliness  necessary to take pop away from previous mistakes and provide a new guide for emerging  possibilities.

1- Ramones- SHEENA IS A PUNK ROCKER

Pop music is at its best when it’s pure and simple, unadulterated by passing fads and technical wizardry, a whole unit without fault. It’s even better when it oozes iconography and has an identifiable heritage, reenergised and for the now. This is why the likes of Yes and ELO were joke bands for old hippies, they fail on all of these counts. So why do four lanky yanks qualify for the greatest song of the seventies?

The simplicity of Sheena is a Punk Rocker is stitched straight onto the biker jacket, 1,2,3,4 and a 4/4 rhythm, a couple of chords and a voice. Nothing else is needed. It’s a proper band song, a gang a movement. Tapping into American culture, its takes the Surfing, Beach Boys of the 60s, chucks in comic books and 50’s sci fi TV shows, and creates a brand new punk rock template. Musically there is nothing groundbreaking, Rick Wakeman eats it as a snack, but Ring-A-Ring-A-Roses is simple and everyone knows that. It’s down to this simplicity that the infection occurs. Aggravated by a catchy as hell chorus it consumes you, tweaking your DNA until you’re Sheena herself.

To complete the transformation you need the iconic look, over thirty years later sunglasses and leather jackets are still the coolest. Jaunty fringes and plaid shirts are ok for current thirteen year olds emos, but it won’t last. Get yourself a Ramones look and you’re hipster king. Nothing compares and it’s certainly not a fad. The Ramones iconography is Andy Warhol, it’s Bogart with a cigarette, it’s Mona Lisa’s smile.

You want to be Sheena. You want to fuck Sheena. You crave to hang out with Sheena She is aspiration, desire, lust and inspiration. She is Holly Golightly in a leather jacket, living only in our hearts. Sheena is a Punk Rocker is not a song, it’s an idea, and ideas always live on.

Time moves on so pack away your flares and get out your Shell Suits. The 80’s on their way.

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THE NORTH WILL RISE AGAIN?

Scrutinising end of year polls is the Christmas wrapping paper of indiepop: Inevitable, wasteful, essential and quickly discarded. Some elegantly tied with ribbon and bows, whereas most are bog-standard Tesco joblots with hodgepodge Scotch tape. It’s what is done with the ravaged remnants on Boxing Day which really matters. The correct thing is send it to the recycling man or horde in a drawer for prosperity, like grandad, but to do this with end of year polls would be appreciating The Big Fat Quiz of the Year returning, again.
NO WAY, screw you, live in the past eco lobby. 2010 is the cast of Skins getting the Clap and being replaced the bed wetting and frigid 2011. Fresh but inexperienced.

The clumsy foreplay of Boxing day has been pimped out with teasers to loosen the juices for two “major and eagerly anticipated” releases of 2011. Manchester groans with gratification at the discharge of Elbow and Beady Eye material on YouTube. The North can finally reclaim its virility which had been hustled by southerners with waistcoats and ukuleles or yanks with a hint of sunshine. Now, like the Sun page three returning on a Monday after two days away, the eyes of indie are ogling the city of ghosts.

Elbow- LIPPY KIDS
Lippy Kids is the first taste of Elbow’s forthcoming Build A Rocket Boys-(March 7th). It pays homage to the delicate history of melancholia with a background synth’ from Joy Division’s Atmosphere or any track from Spiritualised’s Pure Phaze, and borders on the Sigor Ros. A gentle whistling melody haunts between unmistakable pirouetting vocals with the ability to crescendo without epic pomposity. It shows Manchester as a fragile city, boarding an unsure future: As gentrification peaks, the cuts come. The tickets have been collected and upgraded to first class, but after tunnelling the indie scene and then embanked onto the mainstream, the sidings are avoided, but it’s hard to see who else is going to join. Lippy Kids is a chance to take stock and accept the North is cold, but under its serious exterior, this industrial power house has a human and warming heart. A port and lemonade to a Bombay Bomb.*


Beady Eye-FOUR LETTER WORD

I’m sorry but they are asking for it aren’t they. It’s a big red fucking button or Julian Assange with a secret file. I really want avoid using a “Four Letter Word”, artistic integrity says don’t do it, the writers book of music clichés even calls it a pariah. But I must…. NOEL….
This song is a cry for help from four kids whose best mate has got a girlfriend and may have touched a boob, while they’re getting cheap thrills from looking at a risqué She-Ork in the Dungeons and Dragons hand book. Noel must be laughing at his minions as they try and play grown up without him.
It’s directionless pub rock fodder from musicians who really should know better. Thousands of college bands have written this song in an attempt to keep it real and plods like a swagger-by-numbers dad rock cliché. If Elbow are the serious thinking side of Manchester, Four Letter Song is knickers around the ankles, lager and rose, slags ‘n’ lads swagger of a Manchester Saturday night. It’s everything you avoid on the way to the Star and Garter.

It is a very modern record though. It makes you reminisce about better times: Gordon Brown was alright in hindsight, as was The Hindu Times. Now we have a coalition of half arsed songs, the ego hungry and a fool: Andy Bell could have taken his leave, made up with Mark Gardner, reforming Ride to mass adulation and respect. All would have been forgiven. Instead he’s done a Clegg, given a chance and spoilt his respect. #andybellsfault
Four Letter Song appears on Different Gear, Still Speeding-(February 28th)

John Robb said about Manchester, “It’s a city of poets and outsiders, romantics and lunatics; it’s a city of high drama and great songs, bedsit poets and opinionated gobshites shouting from the everchanging rooftops.” (The North Will Rise Again, 1-2, Aurum Press, 2009), and we see from Elbow and Beady Eye that these essential contrasts are present and true: Guy Garvey being a romantic poet, and Liam Gallagher the lunatic gobshite. Their styles prove the everchanging nature of Manchester music, with Elbow being the cult band working to earn the mainstreams trust, and Beady Eye being the epitome of what was once great, fading and turning to parody.

One thing John Robb doesn’t convey about Manchester is beauty. Even the gentle rhythms of Elbow are rooted in misty industry rather than shimmering forestry. To add beauty to our lives we need to head south I’m afraid. It’s as if the M6 and M5 are there purely for the kick start of 2011 indiepop. If Boxing Day’s teasers have been the foreplay then the pre-Christmas release (December- 20th) of a new PJ Harvey track has been the date and the first kiss.

PJ Harvey- LAST LIVING ROSE

Reinventing herself again, this second preview of Let England Shake-(February 14th) see’s Polly as a traditional English songstress with a muted guitar reminiscent or the early 4 Track Demos. Gone are the extremes of the previous two LP’s, this is not a faded piano ballad nor a rawkus guitar fuck you. Instead we have a Lo-Fi Canterbury Tale complete with a mediaeval tribal drum intro. It shows an environment of simple pleasures free from the contradictions of the city. It’s a song of Southern beauty, of orchards and meadows. There’s nothing wrong with identifying the North South divide, even British Sea Power left the Lake District for Brighton.

We will have heard the first song from Let England Shake already. Written on the Forehead is a song like no other. The Lady of the Lake rising from Avalon handing us the New Sound without the Mighty Boosh funk. Full of Cocteau Twins ethereal vocals and subtle New York block party samples. Finally we are given an excuse to disregard all of 2010’s polls.

WRITTEN ON THE FOREHEAD
Written On The Forehead by pjharvey

Boxing Day’s tasters have shown us what’s in line for 2011 but it’s a sign of desperation releasing them today. The Elbow song is brilliant but by no means exciting or essential. The Beady Eye track is plain awful and neither would be of any note if it wasn’t for sites like The Guild avoiding TV and conversation all day, and paying attention to them. If this is the sound of 2011 than we as well be like grandad and horde those end of year polls.

I, however, have it down to the post Christmas, pre NYE lull, compared to the advent calendar excitement. Beforehand everything is exciting and the future is twinkle dust and spangly bubbles, whereas Boxing Day is the snowy sludge of worry before a major anticlimax. The taster we already had was flirting with the office temp’, exciting interesting and daring. Why spoil that with a drunken fumble with the cat lady in export at the office party. Keep your standards high. Keep PJ Harvey in your heart and ignore the Radio 1‘avin’ it large, shout outs from oop north.

The North will rise again, but not in 2011. Its merely giving a semi compared to the bulesque of Southern delights on offer.

*Bombay Saphire Gin and Jagerneister- shit yeah.

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THE GUILD TOP 50 SONGS OF 2010

This year we have mostly been Indiepop. Some fantastic gigs, starting with These New Puritans and ending with The Yummy Fur, but what’s been more important are the actual songs.

2010 hasn’t been a year for your big band names and dance floor killers. The masses have stuck with their Kings of Leons, Muses and Kasabians, but we know better. It’s actually been an amazing year for songs, as such we present our top 50 of 2010. There are some notable exclusions, Johnny Foreigner and Blur narrowly missed and PJ Harvey doesnt really count as this year but will probably top 2011.

So here you are, The Guild starts with what has passed…..Enjoy.

Listen on spotify (except for three tracks)

SDB’s Top 50 of 2010

50- Vaccines- Weckin Ball (Ra Ra Ra).

This makes me feel like Gary Glitter having a dirty little secret. Honestly, I do hate it and know I shouldn’t, but sometimes it just feels so good.

49-Chapel Club- All the Eastern Girls

A great radio song, but I have a niggling feeling they’re really a trendy Keane. I’ve got secret gossip about the drummer.

48- Cloud Nothings- Didn’t you.

A perfect pop number crossing They Might Be Giants with the Pixies. This American  newcomer Dylan Baldi will be fucking huge next year.

47-Mona- Trouble on the Way.

Pretty much the new Kings Of Leon, as such I can’t like them. This song is a damn catchy rock record though so it’s here on merit but from now on all acknowledgement of Mona is banned.

46-Miles Kane-Inhaler

At the Great Escape a few years back Miles Kane band The Rascals replaced Santogold on one of the stages. I was gutted and they were shit. The Last Shadow Puppets was pretentious toss that makes Gorillaz look edgy. So imagine my surprise that the new Paul Weller wannabe’s effort was pretty decent and well structured. There I said it, well structured. Plus Leighton Baines likes it.

45-Twin Sister- All Around and Away We Go

Will always be in the shadow of Warpaint but this is so smooth it can nuzzle its way between the sheets of the closest lovers and not leave seedy risqué thoughts.

44-The Crookes- Back Street Lovers

Jolly simple indie pop is always awesome and this songs makes one smile every time. Has a perfect cheeky pause to make the DJs nervous and the listener extra excited.

43-Count And Sinden- After dark

Another excuse for an indie dance crossover but actually pulled of pretty well. It used to get the kids dancing but has quickly died away. Expect a career of trudging remixes.

42-Kele-Tenderoni

It sounds like Mason’s Exceeder and that was an awesome tune. The only reason why its here.

41-Broadcast 2000-Rouse Your Bones

A quirky little number with xylophones, crashing cymbals and strings building into a folk jamboree, proving there is still life in waistcoats and ukuleles.

40-Cults-Go Outside

The echo, fading Hammond, and dusty electronica transports you to the foot of Brooklyn Bridge; Manhattan lies ahead but your loft, your pals and your Macbook are behind you in Williamsburg. Turn around, head home and freak out.

39- Silvershock Stardust

A fantastic electro pop record with hints of Blondie’s Rapture in there. A ray of electro sunshine in an often grey and saturated genre, from the remnants of We Start Fires.

38-The Duke Spirit-Everybody’s Under Your Spell

A rare opportunity to hear a decent guitar riff at the core of a song. A fine rock song built on layering, and a fade out. It arrives, it kicks ass, than saunters off like spellbound lovers parting on a drizzly Parisian morning.

37-Futureheads-Heartbeat Song

Remember when you were 14, going out with your first girlfriend, heading to gigs so amazing you’re not even bothered about a lack of beer. All you need is to sit cross legged near the front hoping you can get the set list at the end. Remember how fun and exciting it was. Listen to this and you’re back there.

36-Field Music Effortlessly

On a pretty much overrated album the simple groove of Effortlessly leaves one rewarded and thankful that there’s a genuinely likable track to play again. The second half breaks in to the best bits of The Week That Was album and shows the excitement that can be there, sometimes.

35-Fiction-Big Things

Such a simple melody, with confidence to leave space in the mix. Its’ a fine example of a modern folk song using technology and discordant post punk playing to great effect. Heavily influenced by Brooklyn bands, with an added traditional Englishness.

34-Gruff Rhys-Shark Ridden Waters

I admit bias, this man can do no wrong and here’s a fine example of basic song crafting and melody. Random samples of shop till, seagulls and squeaks, rather than distract, add a unique modern view of a 60s influenced Merry Melody.

33Laura Marling-Rambling man

Rather than written, Rambling Man was found in Avalon amongst the mist, the breeze and the dawn. It’s always been there waiting to be roused. It eases in to the psyche taking you back to a utopian fairy tale of cider rivers and cherry rain.

32-School of Seven Bells-Windstorm

Basically an urbanised Cocteau Twins without the fairy wings. However what this achieves is the beautiful sound of hipster Angels getting with technology and using and Iphone4 face to face app rather than flying down to visit.

31-Sleigh Bells- Infinity Guitars.

This needs to be loud. Distorted guitars, heavy as fuck drums recorded in a tin can in a Chilean coal mine, or something like that. It’s dirgy, it hurts, and it just keeps on barraging you with beats. It’s exactly where music should be heading towards, on a crash course to 2011.

30-National-Bloodbuzz Ohio

A pretty serious and big effort here which keeps on building like Nick Cave’s Mercy Seat, but with out the bleak, druggy edge. Gently crooning as the music flows around it headed by militant drums, the songs takes us into sidings to pull ourselves together after seeing the dark tunnels of imagination.

29-Caribou- Sun

Decent dance music is in a more dire place than indie at the moment. Still feeling battered after the pounding R&B gave it to become the council estates genre of choice, it had to find solace in pop pap Calvin Harris toss or really bad electro crossovers. However, there are people out there looking to the root of dance, and taking it back to chilled techno at a sun rise. Sun is by no means an original track, but what it does is reinvigorate dance. Stealing from Aphex, the Orb, and FSOL, but adding the lessons learnt from the noughty electro wars, it’s gathering a new tribe sick of dancing to another Soundcloud fucking mash up. Sun put’s you on Glastonbury Tor, out of season but thankful you’ve taken the pilgrimage. Enjoy before to gets all Radio1.

28-The Fall- Mexico Wax  Solvent

Nothing can be said about The Fall, you know what it will sound like. Here they’re in six minute, trudging ranting mode. There’s no build up, no respite, Just classic hypnotic Fall enveloping you with teasing tickles of xylophone and reverb through ten rounds of Tyson bass.

27-Sparklehorse & Dangermouse-Little Girl

A beautifully simple ditty perfectly crafted by Dangermouse with using a Sparklehorse toolbox. Julian Casablancas provides his typical give a shit drawl but, unusually, keeping interest to make it to the end.  Always provides a sad smile knowing Mark Linkous can’t create any more perfect pop.

26-Slow Club- Giving Up On Love

Ok the album came out in 2009, but it was a single in 2010 so it counts. Sorry, no arguments. It’s my list and I love Slow Club and this song is amazeballs.

25-Tindersticks-Peanuts

One of the slower tracks from their return to form album Falling Down a Mountain. It’s a typical dark, bar room love duet identifying the smallest aspect of what love is and what it means to be with someone.  It’s positively jolly sad song for the Tindersticks and is the best song about Snoopy!?!?!

24-Allo Darlin’- If Loneliness was art

Bringing the twee back into indiepop: Jangly and gentle with LaLaLa’s, one listen makes you want to cycle to a picnic with a Dansette and a gingham cloth, wearing a neckerchief of course. It’s the loveliness of May morning on 7inch.

23-Sky Larkin- Angelica Houston

Indie goes stadium with a singalong stomper, ideally heard mid afternoon at Reading, you know when that view towards the NME tent gets dusty. Less guitary and reliant on the rhythm and a Hammond. It sees Katie turning trying to muscle her way higher up the pecking order and hang out with Courtney and Juliet.

22-Black Keys Tighten Up

A more adult and accomplished groove blues sound, built around song craft and commercial aim. With an intro straight out of a bad US sitcom purposely added to be reused on,..bad US sitcoms…and rake in the royalties, they’re able to play bigger venues and more audiences. One song, job done.

21-Maximum Balloon Groove me

Absolute brilliance. Spaceships are powered by this as it approaches Earth. Little squeaks over a rumbling engine detect life forms, getting louder as it passes the moon. Scanners doubleover seeing so many cities and power sources as it finds somewhere to land. The quiet descent is greeted by little people with guns and war and pain and hate expecting war of the worlds. Realising a world of Vampire Weekend and Biffy Clyro isn’t what was expected, the Spaceship takes off with one last glance back. Earth doesn’t deserve Groove Me, we’ve done too much wrong. Please come back, take us with you we can’t stand more Florence.

20- Darwin Deez- Radar Detector

The unlikely hero of 2010, with synchronised dance routines in the live set, and album of pure joy, he’s created this years indie disco anthem. Unashamedly dancey and fun in an indie climate where everyone’s afraid to dance, Radar detector is the ultimate cross over track without even trying.

19-The Pains Of Being Pure at Heart- Heart in your Heartbreak

If the Dandy Warhols had stuck with their Duran Duran fixation and tried writing decent songs then we may not have needed The Pains of Being Pure at Heart. Instead this song is essential indiepop itching for a remake of Pretty in Pink to soundtrack. It has all the hipster kudos with the pretention replaced with melodies.

18-Yeasayer- Madder Red

To be honest this band bugs me and I don’t want to like this song. I want it to be midtempo mediocrity. Unfortunately for me it actually quite epic; Genesis drums and squelchy bass with prowling sincere vocals. It’s a blatant attempt as mass appeal but, so what is worked on me. I won’t take any notice of the rest of Yeasayer, but this song’s simply a belter.

17-Crystal Castles-Baptism

Electro so heavy the vocals are buried deep below with no escape. You can’t tell whether Alice is pleading to be rescued or seriously pissed off. As with all good techno it goes a tad cheesy and bleepy but degenerates into filth. You need cleansing after hearing the devil speak to, but Baptism won’t help, you’re just left disturbed.

16- Male Bonding- Years Not Long

Everyone loves noisy indie punk. Nothing better than snotty young upstarts with a fuzz box and amps so shit they need to be loud. Melody and technique are all very MOJO so I’m going to jump into a mosh pit throw myself at fat kids and love every minute of it.

15-Dutch Uncles- Fragrant

All a bit angular and XTC to start with before going a bit Ear Drum Buzz era Wire. Can obviously widdle those guitars for England but refuse to go off all guitar solo on us. Instead it’s a battle between guitars as the rhythm ejaculates.  I want to see great things from these next year, and judging by the album sampler, ooh lala.

14-!!!-Jamie, My Intentions are Bass.

Still keeping the disco funk spirit alive after the likes of Radio4 and drummers, (Oi don’t- Bad Taste Ed) have fallen, it is unsurprising the bass which makes this song. It could easily be a forgettable funk opus if it wasn’t for the best breakdown this year; When bass key change on the bridge superpunches your face towards the speakers, is simply awesome.

13-The Neat-In Youth Is Pleasure.

More cocky young upstarts this time grounded in synth rather than punk. Ministry to Male Bonding’s Melvins. Hailing the virtues of being cheeky bastards and not giving a shit this burst of energy is a better fuck you to Skins culture than any Facebook group.

12-Archie Bronson Outfit- Magnetic Warrior

Magnetic Warrior is a brooding monster of a track which skips the elves and goblins bollocks, in fantasy stories, skipping straight to the wizard versus demon, fire and lighting excitement. Working with Tim Goldsworthy has added a dirty disco element to their stoner doom punk and Magnetic Warrior has a guttural repetitive groove which infects the mind and grips your lungs. It’s as if the air is toxic from the filth from the bass and the rhythm skips around, watching as you’re consumed.

11-Veronica Falls- Found Love in a Graveyard

Latest bearers of the Indie standard with a classic two boy two girl line up. Resurrecting the ghost of c86 Found Love in a Graveyard has been created from different organs of current indie and with the ashes of Sarah Records. Powered with a lighting bolt of spellbinding song writing an indie creature has risen to haunt our hearts. Rarely has indiepop embraced goth but this jangly stomp isn’t scared to throw new styles into their twee cauldron.

10-Seal Cub Clubbing Club-Made of Magic

Starting with a fog horn bass dirge, mayhem quickly ensues with scattergun vocals and skiffle band rhythm. The Mark Freegard TK9 mix adds an extra anxiety to the track with a short robotic middle period to straighten your hair before jumping in the mixer again. Hi-Nrg indie crossover which can still break new ground for them.

9-Standard Fare- Philadelphia

Laid back indie pop from this Sheffield three piece gently oozes in with talk of missing loved ones and how hard it is to be parted. Nothing cynical, simply being in love and wanting to be with them. It’s difficult to know that someone you care for could be having more fun, and refusing to admit the inevitability. It’s something we’ve all experienced  but Standard Fare identify the frustration of not knowing what to do and realising you could be wrong. Simple quiet loud, quiet loud song about being a teenager in love. Beautiful.

8-Edwyn Collins-Losing Sleep

Fantastic to see Edwyn returning with what is his best song since Rip it Up. The brief intro sets the tempo for the song before the energetic chorus kicks in. It’s a statement of intent from the out.  Spelling out, “All the things I treasure, All the things I miss, about my life,” it’s nothing short of a miracle that he wants to share what he’s been through in the only way he knows. There’s no digression from his style, the Big Star and 60’s influence is a badge and the “Do Do Do” backing vocals exhole his love for pop songs. It’s beyond fashion and cynicism and just a wonderful song. Indiepop is a better place because of him.

7-Los Campesinos- Romance is Boring

The undisputed kings of indiepop, yet this years album was criminally under appreciated. Romance is Boring is a football chant for those that read for fun rather than kick leather for fun, filled with a gang mentality that has discovered a weakness in culture and needs to tell everyone. Where most lyricists use shit 6th form poetry and couplets, Gareth uses prose. The CD inlay reads like an essay and is only comparable to fellow Welshie Ricky Edwards in expanse and insight. Romance Is Boring sees Los Campesinos more grown up and less buttons and cherry pie but also sets a new barrier in song writing for themselves.

6-These New Puritans- White Chords

The most accessible track on Hidden by far, sees TNP more early Aphex Twin than tribal big band. The melodic space achieved comes as a sanctuary from the venomous attack (music) of the rest of the album, a window of melancholia with vocals bordering of tearful. The stark contrast of White Chords immediately thrusts at you and as such has to be the stand out track from a perfect album.

5-Deftones- Do You Believe

Deftones are cool, they give the hipsters an excuse to go to Download without having to admit to once being their 13 year old metal self. Not only that, but they actually, really are awesome and this Cardigans cover sees them harking back to the Around the Fur era sound; simple, repetitive and fucking heavy. Chino’s vocals sound mellow and vicious producing a very adult and accomplished metal track.

4-War Paint-Undertow

Despite being a rip off of Nirvanas Polly, this is just a wonderful laid back song for times when excitement has been cut back and we need to take a deep breath and look for the positives around us. If they played this to the Met Police before demo’s, then they may be less worked up and inclined to batter people cleverer than them with sticks.

3-Abe Vigoda-Dream of My Love

Arguably the most claustrophobic song of the year. It feels like it’s only held together by a fading Casio keyboard and about to implode from the mass of its tension. Sounding like the Associates twisted by the Hadron Collider this will be the anthem of the 80’s Goth revival. It’s a genuinely scary track which cocoons you and shits your comfort zone. Pure cutting edge genius.

2-The Walkmen-Angela Surf City.

Now come on lets be honest, who’s been following The Walkmen’s career since Little House of Savages, and even then we resort to The Rat instead. Hearing the thundering repetitive power behind THOSE drums on Angela Surf City however, is the musical equivalent of the shot of adrenalin scene in Pulp Fiction. It reminds us of how good strangled screeched vocals can be and why we’ll all be saying we were fans of The Walkmen through all their records.

1-Best Coast- Boyfriend.

Not since Bryan Wilson skipped though San Francisco has a song embodied so much of summer. Every line takes you to June afternoons, the air hazy with pollen and sensi, a new found love on your arm and meadow shimmering in the distance. It’s perfect indie, not too cool nor quirky, hardly fashionable, just kicking back with some pals and a few records, pretty care free. Beautiful indiepop to remind you of wine in the park, essential to lighten up these dark and cold… end of year polls.

So do you completely agree or have I got it spot on? Leave your comments abuse and suggestions.

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