A certain amount of time ago that feels like last week, Liverpool Sound City announced the third addition of artists to the line up. Now, it’s a week later (you could have worked that out), and I’m still as excited an A&R who’s just met a band of malleable, integrity-lacking, but good looking indie lads with guitars and that, so I was forced to conclude that whether or not you’re up for the trek up to Liverpool, spilling some words on 5 of the most en-vogue and exciting British indie artists, and, err, the Young Knives, just couldn’t be a bad thing to do.
Moshi Moshi have an extensively brilliant roster, but we have to be honest, and as soon as we saw the words ‘Moshi Moshi showcase’, two words sprang to mind – Trophy Wife. Then some more did, like ‘soaring’ and ‘ambitious’ and ‘melodic’ and ‘we honestly don’t care if they sound anything like Foals, nothing has been more exciting in 2011 with the exception of Charlie Sheen’, but then, you probably know the standard Trophy Wife descriptions by now. If not, they took a step further into realising potential and proving expectation with the release of the “The Quiet Earth/White Horses” single on Monday, and you should definitely listen to it if you have any interest at all in soaring and ambitiously melodic indie that sounds quite like Foals. Here’s an indication of its quality: we bought it. With real money that was spent slaving away in a kitchen whilst being forced to listen to Robbie Williams. Hard earned cash, in other words.
Dutch Uncles confuse us, but in such a way that we’re only fascinated by their apparent attitude that typical song structures just aren’t a good idea. You get the feeling that if they met Brandon Flowers they’d dismember him and make sweet music with the severed results. Off kilter drums still drum and bright guitars still guitar, but in ways that few others have even considered. Track by track, they’re proving that their left-field approach to guitar pop makes perfect sense, if you think about it. And if they kill Brandon Flowers in the process, we’ll definitely buy their album.
Indie credentials are earnt in a variety of ways. For instance, my fringe is so long that it falls into my mouth with the minimum of effort (this doesn’t impress as many people as it should do – do they know how many months of doing nothing this requires?), but, at the moment, there is no quicker way to find yourself onto the page of every left-of-mainstream media than being from Oxford and saying the words ‘Blessing Force’. Fixers, though, have been carving psychadelica-tinged indie-epics into the city long before it started becoming so popular. BBC introducing slots have turned into 2-page NME features, and even features on Not Many Experts, and with support like that, well, superstardom beckons. Maybe not, but there are only a few Fixers songs circulating, so if you really want to know where they’re going to end up in the economic hegemony of indie bands, you’ll just have to come and see their live set yourself.
Young Knives probably aren’t cool, which could be a problem because we kind of think we are, but surely it’s even cooler not to care and like un-cool bands? Isn’t that the whole premise of being truly indie? Someone ask Joe Lean, we can only aspire to be that cutting edge one of these days. Until then, we’re happy to admit that their fantastically English and eccentric debut, the musical equivalent of chatting to a druid in a pub over a pint of fish & chips, was one of our favourite albums back in the day. But then we also liked the Pigeon Detectives… This is yet more confusing than Dutch Uncles. Their forthcoming album has been talked up a lot, and is being billed an experimental step away from their rather conventional second album, so we’ll just have to get along to see them to work out whether they’re an embarrassing piece of our past or part of our musical upbringing. We’re leaning towards the latter, based only on the completely shockingly superb (shocking only in that it is so, so superb) new single, “Love My Name”.
Possibly the only indie artist to be catapulted into underground hip-hop’s consciousness due to a complicated similarity to the Gang Wolf hip hop “crew”, which is apparently a computation too far for some Tyler the Creator lovers. They’re not big fans of his chart-bound (surely?) singles, either, which is understandable – he doesn’t even threaten to kill Bruno Mars or any others who are already up there in those charts, but his truly unique voice and contagious choruses are threatening to get him there, regardless. This video of him performing his next single “Dancing With The Devil” with Kyla la Grange should remove any doubt.
If “Lately” isn’t UK grime’s own “The Next Episode” by the end of this year I’ll… Do absolutely nothing, except be quite shocked. I’ll probably get over it, mind, but I find it unlikely that I’ll have to; the combination of his DIY credibility (he found his latest self-released EP in iTunes’ album chart simply through word of mouth), contemporary production, and “Lately”s accessibility will appeal to everyone but the most close-minded. Catch him here for the price of the festival wristband before you have to excavate £20 and spend the night in the company of 13 year old girls (that is not supposed to be appealing, and if you disagree, you’re either 15 or a paedophile) in order to see him.
Just as a sign of how seriously his label are taking him – I tried to upload “Lately” to SoundCloud for you, and it was pre-emptively blocked, which is something I’ve never seen before. Clearly, they’re expecting to make a load of cash from the track, and why shouldn’t they. Listen to it here, instead. Or even, this one.
Looks like you’ll be needing a festival wristband, surely?