Decades from now, our descendants will look back at us with envy. Much like we look at the quaint village green war memorial, the overgrown cricket pitch, the abandoned Our Price, and dream of a simpler, more naive time, our children will look back at 2006 - 2009 with wonder, because those three years were a golden age. They were an age of innocence, when, 250 years after the birth of Mozart, a new musical beast stalked the cultural landscape, jangling out of car FM radios up and down the nation and showing that foppish, precocious Austrian what the second millennium was all about. This musical behemoth was landfill indie.
In a post-Libertines world, with the accessibly accented Arctic Monkeys' star shining bright, a host of suburban guitar bands emerged waving barely unpackaged Fender Squires. Looking like they'd signed an exclusive sponsorship deal with Next (circa 1994), in relaxed fit jeans and drab, zippy fleeces, these bands produced gloriously drab, banal songs whose lyrics made it seem they were in competition to prove the overwhelming ordinariness of their lives.
Landfill indie was the music of the boom years, our very own Roaring Twenties. The worst of songs were hysterically praised by the NME, whose circulation was closer to 100,000 than it probably ever will be again. Even if, no, especially if you came from a nowhere place like Staines, Rothwell (?) or Dundee (???!), and could write a three-chord song about the local kebab shop or the print queue on the office photocopier, then nothing other than a very tabloid form of gaudy glory could be yours. If you were indie enough, then you might even be able to make it onto that counterculture stalwart, Celebrity Big Brother...
To fuel the nostalgia, and keep the dream alive, here is a trip down landfill indie memory lane:
#10 - The Rakes - 22 Grand Job
Classic stuff from the pre-internship age, when most people would've thought that "Lehman Brothers" was probably the name of some 1960s soul group. I hope they're all line managers now, or something.
#9 - Razorlight - In The Morning
"Huh!" "Heargh!" I still can't quite manage it. Whatever, Johnny Borrell deserves some recognition for his single-handed invention of the all-white baby/manchild onesie.
#8 - The Pigeon Detectives - Take Her Back
Chanty back of the cab wisdom, awkward northern faces appearing randomly in the background, this song really delivers. An anthem for the visually impaired / people who thought "Lolita" was a self-help book.
#7 - Little Man Tate - Sexy In Latin
A rhyming dictionary for the blind.
#6 - The Courteeners - Not Nineteen Forever
You're not nineteen forever. Really they could've released this song reworded for every age up to like 120.
#5 - Hard-Fi - Cash Machine
Here are some extracts from the NME's if anything, too understated, 9/10 review of "Stars Of CCTV":
"Hard-Fi know that, in 2005's wilderness of Blairite betrayal, they are the voice of the new 'Ghost Town'"
"Screw all your 'traditional values' and 'decent working families' bullshit, Mr Blair, here's the news: Hard-Fi are England"
"'Stars Of CCTV' is more than a mere pop record: it's the handbook of a mongrel generation"
"Album Of The Year"
#4 - The Ordinary Boys - Talk Talk Talk
I imagine the writing process went something like:
Enter stage left, Ordinary Boy 1
OB1:"How's the weather?"
OB1 and OB2 in unison: "THAT'S GENIUS!"
#3 - The Enemy - Away From Here
This goes out to all the kids at public school whose escapism was dreaming ahead to the gap year in Thailash soundtracked by "Jack Johnson"
#2 - The Automatic - Raoul
So good they released it TWICE. "Their... unique selling point is their keyboard player [the screamy one]: soon all bands will have an Alex Pennie," threatened the ever sagacious NME, before calling the lyrics "heartbreaking".
#1 - The View - Same Jeans
There they were, the glory years. But don't cry too hard. We still have this, so stick that up your Marcus Mumford!
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