Landfill Indie 2007: Whatever happened to? (1/5)

Part 1 of 5

It’s said that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure yet no matter your views on whether hoarding items from the past should be seen as either memories or clutter, there’s no denying that with the passing of time that often things do gain a much greater sentimental value. From photographs to old CD’s or from birthday cards to even older school books, it’s only years later however when you thank your younger self for keeping hold of what may simply felt like nothing way back in yesteryear. Whether they evoke memories good or bad, we nowadays live in a world where although moments are shared much more via social media than they were perhaps a decade or amongst previous generations but in fact beneath the surface most of our fondest memories may be recorded but only temporarily. A Snapchat can be gone in ten seconds, an Instagram story or Facebook Live stream the same and speaking from my own personal experience, whilst taking the time to record ‘that song you’ve waited all gig for’ or taking a photo of the food you’re about to eat, you can often forget what’s right in front of you and in many ways underappreciated things for the sake of longevity or just a few instant likes on Facebook.

Nonetheless it’s only recently as it nears ten years (TEN YEARS) since attending my first music festival where I have perhaps come that bit more melancholy or more so reminiscent of the past where I too have had that moment, thanking myself if you like for keeping hold of the odd thing here and there which at the time I perhaps considered meaningless. Among an ever growing collection of festival wristbands and numerous gig tickets that I’ve managed to salvage (admittedly far fewer nowadays than in my younger years) lies the very festival programme for V Festival 2007 – a guide that until yesterday I don’t think I had ever even opened but merely kept because my 14 year old self may have wondered whether it would be worth a few quid or two in years to come. Yet whilst hairstyles, fashionable trends and music scenes have evidently changed in the last decade, it is fair to say that perhaps 70-80% of the line-up that year would not be out of place at a music festival this summer with the likes of The Killers, Foo Fighters, Kanye West and Kasabian still going strong.

However what interests me most is that during the mid-naughties, a period often referred to as the peak of ‘landfill indie’, applying the lyrics of Joe Lean and the Jing, Jang, Jong who perhaps best epitomised the sudden rise and fall of a 00’s indie band, ‘where did they go?’. For this reason almost like a GCSE History piece of coursework (which I would have ironically been preparing almost a decade ago) it felt somewhat fitting that in using an almost pristine festival programme as a primary source I aim to scour the many winter 2007 gig listings advertised to try and discover just where this era’s main protagonists are currently at in 2017. For those young and old who found themselves sucked in by a time-warp of nu-rave, indie pop and quite a lot of rubbish, across five different articles looking at five artists in each piece (admittedly an emphasis on the ones I used to enjoy listening to the most) you’re sure to recognise familiar faces and even recall those who have seemingly slipped off the face of the earth… in many ways back into landfill.

So let’s take a trip back to August 2007, starting with Pages 1 and 2 of (see above):

The Maccabees

Then: Just released debut album ‘Colour It In’ during May 2007 charting at Number 24. Singles ‘First Love’ and ‘About Your Dress’ received positive reviews and both charted within the UK Top 40 and the band soon embarked on a tour around the United States with Bloc Party. Upon arriving back to the UK for a nationwide tour of their own, a sell-out show at the Roundhouse in London perhaps typifies the band’s rapid rise to prominence over the course of twelve months.

Now: Album Wall of Arms was to follow two years later in 2009 and peaked at Number 13 and in 2010 The Maccabees were given the honour of headlining the NME Awards Tour on a bill that included Bombay Bicycle Club and The Drums. By this point already with a huge following, their follow up album ‘Given to the Wild’ was to be their most successful debuting at Number 4 on the UK Album Chart and was later certified as gold in the UK. Their fourth album ‘Marks to Prove It’ released in 2015 however would later prove to be their last as the band called time on their career after 14 years together in the band.

What next? At least from my perspective The Maccabees were a relatively slow burner and in many ways parallel to Foals. With the passing of time, their quality was realised by a much greater audience without ever really reaching Glastonbury headline status. Nevertheless the sheer response to The Maccabees decision to split perhaps summed up their impact on music lovers of the 00’s generation, many left incredibly downhearted as they announced plans for their final farewell. Their final live performance came at the Alexandra Palace almost a month ago and at least for now, The Maccabees are no more.

Justice

Then: Perhaps known more for their luminous crucifix more so than their music, it was down to their debut album labelled with the very crucifix which gained the French duo the exposure that they needed. Their album was preceded by the famous ‘D.A.N.C.E EP’ and the title track was later nominated for Video of the year at the 2007 MTV Video Music Awards. Festival appearances at Coachella, Sonar and Oxegen gave Justice the platform to bring their mix of electronic-rock and house music to a much wider audience and ultimately set them on their way for much greater things.

Now: Ten years on whilst Justice have only two more albums to their name with the 2011 release of ‘Audio, Video, Disco’ and last year’s ‘Woman’, you’re still sure to find Justice rocking up at some of the biggest festivals across the world often in headline spots on a festival’s respective dance stage. Still with the famous crucifix intact as very much a part of their live set, having only seen Justice live just over a month ago, it’s safe to say that their music has aged like a fine French wine, leading both young and old to move their fee and watch their live performances.

What next? Given the way that dance music tends to evolve much quicker than perhaps other genre’s, it is difficult to even predict where Justice may end up in another decade let alone in the next five years. Since their latest album release was only one year ago you would think that there is a strong possibility the French pairing will continue to tour their 2016 release for the foreseeable future before thinking about a return to the studio, but who knows?

The Hoosiers

Then: In many ways the band those into much heavier rock music loved to hate and even in February 2008 named as Worst Band at the annual NME awards, there is however no disputing The Hoosiers’ popularity at least in 2007. Their album ‘The Trick to Life’ debuted at Number 1 with tracks ‘Goodbye Mr A’ and ‘Worried About Ray’ reaching fourth and fifth respectively in the UK singles chart. Meanwhile this very album had sold in excess of 650,000 copies in the UK as of April 2014 – Impressive.

Now: With the benefit of hindsight it would appear that the infamous ‘second album syndrome’ damaged the band significantly as The Hoosiers struggled to return to anywhere near the popularity they had experience only three years before their release of album ‘The Illusion of Safety’ in 2010. Perhaps partly down to the time left between each album combined with the eventual death of the ‘landfill-indie’ scene, The Hoosiers fell as quickly as they rose and despite still listed as an active band on Wikipedia have barely been heard of since a decade ago.

What Next? For up and coming bands it would appear that there is and has always been a fine line between what can and what should be achieved. Do you keep all credibility as a ‘serious rock band’ and avoid any association with the popular music charts or to alternatively embrace popularity and ultimately accept a change in original direction for the inevitable financial rewards? In the case of The Hoosiers you do fear that in opting for the latter it sadly killed off their chances of returning to the underground indie, even pop scene if you like back in 2010, returning into a very different music industry to what they left in 2007. But what’s the ‘Worst Case Scenario’, a 10 year reunion tour this year? Get it booked!

Kate Nash

Then: Bursting onto the music scene back in 2007 after famously gaining popularity through MySpace (remember that?), singer songwriter Kate Nash’s rise to prominence was also very fast. From signing to Polydor offshoot Fiction Records in April 2007, a mere two months later single ‘Foundations’ which to this day still gets radio airtime peaked at number two in the official UK Singles Charts. Such popularity led for her debut album ‘Made of Bricks’ to be released early in August 2007 and despite an initial leak to a file sharing network provoking both The Independent to suggest it was in ‘pole position for the worst album of the year’, Nash once again proved to be successful reaching Number 1 in the UK Album Charts.

Now: It’s fair to say that following her debut album and a brief romance with The Cribs lead singer Ryan Jarman, Kate Nash’s approach to future recordings quickly changed. Whilst debut single ‘Do-Wah-Doo’ from her follow up album ‘My Best Friend Is You’ in many ways continued from where Nash had last left off, the rest of Nash’s music has been described as a ‘wide variety of sounds from ‘Motown to No Wave’. Again due to a changing music scene in the UK but perhaps more down to Nash’s radical change in genre, her success in the public eye was never to be the same again at least in the UK despite success in both Germany and the United States.

What Next? After Kate Nash was dropped by her record label after a disappointing return from her highly anticipated second album, it has in many ways been refreshing to see an artist embrace their true feelings and musical inspirations without fear of merely living up to a stereotype of what once was popular. Inevitably artists change from song to song, album to album and Kate Nash is in this way no different. Perhaps it was her debut album which resonated most potently with the British public but given that Nash continues to not only make her own music with what seems like complete freedom and no restrictions and seems incredibly happy in doing so, don’t expect her to disappear any time soon!

Reverend & the Makers

Then: When you think about the rapid growth of indie music in the 00’s, it is very difficult not to think of the city of Sheffield, not only the home city of the Arctic Monkeys and the roots of where Milburn first burst into popular indie music but also down to John McClure otherwise known as ‘The Reverend’. Their debut album gave the British public a little introduction to ‘The State of Things’ and helped McClure and his band gain instant success, epitomised by single ‘Heavyweight Champions of the World’ reaching the UK Top 10 on 2007. Further singles ‘He Said He Loved Me’ and ‘Open Your Window’ were also released in the same year as Reverend and the Makers asserted themselves in a vast wave of indie music being created up and down the country.

Now: Somewhat surprisingly to those who have perhaps took their eye off the likes of Reverend and The Makers and other such bands who in many ways may be seen to have had their fifteen minutes of fame, the band are set to release their sixth album in September this year ‘The Death of a King’. Undoubtedly their four album releases which followed their debut never reached the heights of 2007 but their ability to continue producing as much music as they have done and for as long is highly impressive in a time where many bands merely give up or result in being cast by the wayside.

What Next? Although you perhaps wouldn’t first think of Reverend and The Makers as one of the more iconic indie bands not only coming from the UK but also Sheffield during the 00’s generation, there is still a good chance of being able to tick The Makers off your bucket list given the number of festival appearances and live performances they continue to make even now in 2017. And whilst it is highly unlikely to ever imagine McClure’s band nowadays headlining a festival any bigger than a much more local, small to medium sized event, it is to their hard-work and credit that they continue to achieve much more nowadays than their once competitors in 2007.

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