As quickly as five artists emerge from the Indie Landfill of 2007 it really isn’t long before at least some fade back into the distance and say goodbye to their fifteen minutes of fame for another decade before another five rise to the occasion, rearing their head and reminding us of a golden age of whatever you want to label pop-rock, industrial music or glamorous indie rock and roll. In chronicling some of the biggest stars of the indie music seen circa 2007 our trip down memory lane has seen us rediscover The Hoosiers, be pleasantly surprised by Reverend and the Makers and almost shed a tear a la tissue shoulders after The Maccabees called it a day almost a month ago. Inevitably as artists, trends and music scenes come and go, it was somewhat pleasing to see Justice perhaps stronger than ever whilst Kate Nash’s ten year anniversary tour of her Made of Bricks album release makes looking back to what in time may be viewed as the growth of a subculture within a generation through indie music somewhat more poignant.
Returning to the holy grail in the shape of a V Festival 2007 programme’s gig listings, let us once again travel back ten years to see our next five nominees poking their head through the indie landfill of yesteryear and whether and see just where they are ten years later.
Then: Giants in the world of indie music come the mid 00’s, by 2007 had become a household name. After their debut album ‘Silent Alarm’ reached Number 3 in the UK Albums Chart back in 2005 before being certified platinum as well as becoming the NME’s 2005 Album of The Year, Bloc Party received universal acclaim and went on to sell out shows across the continent and further afield in the United States. Notable tracks Helicopter and Banquet continue to this day to played on radio stations and indie disco’s across Europe and their status as pioneers of the British indie music scene was further heightened following the 2007 release of ‘A Weekend In The City’ which also proved incredibly successful.
Now: It’s fair to say that following the release of ‘A Weekend In The City’, the benefit of hindsight tells us that the band were most certainly in a state of flux. At Number 2 in the UK Albums chart for their 2007 album accompanied by selling out even greater venues across the world in the months that followed, electronic song Flux was a very different approach by the band and stood out in comparison to previous releases from the group. And although Bloc Party continued to tour and felt under no obligation to release further music, speculation suggested such a change in musical direction had created factions within the band and a number of line-up changes from 2013 onwards with both the band’s drummer and bassist leaving within quick success best highlighted this.
Although Bloc Party continues to function actively as a group, their success since 2008 has never been rivalled again. It is unfair to say that since a decade ago Bloc Party have disappeared given the band’s attempts to release new music in recent times but sadly very few of their recent releases have met the acclaim of their first two debut albums. Likewise with lead singer Kele going solo and the band undergoing significant changes in its line-up, it is difficult to predict whether Bloc Party will one day rise again but with such a creative yet unpredictable lead singer at the helm anything is possible.
Then: The three piece group from Wakefield that largely stood in the shadows of the Kaiser Chiefs in the years leading up to 2007 slowly began to make a name for them following the release of The New Fellas which to this day is highly regarded as one of the bands most important pieces of work. Nevertheless at least in the public eye it was the band’s release of Men’s Needs, Women’s Needs, Whatever which to this day is most associated with the group, producing a number of standout singles ‘Mens Needs, I’m A Realist, Be Safe, Our Bovine Public, which still to this day are still played regularly on national radio. Aside from the music a number of erratic on stage performances often leading to chaos and carnage also helped The Cribs stand out from the crowd in what as an overcrowded indie music scene in the mid 00’s.
Now: Returning to roots and experimenting with new concepts is often the conundrum group’s face in following up a successful album such as ‘Mens Needs, Womens…’ but at least for The Cribs their discography tells a tale that no stone has been left unturned having experimented with both. Their 2009 album release ‘Ignore the Ignorant’ saw Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr join the group for several years to produce a highly underrated album that despite alters their original sound of the first two albums does however nicely follow The Cribs most popular album release in 2007. Similarly the bands upcoming 2017 album ’24-7 rock star shit’ not only sees The Cribs return to their gritty, industrial and raw sound of the first two albums but answers the question they asked themselves back in 2007 – Don’t you wanna be relevant? The Cribs most certainly to do so.
Life may be made of stars and moving pictures but what’s the difference if you’re a realist. The Cribs original sound, hard-working attitude and appreciation of playing live, loud and loving doing so has kept the band so relevant in 2017. Keeping true to their original sound despite the odd experimentation, The Cribs have never conformed to the mirror kissing ways of the hipster type and thankfully for them, they are not in trouble now. And I’m sure I like many others continue to have their eyes on them now, don’t you know? Woah, ah, oh….
Then: Previously known as Pilot, The Pride or Snowfield, adoring indie fans in the mid 00’s knew them as Editors and thanks to their iconic debut album ‘The Back Room’ the band soon became symbolic of the indie movement through singles ‘Munich’ and ‘Blood’ which again are played often more than ten years later. ‘Munich’ was perhaps the hit that gained Editors the acclaim they deserved for their debut album which was met with widespread commercial success, giving Editors their first Top 10 single and helping push their album to Number 2 in the album charts before becoming platinum not so long after. A series of high profile festival shows was to follow as Editors were at the very top of their game, typified by the success of their follow up album An End Has a Start which reached Number 1 in the UK Album Charts in June 2007.
Now: Following the usual album tour and string of accompanying festival dates which follow and in many ways postpone the production of a new album for a good few years, it was perhaps when Editors announced a change in direction for their next album in order to pursue a ‘new, rawer sound’ where the cracks had begin to form and that their end was starting at this very point. Although their third album once again peaked at the top of the UK Albums Charts, in the years that followed their third album release in 2009, Editors seemingly disappeared from popular music, not helped in many ways by the departure of Chris Urbanowicz and that their album took much longer than their previous three to produce between 2011-14.
All things considered Editors never reached the dizzy heights of 2005-07 once again but remain active and could well return for a string of anniversary shows some time soon. Their early releases remain iconic for their ability to transform industrial music into indie dancefloor classics and despite their relatively low profile in recent years, the critical acclaim and strong success enjoyed by the band in the mid to late 00’s will always be remembered as will their consistently sold-out tours and numerous high profile festival slots over the past decade making Editors as important as any other band in the land of landfill indie.
New Young Pony Club
Then: Before Two Door Cinema Club and Bombay Bicycle Club, the only club around were New Young Pony Club. In the midst of a turning tide of indie music that through the likes of CSS and Hadouken was slowly encompassing influences from the world of dance and electronic music under a sub genre labelled ‘nu-rave’, New Young Pony Club in their own words tried not to risk becoming too close to the sound of any other band, ‘marrying the dance ethic with the pop ethic and make something that you can dance and sing along to’. They did just that in 2006/07 and enjoyed success with the release of ‘The Bomb’ and ‘Ice Cream’, the latter reaching Number 40. Yet despite their lack of chart success which the band put down to not having ‘desire to make radio friendly singles’, they did prove incredibly popular within a fragmented indie music scene.
Now: Just like Bebo and MySpace, as the 00’s indie music scene began to wane at the turn of the decade, so did New Young Pony Club being replaced by Two Doors and even Bombay Bicycles. Their second album ‘The Optimist’ in 2010 followed their successful release ‘Fantastic Playroom’ in 2007 but failed to make any impact upon popular music at the turn of the decade. Extensive touring supporting CSS, Lily Allen and Klaxons in the mid 00’s was perhaps only bettered by a support slot with Katy Perry during her tour of continental Europe in 2011 and have ever since kept a low profile for almost half a decade.
Nobody likes to see their favourite nightclub shut down. Not only do they evoke many wonderful memories of drunken nights out or friends and foes, old and new, they at some point provided a platform for the enjoyable experiences that make us who we are today. And whilst I can’t personally say the same about the music of New Young Pony Club which was admittedly never to my personal taste, I’m sure that to the many neon coloured, glow stick carrying youngsters who flirted with indie rock and nu-rave, their presence on a throwback playlist is still greatly appreciated even in 2017.
Then: If it wasn’t MySpace backgrounds decorated with ‘I am a Wombat’ it was either one of ‘Kill the Director’, ‘Moving to New York’ or ‘Backfire at the Disco’ which perhaps typified just how popular The Wombats were back in 2007. The three piece from Liverpool The three man band from Liverpool rose to fame incredibly quickly amongst youngsters and their 2007 album release of A Guide to Love, Loss & Desperation proved popular with the album peaking at Number 11 with very little mainstream coverage. Further singles ‘Moving to New York’ and ‘Let’s Dance to Joy Division; stand out even to this day as cult singles from the period with the latter awarded the Best Dancefloor Filler in 2008 at the NME Awards
Now: The groups’ tales of boys and tales of girls and marsupials was followed by the release of the highly anticipated second studio album ‘This Modern Glitch’ back in 2011. Their debut single Tokyo suggested the band had maintained their popularity despite their two year absence with their opening single reaching Number 23 in the singles chart and proving to be their third most successful single to date. Likewise The Wombats have continually proved to defy the odds and remain relevant in an ever-changing music industry with their third album ‘Glitterbug’ achieving similar chart success to its predecessor ‘This Modern Glitch’, charting at Number 5 in the UK.
No matter what genre or during what decade a certain type of music of specific artist may prove popular, there will always be certain musicians that thanks to such strong foundations and a wave of popularity from the outset that continue to build on their success in the future. And whilst I plead my ignorance somewhat in ignoring the modern-day popularity of The Wombats (I’ll put it down to age…), their recent festival appearance and chart positions would suggest that out all five, along with The Cribs that they have perhaps come out the strongest and most prosperous in the last decade. Everything therefore appears to be going all right I guess but let’s just hope that although everything is going perfectly at present, there isn’t an eventual backfiring at the disco.