At the end of 2011 / start of 2012 bands such as Kasabian, The Enemy and  Kaiser Chiefs were amongst a growing list to voice concerns about the state of indie or guitar music. So we looking into the matter adding our 2 pence worth and then asked some of the up and coming bands of 2012 for their views too...

The State of indie guitar music 2012?

There has been much conjecture in the last few months of 2011 around the so called death of the guitar band with the X factor been blamed for bringing the genre to its knees by peddling huge volumes of manufactured talent less pop nonsense.

Recent rants by the likes of The Enemy and Kaiser Chiefs to name but two has highlighted fears that guitar music is well and truly on its arse and the last rites are been prepared for 2012.

Well our take on this is that in terms of the charts this could possibly be true to a certain extent, the charts are over populated by what can only be described as utter crap but as 2011ends we are actually looking at Coldplay been number one in the singles chart and Ed Sheeran been top of the pile in album sales, is that too bad? But those who are taking too much notice of the charts are missing a trick; on the whole the charts have always been for rubbish popularist music which tends to be over commercialised, obvious and low grade fare. It's there for a reason, to appeal to a certain sector of music buyers. Also to be fair to those of a certain vintage should cast their minds back to pre Britpop explosion days, prior to 1994 most 'indie guitar' bands singles charted at number 28 if they were popular and then dropped straight out of the top forty the following week if they were lucky. This actually was seen as a real measure of success by both artists and record companies alike and if they managed a spot on Top of the Pops then that was the cherry on the cake! The charts were then packed full of one hit wonders, pop, dance and manufactured boy bands… sound familiar?

Obviously the likes of Oasis changed all this and increased the public consumption of 'indie guitar' music. In fact taking the origins of the phrase 'indie' / 'indie guitar' / 'indie music' back to the late 1980's when a new wave of bands actually released records on independent record labels rather than the established vast major labels which concentrated on the likes of Madonna or Bon Jovi. The first batch of bands included the likes of The Cure (Fiction), The Smiths (Rough Trade) and Joy Division / New Order (Factory). The terms 'indie' or 'indie music' soon morphed away from the way music was released to the actual sound of the music, firstly the jangley sound of the likes of The Smiths and Leeds' The Wedding Present before morphing again with the 'indie guitar' bands in the post nineties era ranging from anything from Ocean Colour Scene, Kasabian and the aforementioned Enemy.

So despite the lack of so called chart success there's still bands playing stadiums, even in 2011 bands like Arctic Monkeys and Kasabian have shifted plenty of tickets on vast arena tours and the uber festivals still racked up profits despite mega ticket prices. There's venues up and down the countries putting bands on every single day, take Sheffield for example it has a huge array of excellent music venues ie the Soyo, Leadmill, Bowery and Academy easily named in seconds and then there's an arena plus University venues to boot too. Even in Doncaster we have a thriving live scene, probably the best selection of venues to choose from well ever really.

But have we one band that acts as leader of the genre, a band that really inspires a generation? Or do we have a movement, one that the NME and other publications can get behind, perhaps not. The split of Oasis has truth be told has left a vacuum that has yet to be filled. So where do we think the future of the genre lies in 2012? Well if it lacks that 'mega' band of say The Smiths or certainly Oasis will The Stone Roses re-entering the fold in 2012 be a catalyst to kick starts 1, bands coming through with the inspiration and aspiration to be the next 'Roses / Smiths / Oasis / Libertines and 2, kick start the peoples interest in music so after a trip to Heaton Park they look out for that next big band. That said it might just be a trip down memory lane but time will tell on that score. Still personally we feel there are loads of great bands out there at a local level who just need that 'break' to kick on nationally.

Are they been hampered by the current state of the record industry? Now we'd never thought we'd ever say this but has the internet actually killed the ability of record labels to propel the next big thing to superstar status. For one they no longer have the big A&R and publicity budgets nor does it seem they have the confidence to take the risks they used to do on indie music, tight budgets mean they play it safe and go for the easy pop option, a safe return on their cash outlay.

Playing it safe also brings us onto the controversial subject of the X Factor. Our take on the subject is somewhat unusual as we don't actually think that the show is the work of satan, nor do we think that Simon Cowell is the dark lord neither! Before the likes of the X Factor music on TV used to be sparse to put it mildly and it usually got booted into the late night graveyard shift slot, like Jools Holland's excellent Later show and had to be happy with it. X Factor has brought music well and truly into the primetime mainstream. Whilst most people who go onto the show tend to be talent less, attention seeking loses it doses now and again pop up somebody who can actually hold a tune in a bucket, not that they tend to win it like! They do also cover a load of crap but again they do pick some corkers and to those at home watching if only a small percentage go 'hey that's a good tune' and then search out the original version then that's good isn't it? If it then prompts them to go out and buy or download the album or go check out that artist live then job done. For example take the other year when the X Factor winner covered Hallelujah, sure the insipid version got to number one but look at all the people who downloaded and discovered the far superior Leonard Cohen or Jeff Buckley versions. Talking of superior versions, Biffy Cylro can really thank Matt Cardle and X factor for not only increasing their bank balance but also increasing their public profile too, their original version of 'Many of Horrors' was obviously loads better too!

So that's part of our view on the subject of the so called death of guitar music, yes we agree it does need a fresh injection of talent and purpose, it is missing that mega unit shifting figurehead that tends to drag up shed loads of bands on their coattails. But far from been dead on its arse, just listen to the likes of XFM or get down to a local venue you'll see and hear plenty of excellent bands. Aside from our views we want to find out what the up and coming talent think too, so we've done a 'State of indie music in 2012' Q&A and over the next few months it'll be mailed out to all and sundry to find out what they think too.

Colin

www.shaddersonline.com

January 2012.

State of Indie... Part 2 

So here is the night of the Brit awards 2012, February 21stin fact and Coldplay have just walked off with best group after Ed Sheeran, Noel Gallagher and Florence & the machine have just done stella performance live to the millions at home. Who said that music is dead?? Oh and back from the dead Blur are the star performers for later too…

Well maybe I intimated it along with numerous other publications, blogs and indie music types but since I wrote the above piece just under two months ago it the debate has been pretty intense and the end result has tended to be so fucking what that 'pop' records outsold 'rock' records anyway! There are some top bands out there and most tend to fit into both (if not more) categories anyway. Just look at the mega year the afore mentioned Ed Sheeran has had, now if he had popped onto the scene a decade ago he would have definitely been indie, acoustic and probably flirted into folk. Now he's been banded around in a whole number of different pigeon holes but good honest music is just good music no matter how you describe it.

Then to again to take the Brits as a yard stick (which to be honest I tend not to do usually!) just look at the best band category, yeah it's been won by a band who were described as your typical miserable indie band when they came along prior to taking over the world and selling a billion records. But beside Coldplay our favs Elbow were also on the nominated list. Now lets look at their career to date and also look at how actually the British indie / guitar / alternative scene is alive and very well. A band with a sound like Elbow a decade ago when they were releasing their first few albums would see success as what their first couple of albums achieved and playing venues on the Uni circuit to a thousand or so people a night. Now fast forward to the present; there are award winners, million record sellers and now sell out arenas… hold on Elbow selling out a full arena tour? State of music, pretty good oh yes.

So let's take a step back from the Brits for a minute and let's take a look at a couple of the albums we've reviewed thus far this year… Dead Wolf Club and The Janice Graham Band. Now these are two completely different bands but both brand spanking new and already two really good albums this year. Also just after we wrote our original piece The Enemy make a similar post on their facebook page, the response from their fans was amazing, the list of new bands to check out surprised even the band although to be fair to them they did say they would try to listen as many as they could. The live circuit is as healthy as ever from the small venues; the Leadmill in Sheffield has a pretty good calendar booked through the Academy venues to the arenas that have already have good attendances for the likes of Noel Gallagher and Snow Patrol. And then there's the summer round the corner with a host of festivals already announcing line ups left right and centre (come on Reading & Leeds we all know who is playing!!) plus there's the second (well third) coming of the Stone Roses too.

Anyway back to the Brits and we have winners from both pop and rock fields as One Direction and Foo Fighters winning awards and even the nominations have a good feel to them, plenty of variation in there, fair play there's the likes of Bon Ivor, Foster the people and Fleet Foxes amongst them. For this we'll allow them the tosh of Rhianna and the aforementioned One Direction!

Again moving away from awards and onto the serious subject on how the indie scene has changed allowing bands a longer life span and longevity. Going back a decade or two bands simply couldn't afford a long career; there just wasn't the money in it. Most bands today don't earn the money of say a Coldplay but even the likes of Blur and The Charlatans in their early days nearly went bankrupt, a lot bands in the late eighties and early nineties packed in music and got proper jobs cause they needed to. Back in the nineties a reasonably successful indie band, Lush lost their drummer through suicide he cited the fact he could have earned more stacking supermarket shelves which led to depression and subsequent tragic lose of life. Now bands like Feeder (who also have their share of lose) can have long, long careers. Take one of our fav Yorkshire miserablists The Wedding Present, they have spent almost a quarter of a century in the business and have a new album out in 2012 and are already into another world tour.

And so we end back at the Brits for the finale and it happens to be Blur, who have just announced a huge Hyde Park gig (with New Order) kicking out 'Girls and Boys' like they've never been away… faking 'ell its only Phil Daniels too!

State of indie? Dead, nah obviously was just taking a nap!

'Ave it….

Colin

www.shaddersonline.com

February 2012


 

So as soon as the ink is dry on our views on the 'State of Indie' then we get the first answers from the 'SOI 2012' Q&A from...

THE LINES

Yep some excellent responses too from Wolverhampton's finest, check it out below.

Firstly who are you and what’s yer band called?

We’re an indie band from sunny Wolverhampton called The Lines, and I’m Paddy, the drummer (also does reasonable quotes on any small building work required!)

Secondly what’s your band sound like?

We always hate this question as no one ever seems to be able to pin down who or what we sound like. We don’t try to sound like anyone or anything, we just make music that we enjoy. We definitely fall under the ‘indie’ category but also with hints of dance, psychadelia, and our influences range from the usual suspects like the stone roses, the verve etc to hip hop, dance, blues and anything else that grabs us.

Thirdly what’s your plan for 2012.. Singles / albums / tours??

We’re hoping to have a release out in the first couple of months of this year. Our first album was released just over a year ago, and we’ve been itching to get some new material out there for the fans. We’ve also got a tour of Germany lined up for spring of this year, and we’re hoping to be hitting the festival circuit as hard as we can.

So onto the state of 2012 questions… Do you agree with the growing number of hacks / bands who have slated the current state of indie guitar music at the moment?

The main problem is that no-ones willing to take any risks, so labels are only investing in very boring, bland, middle of the road shit, and however much self belief and hype that surrounds them these bands are lucky to still be around in 6 months time. I’ve just had a look at the 12 bands tipped by XFM for this year and I doubt I’d actually pay to see any of them.

Who do you think were the last great indie guitar band from the UK?

We’re a great indie guitar band from the UK! But if you want to know the last band who’ve made it massive, you’d have to say the Arctic Monkeys. I can’t think of a band who’ve come along since and made the same sort of impact.

Do you think that anyone can fill the void that was left by the split of Oasis? Do you think that the return of The Stone Roses can do this?

I’m not sure if I want the void left by Oasis to be filled. They were a great band, but towards the end I can’t think of a truly good song or album that they released. They started to just do ‘Oasis by numbers’ and I got very bored. Having said that, I’ll be interested to see what the new stuff the Roses have written is like as for a band that contained such musicianship they only had a short time in the spotlight, and I’d hope that as they’ve all (well, except Reni) kept on with the music a bit they should all fall back into it easy.

Also do you think that the ‘Roses can kick start guitar bands in this country?

It’s a bit of a double edged sword. There will be a lot of attention surrounding them, so this might make a lot more people sit up and take notice of guitar music. But having said that, at 60 quid a ticket there’s a lot of people who’ll watch the roses instead of watching 5 or 6 new upcoming bands, so in some ways it could be a bit of a hindrance to newer bands. I don’t care though, I’m a massive Roses fan so I’m more bothered about seeing if they’ve still got it.

And some people say the internet is a good thing. Some people say the internet is a bad thing….. What do you say?

It’s a good thing as it makes it really easy to find new and exciting music. However it’s a bad thing as you also end up finding a load of shit at the same time. I’m still more inclined to go off a friend recommendation or by hearing a band support someone, but it can be a great tool for a band to promote itself.

Do you think it has damaged the music industry and their ability to spot new, nurture and publicise new bands?

I don’t think the internet has damaged the music industry, I just think that the industry are still trying to get their head round as to how best to use it to make money, so at the moment they find it a bit scary.

What’s your view on the X Factor? Do you think it is a good thing to get music into the primetime mainstream television audience or just an excuse to peddle substandard pop to people who don’t know better?

The X Factor is a show made by a very clever man manipulating idiots. To be honest though it’s a fair representation of the music industry as a whole, as unfortunately most people will just listen to what is forced onto them, and instead of going out and finding good new bands to listen to, people would rather whinge about what’s being forced upon them.

Have you any predictions of any bands that will do great things in 2012?

I’d like All The Young to do well, as they’re a band I’ve know for a while who we’ve gigged with quite a few times, and they’re also really sound lads. I’d also like Chapman Family to grow to being as big as they deserve as they’re a fantastic band, although possibly not really mainstream enough for most people. The Rainband are also another band we’d like to do well, they also supported Ocean Colour Scene in December (on the dates we weren’t able to do) and we’ve become good mates with them.

Your name has been mentioned in the list of bands to kick on in 2012… how well do you think you can do and what’s your ambitions / aspirations for the band?

We know we’re good enough to make it as a band, so hopefully luck falls on our side and things pan out. We know that if we just keep on doing what we’re doing we’ll get there, we always win people over wherever we play.

On a personal perspective which bands do you look up to and do they inspire you musically?

We supported Ian Brown and that was amazing as he’s done so much musically, but at the same time he was so down to earth. We also really respect bands like Elbow and Snow Patrol who didn’t get massively hyped at the start of their career, but they’ve had the self belief to just carry on what they’re doing, knowing that it’ll work out in the end.

What was the last song you listened to and was it any good?

I got given a load of vinyl by my brother for Christmas (a load of stuff he got from a charity shop at 10p a pop I might add) so I think it was ‘Hello” by Lionel Ritchie. Not my usual listening, but you have to respect a man who’s made that much money and also has Nicole Ritchie as his daughter!

Can you list your five favourite songs of all time and if so what are they?

No I can’t, but off the top of my head I love ‘love Spreads’ by The Stone Roses, ‘Walk this way’ by Run DMC & Aerosmith, ’99 problems’ by Jay Z, ‘Can’t Explain’ by The Who, and ‘Fire’ by Jimi Hendrix.

Do you believe that the Cd is dead and that download is now king?

Real music fans love having an actual physical product to have and to hold. In some ways Vinyl is actually doing well out of this fact now. I don’t think CD’s are dead, but overall download has taken its title.

So anyway back to you and where can people find out about your band… your chance to plug your facebook / internet pages!

www.wearethelines.com

 www.facebook.com/TheLines 

www.twitter.com/TheLines 

www.myspace.com/wearethelines 

are all you should ever need in your life!

And finally our stock finale… In ten words write your own press release (swearing is definitely allowed!)…

Mine personally would read ‘big-haired drummer who likes to show off just a little!’ whilst the bands would probably be ‘you need this band in your life. No questions’

January 2012.


Well as soon as The Lines Q&A was up and live we had another firmly in the bag. Again from the Midlands, this time youngsters ....

THE SET

Firstly who are you and what’s yer band called?

Will Marshall (bass player) The Set UK.

Secondly what’s your band sound like?

A fusion of Arctic Monkeys , The Wombles , Oasis , The Enemy , The View , Twisted Wheel and a lot of other post-punk/punk.

Thirdly what’s your plan for 2012.. Singles / albums / tours??

To spread the word, keep gigging, release a few more tracks and hopefully kick on a play some bigger gigs.

So onto the state of 2012 questions… Do you agree with the growing number of hacks / bands who have slated the current state of indie guitar music at the moment?

Just 'cause there ain’t no guitar music in the charts don't mean that it's in a shite way. A lot of music owes itself to guitar music. It's never been dead, it just needs a few great bands to wake it up again.

Who do you think were the last great indie guitar band from the UK?

It's hard to say. On a band level, I think we'll always admire The Rascals, The Milburn and Little Man Tate. At the minute though, Miles Kane.

Do you think that anyone can fill the void that was left by the split of Oasis? Do you think that the return of The Stone Roses can do this?

I think bands like Kasabian, The Enemy and The Arctic Monkeys will kind of fill the void left by Oasis. The Roses were, are and always will be ace but if they release new material it could end up sounding like Margaret Thatcher being strangled or be ace.

Also do you think that the ‘Roses can kick start guitar bands in this country?

Anyone who's watched any Roses video should be inspired to pick up a guitar.

And some people say the internet is a good thing. Some people say the internet is a bad thing….. What do you say?

The internet is ace and it's done underground guitar bands no end of good. Arctic Monkey's would still be gigging around Sheffield without the help of the net.

Do you think it has damaged the music industry and their ability to spot new, nurture and publicise new bands?

Nah, not really ... loads of bands have been spotted this year.

What’s your view on the X Factor? Do you think it is a good thing to get music into the primetime mainstream television audience or just an excuse to peddle substandard pop to people who don’t know better?

I fookin' hate X-Factor. Only absolute drongos would actually want to listen to Primal Scream being murdered by the poor man's Russell Brand.

Have you any predictions of any bands that will do great things in 2012?

Not Viva Brother ... Hopefully The Enemy and Twisted Wheel will realise some stomping albums, respectively.

Your name has been mentioned in the list of bands to kick on in 2012… how well do you think you can do and what’s your ambitions / aspirations for the band?

 I think we'll do alright, yeah. We just want to get our music to a lot more people. To show people there are new bands coming through.

On a personal perspective which bands do you look up to and do they inspire you musically?

Deadbeat Echoes. We played with them in the summer and they deserved to be listened to. Top class band and top lads as well. Just Morale have been top to us this year as well, definitely deserve more credit.

What was the last song you listened to and was it any good?

(White Man) In Hammersmith Palais and of course it fucking was!

Can you list your five favourite songs of all time and if so what are they?

Stranglers - Nice n Sleazy

Iggy and The Stooges - Wanna be your dog

Twisted Wheel-She's a Weapon

Cast-Alright

The Smiths- William , It was really nothing

Do you believe that the Cd is dead and that download is now king?

I've just bought a couple from HMV today , so nah. I like to have a physical copy of something man , more sentimental.

So anyway back to you and where can people find out about your band… your chance to plug your facebook / internet pages!

www.soundcloud.com/The-Set-UK

Also on The Set UK on good ole Facebook.

And finally our stock finale… In ten words write your own press release (swearing is definitely allowed!)…

Big, banging, bodacious Indie-Punk tunes, that are fucking ace.

January 2012.