The rise of indie music
What with a top 10 album from Spector and feverishly anticipated second efforts from Two Door Cinema Club and The Vaccines, it's a good time to be boys with guitars again. You'd better believe it – indie is back, and here are five reasons that make it so.
Drums, guitars, action!
It's the dynamic that will never die. As true rock music finds itself increasingly marginalised, that special alchemy of lead guitar, bass and beats is the preserve of the indie band, creating jangly shapes and spiky shards for glum skinny kids to get all emotional over. And yeah, since the golden age of The Smiths glum and skinny has been indie's genetic blueprint.
But however unhealthy and Vitamin D-deficient indie appears, it's come back fighting time and time again since the late 80s. House music? Kneel before baggy! Hip hop? Feel the wrath of Britpop! French filter-disco in funny robot masks? The post-punk revival will vanquish you and your Hawaiian-shirted big beat pals! You see? Immortal.
Mouth and trousers
There's something about the gab of the indie singer. They just give good quote. Look at Morrissey (again) then Jarvis Cocker a decade later. Now we've got another bookish sort with a big mouth in Spector's Fred Macpherson. He's the kind of fellow who fills up music press columns every time someone sticks a Dictaphone under his nose and he's not afraid of controversy either. While everyone was getting all patriotic about the Olympics last month, Fred was condemning the torch relay as "a celebration of the Third Reich". Call him a character.
Kicking over the statues
It's not just the cyclical nature of all God's creation though. The ground has to be favourable. And boy is the ground favourable right now. Look around you, people, and observe how the twin horsemen of the a-pop-ocalypse David Guetta and will.i.am have rebuilt the musical landscape in their own grisly image, bleeding pop of all spontaneity and joy and reducing it to a selection of laptop presets. No wonder we crave the organic honesty of a rhythm guitar.
OK, Everything Everything (also charging back with bananas new single Cough Cough), we might allow an effects pedal and a judiciously exercised synthesizer. Easy on the Auto-Tune though, chaps.
The new Bob Dylan?
Indie retains the capacity to conjure up artists built to last, not just precision-tooled for a year of top 10 hits. Take young Nottingham whippersnapper Jake Bugg. This callow teenager who wowed the lower echelons of the charts with Lightning Bolt earlier this year is nothing less than Bob Dylan reincarnated (not that you're dead, Bob) with his creaky drawl, lyrical dexterity and finger-pickin' skills. Watch him soar.
The Beatle dilemma
A thorny one, this. All the trends under the musical sun will come and go but eventually – occasionally – everyone wants a touch of verse-chorus-verse played by young men with guitars and silly hair. The Beatles are hardwired into our pop DNA. Sometimes we just crave them, and it's a hunger that can only be assuaged by indie's unfussy chords. One Direction were never going to be the new Beatles, but Two Door Cinema Club stand a chance.
Is indie back? Did it ever go away? Would you rather Guetta than Arctic Monkey? Let us know what you think on Twitter @MusicOnVM.