The Guardian Indie

Latest news and features from theguardian.com, the world's leading liberal voice
  1. (Virgin EMI)

    Reintroducing a little electronic hauteur to the airpunch anthemics of 2012’s Battle Born, the Killers’ fifth album opens impressively with the reptilian title track, reminiscent of Achtung Baby-era U2, and the glossy, ironic funk of The Man. Misgivings hover, though, around frontman Brandon Flowers overcoming writer’s block by drawing on his initially reluctant wife’s abusive childhood and PTSD (and enlisting their three young sons to sing “Can’t do this alone/ We need you at home” on the airy, dreamy Some Kind of Love). The most striking song (discounting the Personal Jesus reenactment The Calling) draws on Flowers’ own childhood experience: the surging, synth-laced Tyson vs Douglas, inspired by his shock when the champ hit the mat, could touch gloves with the band’s best.

    Continue reading...
  2. Against the odds, the Horrors’ fifth album is their best yet, with Faris Badwan’s commanding, world-weary vocals adding to the synthesised thrills and sparkling guitar-pop

    Let us briefly take a detour down memory lane. It is 2007 and, as a contestant on the most recent series of Big Brother has so eloquently put it, “there’s a new music that’s taking over our country and it’s called … ‘indie’”. The Pigeon Detectives bestride the Top 20. The second Razorlight album has just been certified five times platinum. The pages of the Observer play host to a feature that wonders aloud how Bloc Party will cope with being propelled to superstardom as a result of their new album: “A zeitgeist-defining record that rips up the rock rulebook.”

    Strange days indeed, but imagine the consternation you could cause were you able to offer everyone a glimpse into the future, a world 10 years hence where Razorlight are headlining not Reading and Leeds but a VW campervan convention in Llangollen; where the lead singer of the Kaiser Chiefs is now best-known as a judge on a talent show, and where the frontman of the Arctic Monkeys has left Yorkshire, changed his accent and now favours the world not with gritty vignettes of provincial Britain, but updates from the frontline of life as a swashbuckling multi-millionaire cocksman, rampant amid the sun-bronzed lovelies of Hollywood.

    Related:The Horrors review – eldritch rockers signal move into the big leagues

    Continue reading...
  3. After 14 years playing indie rock, the Maccabees frontman has taken on something more sedate: an illustrated children’s book and new album, The Gritterman, which draws on his relationship with his grandad to explore ageing and obsolescence

    Orlando Weeks is describing the revelatory moment his father looked at the main character of The Gritterman, Weeks’s first illustrated children’s book, and saw his own dead father looking back at him.

    Although unaware of the resemblance until that very moment, suddenly, Weeks – who has spent the last 14 years as the frontman of indie rock band the Maccabees – could see it too. “I wasn’t consciously basing the Gritterman on my grandad. But there’s something in the way he looks that you can tell...” He trails off, struggling to pinpoint the exact similarities between his character, who spends the winter gritting the roads and the summer selling ice cream, and his grandad Bill, who repaired traction engines and heavy farming machinery in Devon and Cornwall, and who died in his late 80s when Weeks was a young teenager. “When I knew my grandfather, I felt that he had been a big strong man and now was less of a big strong man. Age had taken some of that broadness out of his shoulders. And there’s something about the way the Gritterman looks... there’s a shadow of a bigger, stronger version of himself, in the past.”

    Continue reading...
  4. (Because)

    After years of contributing separate songs to their albums, Australian siblings Angus and Julia Stone were saved from splitting in 2014 when Rick Rubin suggested they write together. They’ve embraced co-writing fully on this self-produced record, where dreamy indie rock of songs such asChateau is shaded by the retro-summer Instagram filter as Beach House or the War on Drugs. It’s the psychological richness of different viewpoints coming together, the intimations of trouble in its sonic paradise, that lift it beyond pleasant, though: “I’ll sweep you off your feet and you will fall apart,” murmurs Julia on the title track, “Sweep you off the floor, oh God, you’re drunk again,” counters her brother.

    Continue reading...
  5. (Mexican Summer)

    Indie provocateur Ariel Pink’s visibility has depended on a willingness to say anything for attention, controversy overshadowing uncertain talent. His songs, like his interviews, often teeter on the unlistenable edge of annoying, but push past the weaponised irony and you’ll find Another Weekend and Feels Like Heaven are his most seductive melodies since breakthrough album Before Today. Elsewhere, joyous pile-up pop mixes the He-Man theme, lo-fi new wave and 60s psych inside a fairground ride. Time to Live is the Buggles covering the Velvets’ Sister Ray – in six minutes it veers from bracingly silly to grindingly tiresome to exhilarating brilliance, just like Pink himself.

    Continue reading...