The Guardian Indie

Latest news and features from, the world's leading liberal voice
  1. (BMG)

    Revered bands re-forming for live dates is one thing. However, with a few honourable exceptions – the Go-Betweens, Sleater-Kinney , more recently the Futureheads – trying to recreate past glories in the recording studio is generally at best anticlimactic for all concerned. The road to hell is indeed paved with discarded copies of the Verve’s 2008 album, Forth.

    Given how brightly they burned in the late 1980s, Pixies were always likely to struggle to live up to expectations when they decided to write new material, but Indie Cindy (2014) and HeadCarrier (2016) were woeful by anybody’s standards.

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  2. We polled 45 music writers to rank the definitive LPs of the 21st century so far. Read our countdown of passionate pop, electrifying rock and anthemic rap – and see if you agree

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  3. Over many years of knowing Johnston, I discovered a man who was unpredictable and charming – and who valued true love and art more than almost anyone

    In person, Daniel Johnston was charming, infuriating, enthusiastic and needy by turns. I have sat at tables with him where he would say nothing, head lolling forward. He had issues with performing – the first time he headlined at London’s Barbican in 2006, with a supporting cast that included Spiritualized, Vic Chesnutt and Teenage Fanclub, he stayed for three brief songs and fled: “Thank you. Sorry.” In Sydney in 2010, he performed just two songs outside the venue and was already leaving, collecting his lyric notebooks, sloping around the corner to smoke a crafty fag, as the audience – many reduced to tears – started to clap.

    “He can do that, you know,” remarked his brother Dick afterwards. “Make the magic happen.”

    Related:Daniel Johnston: a potent, profoundly moving songwriter

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  4. (Polydor)
    The North Shields singer-songwriter may look cookie-cutter but his gritty, gloriously anthemic songs on toxic masculinity, violence and death are anything but

    Sam Fender seems to have arrived direct from central casting: Brit Critics’ Choiceaward 2019 winner, nominated in 2018’s BBC Sound Of poll, looks like a model, background in acting, here we go again. Which means his debut album comes as a shock: a major label in 2019 appears to have signed a male British singer-songwriter who doesn’t conform to the standard late 2010s male British singer-songwriter blueprint. He has neither a beard nor a beanie hat, declines to play the acoustic guitar as his primary instrument and seems to have refused to work with the same pool of writers and producers as everyone else. The songs on Hypersonic Missiles bear Fender’s name alone, while the production comes courtesy of a friend called Bramwell Bronte.

    Related:Sam Fender: ‘I don’t want to cling on to the “class hero” thing’

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  5. Manager confirms Johnston, whose naive songwriting was beloved of Kurt Cobain, died of a heart attack

    Daniel Johnston, an eccentric, enduring and much beloved figure in the US indie rock scene, has died aged 58 following a heart attack. The news was confirmed by his manager Jeff Tartakov.

    Numerous cultural figures have paid tribute to the cult songwriter – once a favourite of Kurt Cobain – including Beck, Judd Apatow and Ezra Furman, who described him as “one of my best teachers”. Actor Elijah Wood wrote: “What a gentle, beautiful treasure. So sad to hear you’ve left us.”

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