The Guardian Indie

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  1. (Numero Group)

    More than any other band that emerged out of the US hardcore punk scene, Minneapolis’s Hüsker Dü paved the way for what would happen next. This beautifully curated set covering their earliest years reveals a band already sporting an advanced case of split musical personality: Midwestern punk rockers unsure whether they wanted to scream their way through songs called Obnoxious and Guns at My School or do something more thoughtful and arty and strange. The hardest of hardcore bands – the edge-of-hysteria live recordings of them in full flight in 1981 are still pretty startling nearly 40 years on – who attempted to conceal a penchant for 60s psych-pop melodicism behind their torrential sound, before finally giving up and just going with their instincts: their cover of Donovan’s Sunshine Superman is taken at warp speed, but without any accompanying sneer. It often feels like you’re listening to the birth of something more than a band: the contradictions at Hüsker Dü’s heart would fuel American alt-rock for years to come, from the Pixies to grunge to emo.

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  2. (Mostakell)

    It’s not easy being an experimental indie musician in Egypt. There are very few venues, no state funding, and censors to worry about. All of which makes this compelling, brooding collaboration so remarkable. Each of these three musicians has an impressive history, but their debut album together is an edgy triumph, thanks to the empathy between them, and the interplay between the vocalists Maryam Saleh and Tamer Abu Ghazaleh. The influences include Egyptian shaabi, electro-shaabi, pop and psychedelia, with backing provided by anything from oud and buzuq lute to slide guitars, drums, beat loops and electronica. The result is an intriguing, distinctive style that veers between off-kilter dance passages to such songs as Mathaf Fonoun El Ghesh, a contemplation on truth and deception that sounds like the soundtrack to some gently exhilarating nightmare. The lyrics are by Egyptian poet Mido Zoheir, although regrettably there is no translation.

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  3. Adam Granduciel’s star shines bright on a record that combines 70s rock sounds, 80s MOR pop and melancholic melodies to glittering effect

    Adam Granduciel has been transformed from another plaid-shirted US indie musician into something approaching a rock star – a tentative one, uncertain of the spotlight, but a bandleader capable of pulling 10,000 people to his shows – by combining two impulses. On the one hand, there’s the version of him that made the first War on Drugs album, Wagonwheel Blues – a man in thrall to the freewheeling music made by beloved of and made by 70s heads. On the other, there’s the Granduciel who loves the sleek and shiny sounds of 80s pop rock – on second album Slave Ambient, Granduciel hit on the idea of throwing motorik pace and rhythms into his MOR and classic rock mix, and came up with a style he’s been revisiting and redefining ever since.

    It’s easy to understand why some people who snigger that the War on Drugs sound like Bruce Hornsby and the Range with more guitar solos. (In some ways, Hornsby is an apt comparison – he, too, saw the attractions of slick MOR and the endless jam, and let’s not forget that he played keyboards for the Grateful Dead.) On tracks such as Holding On and Nothing to Find, Granduciel’s gift for melody (which is what brings those big crowds to the shows) is welded to a propulsiveness that summons up the horizon at the end of a long, straight, flat road. But A Deeper Understanding, the band’s fourth album, was more than music for the drive-time hour.

    Related:The War on Drugs' Adam Granduciel: 'I was overcome by fear'

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  4. (Care in the Community)

    Since he and Kim Gordon split, effectively bringing Sonic Youth to an end, Thurston Moore has been living in north London, where he’s been a regular fixture in the city’s improv scene, popping up alongside the likes of Steve Noble, the Thing and Spiritualized’s Jason Pierce. Here he jams with This Heat drummer Charles Hayward, pulling out rough skeins of noise from his guitar as Hayward lays down driving glam-rock rhythms, speeding up into jittery post-punk.

    Related:Me and the muse: Thurston Moore on his sources of inspiration

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  5. In the final instalment of our underground music series, readers share the scenes that inspire them – whether it’s radical brass bands, queer punk or doom-metal Mormons in Salt Lake City

    At the outset of this series on underground music, we asked you for your suggestions of where to find it today – and nearly 800 of you responded. In this final chapter, we cover some of the most exciting scenes you uncovered across the globe, from Dartmoor to Slovakia, Queens and Luton. Thanks to everyone who took part, and who contributed to the series as a whole.

    Think like an entrepreneur

    Related:Where is the musical underground in 2017?

    Related:Run the code: is algorave the future of dance music?

    Related:'There are a lot of weird people around here': how the north stayed underground

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