The Guardian Indie

Latest news and features from, the world's leading liberal voice
  1. Bewildered by the hundreds of acts at Glastonbury? The Guardian’s music editors pick the best names from lower down the bill

    The must-see musical experience of the weekend is this brand-new stage from the Block9 crew, whose club spaces routinely provide the festival’s best after-hours moments. IICON will have artists playing from a giant sculpture of a head, and they’re a who’s who of cutting-edge electronics: galaxy-cartographer Larry Heard, dub geniuses Raime, thunderously angry poet Moor Mother, junglist poet Lee Gamble, South African pairing Okzharp and Manthe Ribane, and tons of forward-thinking techno: Bruce, Zenker Brothers, Karenn and more. Sleep all day, bring a carrier bag of falafels, and you could happily spend your entire weekend here.

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  2. Guitarist and piano player Johnny McDaid requires immediate surgery for a neck issue, as Charlatans replace band at Worthy Farm

    Snow Patrol have cancelled their upcoming tour dates, including a performance at this weekend’s Glastonbury festival.

    The Northern Irish band’s guitarist Johnny McDaid requires immediate surgery for a serious neck issue. Guitarist Nathan Connolly is also on leave from the band as he recovers from nerve damage.

    Related:Sign up for the Sleeve Notes email: music news, bold reviews and unexpected extras

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  3. After the musician took his own life last year, the other band members had to come to terms with many things. But an album of cover versions has helped them to embrace his legacy

    Does the band Frightened Rabbit still exist? Guitarist Simon Liddell and bassist Billy Kennedy, sitting in a Glasgow cafe, turn to one another for a moment, then shake their heads. “No, it doesn’t exist without Scott at all,” says Kennedy. “Scott is Frightened Rabbit.”

    That present tense is telling. Scott Hutchison, the singer and chief songwriter of the Scottish indie-rock band, took his own life last year aged 36, after years with depression. Grant Hutchison, the band’s drummer and Scott’s younger brother, feels that the music now belongs to the listeners who were consoled by the band’s deeply empathic music. Head Rolls Off, perhaps their best-loved song, contains a lyric: “When my blood stops / Someone else’s will have not.” The band are living that line: working out how to carry the group’s legacy while moving on with their own lives. “It’s a difficult balance,” Grant says. “Are we keeping the band alive? Are we keeping Scott alive?”

    The energy. The feeling. The majority of the time, when our relationship was strong, those nights were indescribable

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  4. (Rough Trade)
    This hyped quartet of Brit School graduates deliver some powerful kicks between the clattering, self-satisfied rackets

    Croydon performing arts institution the Brit School has long been a major pop bugbear: criticised by everyone from Arctic Monkeys to Ed Sheeran, charged with turning out a certain kind of artist. That’s perhaps a reductive view, but it certainly seems to major in earnest, pop-facing vocalists, from Adele to Jessie J to Leona Lewis. If nothing else, the swift rise of Black Midi puts paid to that idea: Brit-schooled they may be, but pop-facing they are not.

    In interviews, the quartet have discussed their love of 20th century classical music from Bartók to Alfred Schnittke, and Schlagenheim is an album that waits a mere three minutes and 23 seconds before hitting you with its first burst of free improvisation: you can tell it’s free improvisation because, for some reason, rock bands always sound exactly the same when they indulge in free improvisation, the effect of unburdening themselves from the shackles of structure and melody and allowing their imaginations to drift without limitation invariably resulting in a very particular kind of clattery racket.

    Related:Best albums of 2019 so far

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  5. (Drag City)

    Related:Bill Callahan: 'I can't die – life is too good, it can't end'

    “The panic room is now a nursery,” sings veteran leftfield tunesmith Bill Callahan on Son of the Sea. It’s just one instance of pregnant understatement on a 20-track album that ends this extraordinary American songwriter’s six years away from the release schedules. Life happened: marriage, a baby son, the death of his mother and now, a purple patch of tunes that combine the allusive rigour of his finest work with a looser, chatty style. “It’s nice to be writing again,” he offers on Writing. The Ballad of the Hulk, a meditation on anger, playfully details how Callahan “shared a tailor” with the superhero.

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