The Guardian Indie

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  1. The author of a book on the music forged in the UK’s industrial cities takes in Glasgow gigs, record shops and pubs, and the stories of the local bands he loves
    10 more music cities

    Whenever I’m in Glasgow, I usually buy a day ticket for the Subway, the circular underground system that links the north and south city. Affectionately known as the Clockwork Orange, on account of its colour scheme, it’s admirably simple: you can go clockwise or anti-clockwise.

    I have found it perfect for music tourism, which is essentially what I do in Glasgow: poking around record shops, hanging around bars and clubs and seeking out locations connected in some way to the Glasgow artists I love. Because for me Glasgow, more than anywhere else in the UK, is a music city.

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  2. From genre-spanning albums to collaborating with Brian Eno and Beyoncé, the band are far more radical than people give them credit for

    An early Coldplay photo did the rounds recently, and will surely do so again, because it is timelessly hilarious. Anorak, hoodie, voluminous brown cords, V-neck knitwear: they are enrobed in the profoundly lame wardrobe of that late-90s musical era when Travis and Starsailor threatened to drown rock’n’roll in their own anxiety sweat.

    For so many people, that lameness has never left Coldplay – and this is peculiar because, contrary to the beliefs of almost any self-proclaimed arbiter of good taste, Coldplay are A Good Band. They could have treated their euphoric breakthrough hit Yellow as the aberration that it is on their moody debut Parachutes. Instead it became their mantra, as they cast even their most synthetic music in warm natural light. That sense of adventure is a quality that bands are usually revered for, but because their adventure is a sort of positivist Haribo-fuelled romp, rather than questing into the minotaur’s labyrinth like Radiohead or the National, they aren’t taken seriously.

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  3. (City Slang)
    The band’s world is a compellingly strange, crepuscular place, into which some warmth is allowed to drip

    The oddest thing on Tindersticks’ 12th album is its longest track, See My Girls. Stuart Staples, a mannered singer anyway, sounds as if he has been studying Ron Moody playing Fagin in Oliver! And the lyric he delivers in that sly and insinuating voice is set in an unspecified past, in which cameras and newsstands are still everyday things. On the walls of his kiosk, the narrator has pinned the photos his girls have sent him from their travels – Paris, Rome, the Pyramids – via some very odd phrasing (“The tall buildings of the Americas / Skyscrapers as they are known.” Skyscrapers, you say? Really?). Eventually they end up at the scenes of death: Flanders, Birkenau, Cambodia, Yemen, Israel and Palestine. And then it’s back to turtles and dolphins and trees. It appears to be the blandest of all messages: well, the world’s a rum old place, eh? Musically it is so compelling – a twisting, droning, spidery piece – that it only makes the lyric seem odder.

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  4. The frontman of Vampire Weekend on a hilarious movie review show spoof, the Obamas’ new film and African country music

    Born inNew York City in1984,Ezra Koenig studied English atColumbia University before becoming a teacher inBrooklyn. In 2005/6 he formedindie rock bandVampire Weekend, of which he islead vocalist and guitarist. Since their 2008 eponymous debut album, the band have released three more, including 2013’s Grammy-winning Modern Vampiresofthe City and this year’s Fatherofthe Bride. Since 2015 Koenig has presented a fortnightly radio show,Time Crisis With Ezra Koenig. Vampire Weekend play London’s Alexandra Palace on13 and 14 November.

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  5. (Moshi Moshi)

    Indie bands have done R&B before – you will have heard of the xx. Now, with genre boundaries more porous than ever, swapping lo-fi pop for R&B shouldn’t feel like an audacious act. This album does. One record ago, Girl Ray were a fresh-faced, lo-fi pop three-piece whose videos featured games of rounders. Now, their second outing suggests a burgeoning north London version of Haim or, perhaps, Broadcast playing the songs of Everything But the Girl.

    Show Me More, released last summer, may have found Poppy Hankin, Iris McConnell and Sophie Moss still riding bicycles in the video, but their disco tune offered vastly increased quotients of slinkiness and soul. The hazy title track, meanwhile, nods to Tom Tom Club, with a swirling keyboard motif underlining how much has changed in this trio’s outlook. House piano, a rapper – PSwuave – and, on Beautiful, a reggae lilt, all have their place on Girl. These moves are still tentative, and talk of artistic progression is often the kiss of death, but Girl Ray have moved out of a place of limitations into more kaleidoscopic musicality.

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