Last year wasn’t great, but don’t let that overshadow the revitalisation we saw in the indie music scene.
To say last year was a weird one would be, well, an understatement. It’s hard to talk about the year past without jumping on the ‘that’s so 2016’ bandwagon, but in terms of inconceivable political victories and mind numbing celebrity deaths it is hard not to.
After all, this was the year Trump came to power and the year Britain voted to leave the European Union. It’s the year which bowed down to ‘social media influencers,’ inciting them as role models and provided them with their own Netflix series; it’s also the year a silverback gorilla was killed which fuelled the fire for increased ‘meme culture’ and ridiculous hashtags. 2016 also saw T in the Park announce it was, after 21 years, ‘taking a break’ and the Oscars had a slight race issue when a grand total of zero black actors were nominated.
However, with all that in mind, it is important to highlight that last year wasn’t a complete down and out. In fact, in terms of indie music, 2016 actually produced some of the best comebacks, new albums and live performances for decades.
So just in time for the beginning of a new year, we’ve counted down the good things to happen in 2016 from an indie music perspective, completed in the spirit of Auld Lang Syne.
1. Firstly, The 1975 bestowed their ‘difficult second album’ upon the world which propelled the Manchester lads to worldwide critical acclaim and a UK arena tour. The band famously promoted their album with a string of pink neon storyboards of song titles from the tail end of 2015 until its actual release date. From there; they have went from strength to strength; with headline festival slots and sold out performances both in Europe and across the pond in America. They have become quite simply the band of the year with I like it when you sleep for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it winning the Q award for best album.
2. The Stone Roses returned with an admittedly underwhelming new song, but that’s not the point; they’re back. The veterans hadn’t released any new music in over twenty years so this was a huge deal for Roses fans and music in general. Their first release ‘All for one’ only has a mere 59 words in it, however, those words are intended to demonstrate the unity they have with each other; a metaphorical ‘water under the bridge’ to the years where they didn’t record or perform together.
The Roses, went on to release a second new track ‘Beautiful thing’ which was met with a higher critical acclaim, however, it was their captivating live performances in Manchester and T in the Park that they would most likely be remembered. In September they released tickets to their UK stadium tour; which predictably sold out in hours and only stands as proof that the desire for lemon tasting music is still as high as it was in 1994 when the boys left us.
3. The Courteeners finally received the credit they deserve and were awarded with an arena tour for their new album Mapping the rendezvous, which peaked at number four in the official album charts. The lads set every festival they played over the summer alight, and Liam’s famous: “Every single one of ya’s” during Not Nineteen Forever has become somewhat of a cult following in itself.
4. Blossoms, well, blossomed. Last year the boys’ self entitled album was the best-selling debut album of 2016 and they became a true force to be reckoned with in the music scene. Their lead single ‘Charlemagne’ became an indie classic and the boys can only be excited for what they have set their selves up for this year.
5. Catfish and the Bottlemen released their second album and subsequently travelled on tour to promote it. The album included the new classics ‘7’ and ‘Soundcheck’; the record also provided the people of Glasgow with an anthem dedicated to their home city; which naturally went down an absolute treat in their gig at the SECC.
6. Finally, Jake Bugg returned after two years out of the limelight with his third studio album On My One. The Nottingham star brought out singles ‘Gimme the love’ and ‘On my One’ during the summer to a welcomed reception by fans, he also performed at many festivals; including T in the park where he surprised the crowd by bringing out Red Hot Chilli Peppers drummer, Chad Smith, to play Slumville Sunrise.
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