From the Arizona desert to the frozen tundra of Minneapolis, a guest post tonight from Britpop diggin Mark
Shh. Be very quiet. If you listen closely you can hear the sound of good music coming from across the pond. Its tough to hear, I know, over the American Music Industrys insistence at flooding our ears with the drivel of Jessica Simpson, Clay Aiken, and the latest plastic pop icon. But if you really want to hear something great, check out the UK music scene.
Most people think that Brit Pop is over. Done. Blur vs. Oasis. Who cares? It all ended in 1997 when Oasis released Be Here Now. The truth is that for the last 4 years there have been dozens of bands that have been churning out music in the UK that is nothing short of spectacular. Sure, American record companies let through some bands occasionally like Coldplay or Franz Ferdinand.
For the most part, however, these nitwits feel that you and I and the American listening public wouldnt like Doves, The Stereophonics, Starsailor, The Coral, or Snow Patrol. Their support of these bands when they come to America is minimal and many of you probably havent even heard of them. And yet, they have made some of my favorite music over the last decade. So how do I learn of this music awash in a land of mediocrity?
I read the UK music magazine NME (New Musical Express). They have been around since Elvis and are very plugged in to what is cool and what is not. Their writers actually go to underground gigs, get to know the bands and their fans, and write about the music that is still making the land of the Beatles radiate sonic waves of grooviness. It is from NME (www.nme.com) that I get most of my information about the latest and greatest UK bands.
The biggest band in the UK right now is The Arctic Monkeys. They have two singles out, Fake Tales of San Francisco and I Bet That You Look Good On The Dance Floor and they are stunning. They sound like a cross between early Who and kick ass funk. They have tons of energy, youth and irreverence, everything a good band should have.
I would also check out The Subways (good power pop trio), Babyshambles (ex-Libertine Pete Doherty, produced by Mick Jones of The Clash), and The Kooks (jangly guitar pop). These are just a few of the many great bands that are jamming away in the UK, making great music unbeknownst to most Americans. I urge you to get plugged in to the UK music scene through NME or staying in contact with me (firstname.lastname@example.org) to hear about whats new and cool.
And for the record, I am a fan of some American bands like the Strokes, The White Stripes, and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. Of course, I read about them first in NME.
Fake Tales of San Francisco (mp3)
All you readers in the U.K., what do you think? Any other recommendations?