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Alex Turner is the frontman of Arctic Monkeys. Born on January 6 1986 in Sheffield, Turner began writing his own songs aged 15, after his parents bought him a guitar for Christmas. He is known for his sharp lyrical style and has cited rap artists like The Streets and Roots Manuva as big influences on him. The Arctic Monkeys’ debut album, ‘Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not‘, an indie masterpiece that continued the lineage of great British guitar music that had run from The Beatles to The Libertines, was released in 2006. It became the fastest-selling debut album in British music history and was named by NME as the ‘Album of the Year’.
The band’s follow-up, ‘Favourite Worst Nightmare’, went straight to number one in the albums chart and was critically acclaimed, featuring complex yet infectious indie-pop bangers. That same year, Turner made his first music away from Arctic Monkeys having formed The Last Shadow Puppets with Miles Kane, who had previously supported Arctic Monkeys on tour as part of The Rascals. The duo’s first album, ‘The Age Of The Understatement‘, was recorded with James Ford and Owen Pallett in two weeks. Upon its release on April 21 2008, NME described the record as “an awesome achievement – a modern reinvigoration of an archaic, dead musical language”.
2009 was a year of musical departure for the Monkeys. Third album ‘Humbug’ was recorded in Los Angeles and Nevada, and was largely produced by Josh Homme from Queens of the Stone Age. The result is a swampy, psychedelic-tinged record with surreal lyrics and offbeat musical arrangements. We later said that ‘Humbug’ was as much about subverting people’s impressions of who the band were as it was an album in its own right”. Yet the follow-up, 2011’s ‘Suck It And See‘, was a more conventional guitar-pop album, largely written by Turner in New York. It went to number one in the UK album charts.
Tuner worked with Miles Kane once again in 2011, writing and co-writing six of the songs on Kane’s 2011 debut solo album, ‘Colour Of The Trap‘. The following year, Kane told the media the pair would release another album as The Last Shadow Puppets “when the time is right”. That year also saw Turner’s first solo material released in the form of the soundtrack to Submarine, the debut film from comedian Richard Ayoade, who had previously directed the videos for ‘Fluorescent Adolescent’, ‘Cornerstone’ and ‘Crying Lightning’.
In 2013, Turner collaborated with Queens Of The Stone Age on their sixth album ‘…Like Clockwork‘, providing vocals on ‘If I Had A Tail’ and inspired the track ‘Kalopsia’ after telling frontman Josh Homme about the condition of the same name. That year also saw the release of The Arctic Monkey’s acclaimed fifth album ‘AM‘, which saw the band move into heavy rock territory. NME awarded the album 10/10, with our review arguing that the record was “absolutely and unarguably the most incredible album of their career”, adding that “it might also be the greatest record of the last decade”. With this album, Turner and co. became the first independent-label band to have five consecutive albums reach number one in the UK charts. Turner caused controversy at the 2014 Brit Awards when he declared rock’n’roll music would never die while picking up the Best Album award for ‘AM’.
In late 2015, The Last Shadow Puppets’ official Facebook page teased a new album from Alex Turner and Miles Kane. That album turned out to be ‘Everything You’ve Come to Expect‘, which didn’t sound anything like the Scott Walker pastiche of its predecessor. Instead its often influenced by 70s soft-rock and blue-eyed soul, tough there are moments of psych-rock too. The duo toured the album in summer 2016, often dressed as louche lounge lizards, with Turner busting out dance moves that are best described as… experimental. Meanwhile, it was reported in late 2016 that the Arctic Monkeys, having long since relocated to Los Angeles, had returned to their hometown of Sheffield and may be in the process of working on new material.