2006: a simpler time. Not necessarily a better time, but a time when all it took to get signed was a pair of ripped jeans and a copy of The Strokes’ debut album. 10 years on, it’s probably fair to say that not everything from the golden era of indie music – read: clattering guitar-pop – holds up to scrutiny. Here, though, are 10 indie anthems from 2006 that still sound amazing.
1. Arctic Monkeys, ‘Fake Tales Of San Francisco’
Do you remember these scruffy urchins from Sheffield? Oh, yes, that’s right – they’re still one of the biggest and best bands on the planet. The lyrics see frontman Alex Turner puncturing the posturing and pretentiousness of people from northern England acting like they’re from America. We’re saying nothing.
2. Good Shoes, ‘The Photos On My Wall’
Taken from the London four-piece’s debut album ‘Think Before You Speak’, this a short (one minute and 52 seconds, no less) guitar-pop confection is so sweet it’ll make your teeth itch. Good Shoes’ follow-up album is called ‘No Hope, No Future’. They’ve not released anything since.
3. Hot Club De Paris, ‘sometimesitsbetternottostickbitsofeachotherineachother’
Wise words. Wise, curiously-punctuated words. This Liverpool trio – currently on hiatus – should try their hands at life coaching. Then again, when they can write music as irresistible as the dementedly fun, spindly guitar riff here, perhaps Hot Club De Paris should stick to delivering sage advice via the medium of song.
4. Larrikin Love, ‘Happy As Annie’
Well, what a peculiar song this is. A right old Dickensian knees-up with surprisingly dark lyrics, this is a reminder that London’s Larrikin Love were one of the more idiosyncratic bands of the period. Bit of a cheat, this – the song was first released in 2005 but was re-released a year later. But it makes the grade for being one of the most unusually catchy and enduring songs of the period, melding bluegrass, country, buzzsaw riffs and rollocking percussion.
5. Jamie T, ‘Sheila’
Speaking of a right old mockney knees-up, Wimbledon don Jamie T’s debut single remains an absolute banger. Here, the man born Jamie Treays marks himself out as a gifted storyteller with an ear for a groove, capturing the reckless, hard-drinking spirit of the era (“Sheila goes out with her mate Stella / It gets poured all over her fella”). Also: how many indie songs featured a sample of a John Betjemen poem and cast the late, great actor Bob Hoskins in their video? Too few, readers, far too few.
6. The Long Blondes, ‘Once And Never Again’
Kate Jackson of the now sadly defunct Long Blondes released her first solo album ‘British Road Movies’ this year. Man, it reminded us how great her old band’s 2006 track ‘Once And Never Again’ is. That jaunty intro, her badass vocal delivery, the killer line, “19 / you’re only 19 for God’s sake / You don’t need a boyfriend.” Bring back the indie disco!
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7. Be Your Own Pet, ‘Adventure’
The self-titled 2006 debut from this Nashville group, all teenagers at the time, was released by Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth fame via his Ecstatic Peace label. It’s clear what he saw in them: blistering, joyful art-punk. This song in particular, with the refrain, “We are adventuring / We are adventurers!”, captures the fun and frivolity of youth.
8. The Holloways, ‘Generator’
NME called the north London group’s debut album ‘So This Is Modern Britain’ “the most informed, ecstatic and goddarn best guitar-pop record of 2006”. You know what, this song still stands up, what with its ska rhythm, optimistic lyrics (“I’m not gonna let stuff get me upset and I won’t let the little things get me depressed”) and general vibe of celebrating music as a mood-lifter. Fittingly, you can’t help but smile when you hear it.
9. The Wombats, ‘Move To New York’
Liverpool’s The Wombats: unfairly maligned. They were always more of a fun pop group that happened to play guitars than a rock’n’roll band – indeed, they later became a full-blown pop group. And this ode to jacking it all in for the Big Apple remains a danceable joy. When the chorus kicks in, the bassline revs up like an aeroplane that’s going to take you far from your shitty provincial town and land you in a super-cool cosmopolitan future. Welcome, friend.
Franz Ferdinand, ‘Eleanor Put Your Boots On’
The last single to be taken from the Scottish art-rockers’ second album ‘You Could Have It So Much Better’, this acoustic ditty is directed at Fiery Furnaces singer Eleanor Friedberger, with whom Franz Ferdinand frontman Alex Kapranos was in a relationship. It’s wistful, off-kilter pop, name-checking New York’s ye olde fairground Coney Island and sprinkled with impish piano keys. Wonder if, like us, Friedberger’s still listening to it in 2016?