Remember what you were doing in June 2004? If you were a Shroomhead you would – you were standing on the Glastonbury Stone Circle convinced you were Nicholas Nickleby. How about April 2007? New Ravers have got the scars from the toxic face paint as a permanent reminder. The ever-shifting tides of musical movements are there to act as markers on your development through your euphoric, soul-searching, shape-shifting youth into mundane, Tory-voting middle age, and NME has always seen it as its duty to turn your taste and personality upside down every couple of years with some brash new scene and sharp new trouser. Here are nine of our favourites – we can laugh about then now but at the time they were brilliant…
Key artists: Klaxons, CSS, New Young Pony Club, Hadouken!, Test Icicles
The sound: rampaging punk rave, LCD-style electro disco and synthpop, occasional air raid siren and burst of ‘Ride On Time’ piano.
The look: Got dressed in the dark in Andy Warhol’s Factory. Neon everything. Glow stick necklace. Glass-less pink glasses. Face triangles. Caps spattered by a hyperactive, painting infant.
Did it catch on? Yes – New Rave swept the country in 2006, scooped the Mercury Prize (for Klaxons’ debut ‘Myths Of The Near Future’), left the nation’s Academies dripping in glowstick goo and created, in Klaxons’ Simon Taylor and CSS’s Lovefoxxx, the Harry and Megan of the age, described by CSS’s drummer as the “happiest couple on MySpace”.
Key artists: Mega City Four, Senseless Things, Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine, Pop Will Eat Itself
The sound: punk in spirit, partial to the odd drum machine in practice, fraggle bands were ragged indie rock pirates singing in a generally toneless, whiney snarl and taking their cues from ‘Bleach’.
The look: Fraggle Rock puppet dragged through a ditch in the Green Fields.
Did it catch on? Moderately. Carter USM became a cult monster and headlined Glastonbury, everyone else supported Blur once, probably.
Key artists: Ride, Slowdive, Chapterhouse, Moose, My Bloody Valentine
The sound: imagine a cathedral but, like, all sonic
The look: curtain of hair hiding a wan, gormless pout, suggesting mysterious but ultimately disappointing sex.
Did it catch on? At the time, shoegaze made a mild, wafty impact on the alternative scene before being mocked into an eye-rolling stupor by the music press and finally crushed beneath the almighty mothership of My Bloody Valentine’s returning with the monumental ‘Loveless’, like a vengeful Old Testament shoey God. But you know what they say about butterfly wings – 25 years later everyone’s a little bit shoe, even if they call it things like dreampop these days.
Key artists: Primal Scream, The Wedding Present, The Shop Assistants, The Pastels
The look: bowlcut-next-door
The sound: jangle pop like nobody’s watching (in many cases, they weren’t)
Did it catch on? Just a bit. NME’s C86 tape is widely regarded as the dawn of the indie era, collating the ‘80s DIY fanzine scene into one cohesive aesthetic that would form the backbone of the next 20 years of alternative guitar music, and beyond.
Key artists: Campag Velocet, Lo-Fidelity Allstars, Regular Fries
The look: So monumentally stoned you’ve turned up at the gig still in your cycling gear
The sound: baggy with learning difficulties
Did it catch on? No. In much the same way that Melody Maker’s mid-90s romo scene tried to revive the ’80s (badly) when we’d only just gotten rid of the frigging 80s thanks very much, skunk rock was a new, shit Madchester while all the shit Madchester bands were still actually making records.
Key artists: The Zutons, The Bees, The Coral
The sound: Hazy, hallucinogenic summer pop with saucy brass sections on, or did we imagine those?
The look: 1968 Monkees in sombreros and full armour
Did it catch on? It certainly did in the NME office where, for those few glorious months of the Third Summer Of Love when magic mushrooms were available legally over the counter due to some obscure drug law loophole, we instigated Shroom Tuesdays and wrote a few nice things about Keane. Shroomadelica captured the scent of that euphoric summer with tracks The Zutons’ ‘Pressure Point’, even if it needed Amy Winehouse’s help to outlast the national comedown.
Key artists: The Libertines, McLusky, The Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster, The Paddingtons, The Others
The sound: frenzied, filthy, narcotic indie punk pop in excelsis
The look: starving Whitechapel tramp
Did it catch on? In spirit, if not in name. Many attempts were made at naming the fervid torrent of guitar bands playing ‘guerrilla gigs’ in vests freshly dipped in the sop trays of Filthy McNasty’s. The Scene With No Name (guilty) stumbled at the first hurdle, when our editors didn’t let us include The Libertines amongst the Eighties Matchboxes and Cooper Temple Clauses kicking up an early-‘00s storm. Grot’n’roll almost caught hold, but by the time we finally come up with urchin rock, everyone was downing pints of glowstick juice at lunchtimes and going nu rave and urch had had its day.
New Acoustic Movement
Key artists: Travis, Badly Drawn Boy, Starsailor
The sound: Well, kinda acoustic
The look: Podgy, on a stool
Did it catch on? Worryingly so. Inspired by the likes of Noel Gallagher and Paul Weller deciding that the 90s had had its fun and it was time it went and sat on the Boring Stool to calm down, major NAM players like Travis (post brilliant lewd-rock period) and Starsailor became Top Ten stars and blurred the previously very distinct line between indie rock and David fucking Gray.
New Rock Revolution
Key artists: The Datsuns, Jet, The Von Bondies, The D4
The sound: hairy, sweaty-bollocked greaser rock
The look: hairy, sweaty-bollocked greaser. Including the girls.
Did it catch on? Like wildfire. There was something primal and volcanic about the way the Detroit garage bands fired up primordial blues and the Australasian contingent found new energy in their continents’ century-long fascination with AC/DC. To a certain breed of unreconstructed classic rock fan, Jet’s ‘Are You Gonna Be My Girl?’ defines the ‘00s in the same way that Reef’s ‘Place Your Hands’ does the ‘90s.