Not everything lasts the test of time. Beloved comedy shows from previous decades tend to contain now-problematic jokes. That milk in your fridge from a couple of weeks back needs throwing out. And the headrush OMG riff-stuffed excitement of mid-’00s indie did, on reflection, contain the odd duff track.
But that’s no reflection on the below – ten indie anthems which, to this day, still sound blow-your-socks-off incredible, and will be soundtracking nostalgic nights out until the end of time. So next time a dismissive mate calls indie nothing but a fad, play them these timeless triumphs:
1. Arctic Monkeys – ‘Fluorescent Adolescent’
Arctic Monkeys are one of the few bands to outlast indie’s heyday, thanks to their evolution from skinny Sheffield lads to leather-clad rock behemoths. It also helps when they possess one of the world’s best lyricists, Alex Turner, whose vivid, playful songwriting doesn’t have a sell-by date. ‘Fluorescent Adolescent’ is up there with the group’s finest moments, a tale of rebellion gone stale.
2. MGMT – ‘Time to Pretend’
For a brief moment, MGMT looked fully capable of becoming psych rock gods. Wild, frenzied debut LP ‘Oracular Spectacular’ put the Connecticut duo on a pedestal. And while the less well-received follow-up ‘Congratulations’ dampened the hype, we’ll always have the instant-grat brilliance of ‘Time to Pretend’, a fantasy tale of reckless rock stardom which actually ended up coming true.
- Read more: The best indie nights in London
3. The Cribs – ‘Men’s Needs’
The Cribs always stood slightly separate from indie’s main pack. The Wakefield group’s spiky, sarcasm-swept frustrations came to a head with 2007’s ‘Men’s Needs, Woman’s Needs, Whatever’, and this standout ended up being their highest-charting single.
4. Bloc Party – ‘I Still Remember’
Bloc Party have always proven themselves incapable of sticking to one sound – none more so that the switch from 2005 debut ‘Silent Alarm’ and follow-up ‘A Weekend in the City’, their expansive lament on London’s lost charm. Best of all was ‘I Still Remember’, a heartfelt tale of unrequited love.
5. Jamie T – ‘Sheila’
His four-year disappearing act notwithstanding, Jamie Treays is another indie darling with serious staying power. Since 2007, the drunken staggering ‘Sheila’ has become an even firmer favourite. Face it, it’s impossible not to scream “Looooooondooon!” on a disorderly night out.
6. The Maccabees – ‘First Love’
It’s a crying shame that The Maccabees are no longer with us. And if their gigantic Alexandra Palace send-off proved anything, it’s that their hopelessly romantic early material will be sorely missed. Early gem ‘First Love’ introduced many to Orlando Weeks’ loveswept croon.
7. Foals – ‘Mathletics’
Before they conquered arenas for fun, Foals were house party-dwelling troublemakers. Early single ‘Mathletics’ is a glimpse of their fidgety math rock roots. It rarely gets played during their live sets these days, but when it does, it’s an instant time capsule back to 2007.
8. The White Stripes – ‘Icky Thump’
One of the few indie giants yet to reform (at the time of writing), The White Stripes went stratospheric with 2007’s ‘Icky Thump’. Its title-track, a loose and frenzied, solo-packing giant, had the ragged style of a pack of hyenas going in for the kill. It’s still deadly to this day.
9. Late of the Pier – ‘Bathroom Gurgle’
Like Jamie T’s early material, Late of the Pier’s ‘Fantasy Black Channel’ debut found itself more cherished as the years went on. Berserk banger ‘Bathroom Gurgle’ might have traces of dated, nu-rave indulgence, but it remains a party-storming sensation.
10. Los Campesinos! – ‘You! Me! Dancing!’
Wales pack Los Campesinos! continue to make cult-adored, wit-crammed noise, by turns fiery and introspective. This was their breakthrough moment, an early 7” which took the Cardiff group from word-of-mouth buzz to the big time.