Forget Kaiser Chiefs and The Pigeon Detectives – Here Are 10 Reasons Why Leeds’ Music Scene Is Thriving

2006 was a weird year in Leeds. We had two bands at the forefront of Britpop The Revenge: Larger and Laddier, namely Kaiser Chiefs and The Pigeon Detectives.

This was logged by explorers as ‘the sound that Leeds makes’, and the search was called off while we were still in make-up. So Liverpool gets the Beatles, Manchester gets The Smiths, and we get a roped-off corner of Joseph’s Well with a plaque saying ‘Ricky Wilson once looked at this wall’. And I’m not knocking Matt Bowman’s sexy Alan Rickman-meets-Jeremy Clarkson charm (see below), but aren’t the Pigeon Detectives just the Kaiser Chiefs before they got laid?

Leeds already had fans, scenes, zines and labels enough to support its microcosmic music industry, and in 2006 celebrated with the Leeds Independent Music Awards. When the Kaisers showed up, it was to graciously hand out awards to other – completely different – bands they’d grown up with in the tangled, fun and noisy city.

In the absence of the 2009 awards, I’ve picked just ten disparate examples of superb stuff from the Leeds scene, arranged in alphabetical order, some established and some less so. You might like all, one or none, and a couple might even make you sick, but you’ll get my point.

1. Alt Track
This teenage genre-bastardising pair are both political and danceable, just like Chumbawamba aren’t.

2. Blue Roses
Aka the beautiful Laura Groves, from down the road in Bradford, who will probably break your heart with her throat and fingers.

3. Chickenhawk
Brew Records’ Tasmanian devils, showing that you can be metal and still clean your teeth. NME photographer Danny North is directing their zombie video in LS6 this very second.

4. Cowtown
Playful, joyful pissing about with cute noises, bent circuits and killer pullovers. If it sounds like fun, they’ll try it.

5. Grammatics
Apparently one of them got locked in the stinking Latitude loos overnight last year, but whatever it is that’s left them so twitchy, let’s hope they never get over it.

6. I Like Trains
Costume drama as big in Europe as they should be here. But Latitude festival and a breakthrough album two are coming. It won’t be long now.

7. Middleman
It’s ok, shit happens, maybe you were asleep. However, Middleman are back, so pay attention this time because there will be a test at the end.

Dinosaur Pile-Up
Made from bits of Mother Vulpine, U R Penetrators and This Et Al, they’re as silly, scary and impressive as their name suggests

Retro gamer geek Oliver’s first video, made by Vodafone, cost thousands. Number two cost his bus fare into town. Both were YouTube smashes.

Wild Beasts
Charismatic, eccentric and bold, it’s music for nutters on buses. I defy you to say they’re anything other than brilliant.