Videos by American Songwriter
As previously reported, a warehouse owned by independent music distributor PIAS was burnt down by rioters in London. Almost 200 labels relied on the distribution center, and some have lost their entire UK stocks, including the Beggars Group and Angular Recording Company. We would like to encourage you to support independent music by purchasing releases from the affected labels. For other ways to help, see the LabelLove site.
Across two LPs and several albums’ worth of additional bootleg material, the Libertines were one of the most important British guitar rock acts of the last decade. Though the band was eventually torn apart by Pete Doherty’s drug use, he and co-frontman Carl Barât gained significant acclaim for their evocative lyrics and melodically unhinged sound. Despite their troubled relationship, their songs often spoke of a more innocent England, such as fan favorite “The Good Old Days.”
Nominated for the 2010 Mercury Prize, Villagers’ Becoming a Jackal is an album of remarkable purity. The Irish alt-folk band tells stories both sweet and sinister with no shortage of skill. “The Pact (I’ll Be Your Fever)” is a sample of band leader Conor J. O’Brien’s talent for creating intimacy.
Frightened Rabbit – “Old Old Fashioned” (The Midnight Organ Fight, FatCat Records, 2008)
A great deal of Frightened Rabbit’s strength lies in the sheer earnestness of frontman Scott Hutchison’s voice. A standout from 2008’s The Midnight Organ Fight, “Old Old Fashioned” is simple, nostalgic, and heartbreaking.
With a sleek retro sensibility, The Long Blondes used their rich, literate songs to create characters inhabiting a distinct world of glamour gone wrong. “Giddy Stratospheres” brings a universal story of jealousy to life.
Patrick Wolf – “Hard Times” (The Bachelor, Bloody Chamber Music, 2009)
Baroque pop master Patrick Wolf has a knack for delivering albums that are both deeply personal and wildly fantastic. “Hard Times” is the striking beginning to fourth LP The Bachelor, carried by insistent strings.
Larrikin Love – “At The Feet of Ré” (The Freedom Spark, Infectious Records, 2006)
Larrikin Love’s sole album was never released Stateside, but was fairly successful at home in the UK. The now-defunct London band left behind a collection of indie rock gems flavored with Irish folk and bluegrass, including the refreshing “At The Feet of Ré.”
Sons and Daughters – “Red Receiver” (The Repulsion Box, Domino Records, 2005)
Scottish band Sons and Daughters combine classic country influences with a darker, dirtier attitude. They broke out in 2005 with The Repulsion Box and recently released their fourth LP Mirror Mirror.
The Pipettes – “Pull Shapes” (We Are the Pipettes, Memphis Industries, 2006)
Before the rise of garage-retro acts like Vivian Girls and Best Coast, The Pipettes were interpreting the ’60s girl group aesthetic in a much more literal fashion. Decked out in coordinating polka dot outfits, the trio harmonized over Spector-style production, delivering vintage style with a modern wink and nod.
Friendly Fires – “Hurting” (Pala, XL Recordings, 2011)
On sophomore album Pala, Friendly Fires have delivered another dose of adroit synth-rock. Forthcoming single “Hurting” packs a punch both emotionally and on the dancefloor.
The Pigeon Detectives – “Romantic Type” (Wait For Me, Dance to the Radio, 2007)
At their debut, The Pigeon Detectives exemplified the kind of guitar rock that followed the popularity of the Libertines, then Arctic Monkeys in the British music scene. Aggressively youthful, the band combines brightly raucous melodies with a ridiculous name.