james debate
james debate

Friday, 21 March 2008

When someone uses the term 'indie' it brings all different kinds of images and ideas to different people. At the end of the day though it basically just refers to an artist of some form who hasn't signed a major contract with a big record label or movie studio, and so operates without the massive income, advertising and budgets of other more well known artists. However record labels are not always right. Especially today when so many of them opt for the lowest common denominator that brings in the bucketloads of cash, and generally propagate the same old stuff over and over again, both good and bad. Anyone who has ever looked into the indie music scene knows all too well that there are tons and tons of hidden gems out there that have yet to be appreciated fully, or may never be. In this article I shall help you out by giving you a taste of a few of the hotter recent indie tunes.

We will begin with Jim Noir.
You may be excused for thinking that nothing even vaguely cultural of note has come out of Manchester since... well... erm... hang on i'll think of one. You certainly wouldn't associate some of the best pop melodies of the past decade with that place. But all that has changed now without you even knowing it. Jim Noir is a one man army of a band, with a quirky fresh sound that doesn't come along too often. After his debut album 'Tower of Love' received high critical acclaim and a few soundtrack credits on shows like Grey's Anatomy, his followup titled simply 'Jim Noir' could well be the album that finally gives him his breakthrough. I think once you've listened to some of the following song samples you'll begin to see why.
Happy Day Today - Jim Noir
Key of C - Jim Noir
I Me You I'm Your - Jim Noir

Next up Ben Folds.
This one may be a bit more familiar. Ben Folds has achieved a modicum of success, having been around for a good deal longer. Singer, pianist, composer, performer, song writer and multi-instrumentalist, Ben Folds is widely acclaimed as a multi talented artist, a rare talent. Surprisingly despite this moderate success in America he has never crossed over to this country, til now. With a varied musical talent, from pop to piano ballads, to dr dre's 'bitches aint shit', there are a number of songs that are truly worth a listen to if you haven't already. I'm actually very angry with this first preview as it cuts out before the stunning chorus which is the best bit by quite a distance, just take my word for it and buy the song, do it now and thank me later, if you don't like it i'll refund you the damn 79p!
Brick - Ben Folds Five
Still Fighting it - Ben Folds
Bitches Ain't Shit - Ben Folds

Last one for today VHS or Beta.
The name of the band itself seems to harken back to the 1980s, and indeed the sound varies between daft punk-esque house tracks and 1980s the cure/duran duran rock, to excellent effect. They rock with melody and really touch home with evocative lyrics. If you have any flavour for the styles mentioned above then this is a no-brainer, you will love these guys.
Alive - VHS or Beta
Can't Believe a Single Word - VHS or Beta
Forever - VHS or Beta

Well ok I lied, one more, 4 is my favorite number anyway Stars.
Quite possibly the only good thing ever to have come out of Canada besides maple syrup. Stars are a band of dreamy, romantic pop-rockers who, quite frankly, achieve a harmony of lyrics, melody and depth that most bands can only dream of. Characterized by lush instrumentation, nimble production and mixing, narrative lyrics, and soft but nuanced vocals, these are the kinds of songs that remind you that life is worth living. Again, despite achieving some level of recognition in America, this band is still surprisingly unknown in this country, something which really needs to be rectified. It's very hard for me to pick three songs as there are a few you should hear. If I were you I'd just go and buy their last two albums 'Set Yourself on Fire' and 'In Our Bedroom After the War'.
Ageless Beauty - Stars
Window Bird - Stars
Sleep Tonight - Stars

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