If you were a teenager in the mid-2000s and weren’t really into that whole weird indie, nu-rave thing, then did you even teenage, mate?
It all seems like one, big depressing memory now: those lads in bad skinny jeans and vests (me), the ones wearing eyeliner and rosary beads (me), the ones slapping guitars while girls lustfully gazed on instead of cringed (not me).
You’ll probably remember when one of your mates carved “Down in Albion” onto a science desk with blade from the art department, too, or when Preston from The Ordinary Boys stormed off Never Mind the Buzzcocks in his little cardigan, or when people still wore cardigans.
The maddest thing about reaching real adulthood is the dawning realisation that you’re no longer youthful. It’s the exact same feeling you get when you go into a nightclub for the first time in years. You’re old, mate. Now you find yourself looking back to the days when things were easier, before bills and taxes. Again, I'm sorry to break it to you, but you’re old.
But for nostalgia reasons, and the fact I’m still secretly into the indie music that created an entire generation of young cocky rockstar wannabees like I was, I’m taking it back to the old MySpace days to remember some of the greats you probably forgot about and find out what happened to them.
1. Larrikin Love
Larrikin Love were one of the true favourites of the 2000s, their madcap debut album The Freedom Spark sending chills down the spine of every little indie kid in a trilby and an off-white vest.
The London four-piece managed to combine a mix of folk, punk, reggae, bluegrass and a load of fiddles, while still making it sound ace. Their debut record, which sadly turned out to be their only album, was full of oddball tales of finding dead bodies and fighting cross-dressers and it still sounds as mint now as it did back in 2006.
Lead singer Edward “Larrikin” Leeson’s all-round eccentricity managed to make everything the band were involved in as exciting as it was intriguing. After only a few years on the scene, and before they really explored what they could’ve done outside of the UK, the band split in 2007. Ed went on to form the band Pan I Am – who were really quite bad – before moving to LA a few years later to work with Courtney Love. Which is well weird.
2. Jack Peñate
What the fuck happened to and where the fuck is Jack Peñate? Like, he turned up in 2006, best mates with Adele, with his ultra-cool ‘Second Minute or Hour’ single that, quite honestly, mesmerised me, then he released ‘Spit at Stars’ and ‘Torn on the Platform’ which featured on his top 10-bothering debut album Matinée.
Jack briefly returned in 2009 with ‘Tonight’s Today’ and a few other quite below par tracks on his second album Everything is New (including one which featured a certain Adele Adkins on backing vocals), but has anyone honestly heard of him since?
3. The Holloways
There was a pub on Holloway Road called Nambucca and it was the place to be for super-trendy indie bands in the mid-’00s (Pete Doherty would regularly hang there, so it must’ve been cool). The Holloways were kinda its house band. Their upbeat melodies and typically indie look attracted hordes of fans when they came onto the scene in 2006 and their best track ‘Generator’ was an actual bona fide belter.
For years a red hard hat I caught at one of their gigs in 2008 took pride of place on my bedroom wall. I was quite into them. Like, really quite into them. I saw them live on at least six separate occasions and still I have no idea why they all wore hard hats in their gigs, but I have one and that’s all that matters.
After some successful years and a really quite good album, the band split in 2011. Guitarist Rob Skipper went on to form the brilliantly-named Rob Skipper & The Musical Differences and then HARES before sadly passing away in 2014, while drummer Dave Danger (another great name) went on to perform with Burning Beaches – we’ll always remember those halcyon Holloways days though.
Nu-rave happened in 2006. Remember that? That was, like, 11 years ago. White hoodies, glow sticks, those indie rag scarf things, bad hair and wristbands. Hadouken! pioneered this. They played loose with punctuation, but created something great. It was techno, but rock, and grime and rave.
Behind their undoubtedly catchy synth-bashing and crying emo screams, they didn’t have that bad a set of lyrics; ‘That Boy That Girl’, the band’s most successful riddim, was about posh kids refusing to dance, which is enough for anyone to give them a big thumbs up.
The band are actually still together, having released two further albums since their 2008 debut Music for an Accelerated Culture, but have remained silent since they announced a hiatus in 2014. So I’d imagine that’s your lot.
5. The Rumble Strips
The Rumble Strips were touted as the ’00s’ answer to Dexy’s Midnight Runners – not that we needed an answer – and hearing lead singer Charlie Walker’s voice, you could see why.
Hailing from Tavistock, Devon, the four-piece took their country vibes on a much broader journey and soon found themselves at the forefront of the then-exploding London live music scene. In 2005 they released ‘Motorcycle’ from their debut album Girls and Weather, an album that also included their biggest and best track, ‘Alarm Clock’, which remains a total banger to this day.
The band split in 2010 after releasing two albums, which reached the heady heights of numbers 70 and 76 respectively, before hooking back up in 2015 to record some new stuff. They released The Lightship Recordings last year and remain together.
6. The Dykeenies
Scottish troupe The Dykneenies’ brand of anthemic indie found them dubbed Britain’s version of The Killers. An early appearance on XFM Scotland in the mid-’00s boosted their profile, leading to an A&R frenzy, which ended with them signing to Lavolta Records.
Their album Nothing Means Everything was home to a few bangers, none more so than ‘Clean Up Your Eyes’, which reached 53 in the UK singles chart – their best-performing release to date.
The band never did flesh out their ambitions with enough actual musical meat, but they were a part of the infamous NME tour in 2006, playing alongside The Maccabees and The Horrors.
In 2012 the band announced their split because of the old classic “musical differences” – more likely a second album that didn’t bother the scorers – but last year gave their fans hope by declaring on their Facebook page that they would be returning in 2017, with tours planned for May time. At time of writing there are no tours announced, though. Sorry to disappoint you guys.
7. Good Shoes
It used to be near-on impossible to go to an indie disco and not hear Good Shoes at some point. The Morden group’s debut single ‘All in My Head’ was a belter. Good Shoes were – and still are – one of the ‘00s’ most underrated bands.
The four-piece formed in 2004, with ‘All in My Head’ coming two years later, and reaching number 77 in the UK charts. The following two tracks – ‘The Photos on My Wall’ and indie classic ‘Never Meant to Hurt You’ – taken from their 2007 debut album Think Before You Speak – reached number 48 and 34 respectively, but both made it to number one in the official indie charts which, as we all know, is the real quiz.
Their second LP No Hope, No Future, released in 2010, was a damn sight better than its bleak title suggested, but it did give quite an insight into what the future held for Good Shoes. The band remain together for now, but not releasing anything in over seven years is never a good sign.
8. Hot Club de Paris
Probably the best ever band to come out of Liverpool. Don’t @ me. These math-rock-tinged indie heroes came across like a bunch of mates taking the piss out of each other but in really beautiful, harmonious ways that were a pleasure to the ears of all indie kids. Their experimental oddness under the whoops and wails was mustard.
Their debut single entitled (deep breath) ‘Sometimesitsbetternottostickbitsofeachotherineachotherforeachother’ back in 2006 made no impact on the charts, but the title alone deserved a lot of respect.
After first album Drop It ‘til It Pops (2006) and second album Live At Dead Lake (2008), they continued their excellently-named releases with 2010 EP With Days Like this as Cheap as Chewing Gum, Why Would Anyone Want to Work? – however, in good indie band tradition, Hot Club de Paris announced a hiatus in 2012 and no one has heard a word since.
Shitdisco firmly sat at the kids’ table of the mid-’00s nu-rave scene, while mother New Young Pony Club and punctuation maniac father Hadouken! were with the grown-ups leading the way and doing it right. Shitdisco were never groundbreaking, but their song ‘I Know Kung Fu’ (a song I actually found on an old iPod of mine a few weeks back) was so shit it was good. It – of course – didn’t make it into the charts, but will always remain a classic in its own way.
Remarkably, in 2007, they signed to EDM giant Steve Aoki’s Dim Mak Records but, alas in 2009, after a ‘mutual agreement’ (a bit like when football managers get fired), the band split and went their separate ways. According to Wikipedia, “They continue to DJ and members have gone on to form the bands Age of Consent and Ubre Blanca” and Wikipedia’s never wrong is it.
10. Cajun Dance Party
Sliding into the limelight in 2005 while still at school, Cajun Dance Party are probably one of the most underrated bands of all time. Coming across like the uglier, softer, less-successful younger brother of The Kooks, the five-piece had a couple of bangers in the form of ‘Amylase’ and ‘Colourful Life’.
Originally forming only to enter into their school ‘battle of the bands’ competition, and all aged 15 at the time, they decided to write some 100% mustard tunes and get an album together less than two years later, all while still studying.
No split was ever officially announced but Max Bloom and Daniel Blumberg went off in 2009 to form the nu-grunge act Yuck, while the others went to university. Blumberg subsequently left Yuck in 2013, but Bloom continues, with the band’s third album Stranger Things (before you ask, nothing to do with the Netflix show) released in 2016.
11. Hot Hot Heat
Canadians Hot Hot Heat will forever be known for their one great song ‘Bandages’. Like so many indie bands before them, the curse of the one-hit wonder struck. But fuck it’s a good song.
Formed in 1999, Hot Hot Heat were veterans of the indie scene. They were around before it even existed. Essentially, they were indie before indie was indie, and they were still kicking about when everyone was finished with it too.
However, after five years of little activity, they announced in 2016 that their fifth, self-titled, album would be their last – so fare thee well, Hot Hot Heat, and thank you for ‘Bandages’.