2016 was not, by most accounts, a great year, with Trump, Brexit and an uncountable number of celebrity deaths. However, the music scene rose above this, with The 1975’s I Like It When You Sleep For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It and The Last Shadow Puppets Everything You’ve Come To Expect ruling the indie market. I think that 2017 will be an even better year for indie rock. Here’s why.
The Return Of Arctic Monkeys
Arctic Monkeys, possibly the best British indie band of the last ten years, went on hiatus in 2014 after the successful fifth album, AM. Since then, frontman Alex Turner has made a second TLSP album with Miles Kane, and drummer Matt Helders has appeared on Iggy Pop’s latest album. Recently, the boys were all spotted together in Sheffield, sparking rumours of a return in 2017. NME have received confirmation that the High Green rockers are indeed reforming in preparation of a sixth album. Whether or not the album will be released by the end of the year is uncertain, but it is likely that they will hit the studio in 2017. As Arctic Monkey’s style has changed so dramatically since they burst onto the scene as awkward teenagers in 2005 it is difficult to predict how the new record will sound. However what is almost certain is that it will be another great chapter in their already celebrated journey.
Wolf Alice’s Second Album
Wolf Alice are one of my favourite bands. I love their versatility, their ability to have a pop song such as Freazy and a grungy track like She in the same album. After touring they were straight back in the studio and it seems like we will have the second installment from the north London outfit next year. I am pretty apprehensive, as it isn’t rare for the second album to fall a bit flat after fantastic first ones, which is what I’ve seen happen to both Catfish and the Bottlemen and Slaves. The good news is that fans often stay with the band, which is apparent from Catfish’s The Ride reaching number 1 in the UK charts. It is important that Wolf Alice can grow from this album and to do that they should take their time while making it. If they do recreate the winning formula I think we’ll will be in for a treat.
Lorde Finally Making Her Return
Lorde may not be as indie rock as most of the bands and artists I like but I am a really big fan of hers. She found success as a seventeen-year-old with worldwide hit Royals, and 2013’s Pure Heroine is one of the best albums I’ve heard. Her lyrics were much more advanced than her years, and the simple but enchanting melodies were fantastic. Since that success she hasn’t been quiet, working on two Hunger Games soundtracks which she gave one song each to and featuring on Disclosure’s second album, Caracal. After four years it is surely time for her to bring us her second offering. The focus of her first one was more on teenage life, being on the outskirts of popularity and growing up. Since then, however, she has become one of the common pop elite, hanging out with the kind of artist that sees music purely from a commercial side. This is why although I loved Pure Heroine, I feel it is relatively unlikely that the new album will have the same gravitas.
Jordan Cardy AKA Rat Boy has already had an amazing 2016, playing at huge festivals and touring across the UK. He already has enough songs to form an album, and I’m sure we will see something from him in 2017. He has quite a large range of musical styles and has a very DIY approach. I think that he can only improve and get bigger in the coming year. His earlier stuff, such as Fake ID was similar to Jamie T but since then he has changed further, with Kicked Out Tape a new and different approach. Big things in store for the Essex native.
Cabbage are a really exciting punk band. Hailing from Manchester, their songs are highly political and criticize the southern elite, Tories and stuck-up private school kids. They are irreverent and don’t take themselves too seriously, which is obvious from their rather strange name. Even if you don’t particularly agree with their message, the music is undeniably fast-paced and fun. They already have plenty of songs and a full-length album should be heading your way next year.
This female group are pretty new, only having two songs available on Spotify. Country Sleaze is my favourite; it’s a superb gritty, grungy guitar track that singles the Londoners out as something special. They bring something new and different to the male-dominated indie rock scene. Scum is also a song with country influences, which set them apart from what you would expect from a group of urban teenagers. 2017 is looking like a very interesting year for Goat Girl.
Black Honey have made their name by touring with the likes of Wolf Alice, and I think 2017 can be the year they really take off, with a full album a possibility. Their brand of gritty guitars with lead singer Izzy B. Phillips vocals and meaningful lyrics make a mean combination. Big things await the Brighton outfit.
McKenna burst onto the scene with anti-FIFA song Brazil in 2015 and hasn’t looked back since. His songs tackle deep issues and make him seem much more mature than the seventeen-year-old he is. Another artist that I think could release a full-length album in 2017, his songs are catchy and meaningful. While most of his current audience are in the indie bracket, it’s not difficult to see him reaching out to a more mainstream audience. Whether or not he wants to make that leap is yet to be seen.
This Welsh outfit has had a great 2016, touring with Slaves and releasing a number of songs. Another female-fronted band, their loud brand of guitar rock is catchy and crazy. I’m Not Your Girl is a particular favourite of mine, as it builds up to a tremendous crescendo. Yet again a band who could release an album in 2017 (a recurring theme in this list it seems), they are certainly one to look out for.
So there we have it. The albums and bands that I think will have the biggest influence in the next twelve months. If you agree or disagree with my opinions, think I’ve left someone out who deserves to be included or want to ask me a question, feel free to comment.