Cobain’s Washington state trio are arguably the best on this list in terms of their musical prowess. I doubt anyone else I go on to list will have released an album as good as Nevermind. They’re in 10th because I’m too young to remember them, in fact I wasn’t even born during their glory years, nevertheless they influenced my current music taste far more than most who were making music at the time – I was simply too young.
Nevermind may have been released 4 years before I was born, but that album set a precedent for how relatively unfamiliar music can become a trailblazer.
I’m prepared for the uproar I’ll receive by ranking Radiohead this low, more so because they are a better band than others on this list. OK Computer is one of my all time favourite albums but it was released when I was 2, sharing parallel’s with my Nirvana reasoning. Although I love that album and Radiohead as a whole, it didn’t influence my music taste like the others’.
If you can tell me you didn’t go through an emo/pop-punk phase at some point during secondary school (or high school whatever you call it) you’re lying.
All The Small Things might be more recognisable to a myriad because of it’s popularity and appearances on movies/TV shows. However, if you truly had a pop-punk phase you will naturally prefer I Miss You and are able to recite every word.
The Californians entered the British mainstream consciousness with Enema of the State alongside their self titled album Blink-182. Even if that genre wasn’t quite your style, you would have heard a few of their tunes at the very minimum. Their influence on 90’s kids was quality, the nostalgia of those aforementioned songs or something like What’s My Age Again? Will forever create fantastic nostalgic moments.
- Red Hot Chilli Peppers
California boast another phenomenal export with the Red Hot Chilli Peppers. Again as previously mentioned, you may think this ranking is shocking, but there is reasoning behind the madness.
RHCP manage to fit in this list when they almost have no right to.
I’ve loved RHCP as long as I can remember, they’ve always just been around. When I truly got into music, I started to respect them more for how long they’ve been around for. Debuting in ’84, Kiedis and his band have always stayed relevant.
It just then happened that their best three albums came in succession, being, Californication (1999), By the Way (2002) and Stadium Arcadium (2006). It ensured they didn’t just stay relevant, but bossed the alternative rock genre.
- The Killers
I myself. am rather flabbergasted that I’ve put The Killers above RHCP, Radiohead and Nirvana. Again, there’s reasoning behind more of my madness.
Mr Brightside might own the title of the most cliché indie song of the last few decades, but it’s still indisputable the effect the Killers had on the music scene throughout the 00’s.
Hot Fuss was the first album I ever bought, on CD, remember when they existed?
There was an abundance of songs on that album which were great, All These Things That I’ve Done stole the limelight when it was used on a Nike advert. Sam’s Town and then Day & Age were brilliant follow up albums, albeit they may not match up to Hot Fuss.
It’s easy to turn your nose up at the way The Killers music is used in contemporary society. You shouldn’t think like that though, you should appreciate the effect their debut release had on Indie music and how they possess an iconic anthem, even if it is a bit cliché.
- Green Day
American Idiot’s release in 2004 changed the lives of many adolescents, I first heard it when I was 9 years old which to be fair still changed my life.
American Idiot as the lead track, illustrating contemporary punk aspects towards the US, reminding us of the Sex Pistols in many ways. Jesus of Suburbia, a 9 minute song which is easily the best on the album. A release full of pure quality that whilst being phenomenal musically, also commentated on American politics at the time of release.
They have remained steady since then, albeit struggling to reach the heights of American Idiot. Armstrong’s trio will still forever have a special place in our hearts.
- Jake Bugg
I’ve previously written articles about Jake Bugg, I once thought he could be the new saviour of proper music, but then I found out he didn’t write most of his own tunes – so I ranted.
He almost felt like a combination of Oasis and Bob Dylan, just what we needed at the time. His first two albums made me think I’d adore his music for as long as he carried on releasing stuff, until he admitted upon releasing his third album that he hadn’t actually written the content for his first two albums.
I gave him a chance and tried to get into his third album On My One, but it was mediocre at best. Then he followed that with Hearts That Strain, which I also slated in a previous article.
He may have disappointed me in a few areas, but my infatuation with him during his first two albums alongside how much I enjoyed his live performances, cements his place at 4.
I told a bit of a lie earlier, Hot Fuss was the first album I ever bought, but that purchase involved Kasabian’s Empire album.
That mid 00’s outbreak of top indie bands was unprecedented, Kasabian led that revolution with the Arctic Monkeys (spoiler?)
The Yorkshire and Leicestershire rockers pioneered that indie explosion, alongside The Libertines which has now made me feel guilty for not including them on this list.
Their Northwrn mates in AM may have the bragging rights to a better first album, but I’d wager that Kasabian’s debut has more recogniseable songs on it. I mean, find me a person that has never heard Club Foot or LSF…
I’ve been pissed off with myself for years that I’ve still not seen them live, they supposedly rival Muse for the best current live band (who also somehow didn’t make this list.)
They experimented with their musical formula, not just sticking to what was a winning one, 48:13 being the best example. They never quite matched Arctic Monkeys in terms of a top notch contemporary avant garde transition – which I’ll soon elaborate on if I haven’t made it obvious enough.
The East Midlands boys will always be a quintessential staple of 00’s indie, whilst also expanding their repertoire further in musical terms.
They’re not quite the Arctic Monkeys who we’ll get to later, but they’re still bloody phenomenal.
2. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds
Anyone who grew up in the 90s was likely swayed towards the genre of music I’ve talked about throughout this, by oasis.
I despised my mum and sister constantly listening to the spice girls as a youngster, never understanding their love for that particular type of music – or any music. Until I heard little by little on the radio.
I instantly realised that was my kind of music. I was learning to play the guitar at the time, with the first song I ever learnt and the only one I still remember now – being The Importance or Being Idle.
It was a sad day when Oasis split up, but Noel’s High Flying Birds was a perfect metaphorical Phoenix rising from those ashes.
Noel’s first solo album is as good as any Oasis album except the first two. The way he’s experimented with musical styles alongside moving away from the steady Oasis formula, created some great stuff.
The rest of his discography is open to interpretation from the listener, I love most of it but a myriad detest the direction he’s gone in.
Oasis probably had the biggest influence on my music taste than anybody else, but it’s Noel going solo that made me appreciate the importance of songwriting and creativity, alongside how Oasis would be nothing without Noel.
Let me just get my tin hat.
- Arctic Monkeys
Do you know how to figure out if an alternative band or musician has made it big? It’s when they crack the mainstream charts despite not conforming to what’s popular at the time, which tends to make up most the chart listings.
Oasis are a great example and fair comparison, the Manchester band took their music around the world, becoming a household name everywhere. Arctic Monkeys haven’t quite met what Oasis did, but they aren’t far off.
The Sheffield boys can boast one of the best debut albums of all time, alongside no poor albums, but it’s the 2013 release of AM that really put them on the map. It was incredibly popular whilst also maintaining most of their musical roots.
A generation adored and resonated with Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not, but it’s their daring to be adventurous that makes them truly special. They did the opposite of playing it safe by releasing Humbug, then more so by releasing Tranqulitity Bse Hotel & Casino off the back of AM – even though they could’ve simply emulated another AM which would’ve ensured millions of sales again.
Their resonance with youth, awareness of culture around them and adventurous nature musically lead to them deservedly being on top of the indie/alternative scene, but most importantly they always make quality music.