In Defense of Britpop (Well, Some of It)

Cometh the anniversary, cometh the backlash. As I’ve already discussed this week, 2014 is a year that bursts with musical anniversaries — on this side of the Atlantic it was the decline of grunge (and a vintage year for hip hop), while across the ocean it’s the 20th anniversary of the commercial height of Britpop. There’s plenty of nostalgia around the anniversary, but there’s also been a significant backlash: The Guardian‘s Michael Hann described it as “a cultural abomination that set music back,” while The Quietus’ Taylor Parkes launched a broadside against Britpop nostalgia, arguing that “Britpop was the willing soundtrack to — and yes, enabler of — the final destruction of everything Britpop ever claimed to love.” Hey, come on now. It wasn’t all bad. Not at first, anyway. … Read More

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A Selection of Criminally Underrated Britpop Anthems

It’s the time of year for hilarious reader-voted music lists, it seems. First there was Rolling Stone‘s Worst Bands of the 1990s, which embarrassingly dubbed Nirvana the fifth-worst band of the decade, and now there’s the NME‘s Greatest Britpop Anthems, in which the first five spots are all filled by Oasis songs. If you go by the NME readership’s version of history, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Oasis and Blur were the only two bands writing decent songs during the 1990s, with the occasional token mention for Suede and Pulp. Clearly, this isn’t the case. So here’s a selection of underrated Britpop anthems by bands — some of which even include women! — that didn’t make NME‘s list. … Read More

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10 of Indie Rock’s Finest Summer Anthems

The new Beach House record is out this week, and while we’ve always thought the band’s name was more wry irony than genuine summeriness — Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally’s music evokes the atmosphere of boarded-up resorts and empty beaches, as far as we’re concerned — we’ve got no doubt that Bloom is gonna be the soundtrack to many, many people’s summers. And, indeed, every summer needs a good soundtrack, so we thought we’d take this opportunity to take a look at some of our favorite indie summer anthems — songs that celebrate the sun, or just do a fine job of capturing the atmosphere of the season in all its complex, sweaty glory. … Read More

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A Eulogy for Great Bands We Lost This Year

Maybe all good things really must come to an end, but it seems a little cruel that seven of them had to do so this year. With careers spanning from less than five years to nearly two decades, the bands that broke up in 2010 all left a mark on the music map that won’t be soon forgotten. It’s sad to think we’re entering 2011 knowing we won’t hear new music from any of these artists or be able to see them live, so let’s keep our fingers crossed for new groups to pick up the slack. For those who quit their rock, here’s our salute to you. … Read More

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The Morning's Top 5 Pop Culture Stories

1. Last night Conan O’Brien kicked off his live tour in Eugene, Oregon with appearances by Andy Richter, Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, and Masturbating Bear. Watch a video of him performing “I Will Survive.” [via HuffPo]
2. Starting today you’ll see ads on Twitter; this first round of “Promoted Tweets” will… Read More

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Daily Dose Pick: The Hot Rats

Taking a cue from David Bowie’s classic covers album Pin Ups, Supergrass’ Gaz Coombes and Danny Goffey team up with uber-producer Nigel Godrich to put their own spin on music history as the Hot Rats.

Lifting their band name from a Frank Zappa album, the Britpop heroes dove into their influences head-on, covering tracks from the Velvet Underground, Gang of Four, the Kinks, Elvis Costello, Sex Pistols, and Bowie himself on the Hot Rats’ debut, Turn Ons. In addition to the album, the band also recorded a standalone single and video offering its take on the Beatles’ “Drive My Car.” … Read More

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