Before the landfill engulfed us all and the fading light of Nu Rave was yet to bloom into the mushroom cloud of EDM, there was a time when we never had it so good and never had it so often – Indie's Golden Era.
This year on the day for lovers, February 14th, The Last Post will be a night where dubstep is a dirty word, and the tunes drawn exclusively from those halcyon times, 2001-2007.
While we'll be running through all the hits you’d expect on the night itself, this list focuses on the overlooked and not the overplayed: hence the omission of The Strokes, Libs and Arctic Monkeys.
The Von Bondies - C'Mon C'Mon
Cage a thousand chimps for a thousand years and the likelihood is the could knock off a bit of Shakespeare, granted. What they couldn't do is devise a song more perfect for an indie disco dancefloor than this. It's practically one long yelping chorus with a skinny hip swiveling baseline underneath, and it’s all over within two minutes - fucking glorious.
Captain Black - Come On Up To Our House
“I could of been someone, I could of been a contender”. It's unconfirmed if Brando was a muscle-bound Nostradamus and prophetically referring to the indie watering holes of Camden Town in 2007. If he was, he most certainly was talking about Captain Black. Forming amongst the drip trays of Golden Era Indie HQ The Hawley Arms, they never released an album but left us with the merest of scatterings, chief amongst their sparse arsenal is 'Come On Up To Our House’: an anthem for adolescence and the limitless impossibilities of new found independence.
Razorlight - Hey Ya!
Recorded for a Jo Whiley session, this was one of the original Live Lounge-type tunes that every angel-faced sap on a major now records as a matter of course.
Released as the b-side to ‘Vice’ it, like so much material flecked with Borrell dust, nearly descends into farce. Yet, when he’s asking for a call and response- “hey fellas, hey ladies”- and imploring all at Television Centre to shake it like a polaroid picture, you can’t help but feel that Andre 3000 always had our Jonny in mind for the central role. At least that’s what Jonny probably thought.
Good Shoes - Nazanin
“All of my insecurities are summed up when you walk into my room.”
Good Shoes’ legacy remains in different songs from this: ‘Never Meant To Hurt You”, “In The City”, certified banger ‘Morden’. But as a distillation of a band whose vulnerability makes them one of the sweetly enduring bands of the era, it’s all there in this opening salvo from their debut album, Think Before You Speak.
The Rumble Strips - Motorcycle
Now better known as the chirpy advert backbeat used to flog you all types of disposables from toothpaste, cereal to package holidays. Infectious has always been close to infection and so it proved when their single ‘Girls & Boys’ eclipsed the band. However, the aficionados will know the gem is their long forgotten single ‘Motorcycle’: a song about the universal wish of willing your pushbike into a motorcycle, enabling you to burn off into the sunset with the object of your affection.
Charlie Waller’s falsetto never sounded as hopeful and with a sound sharing the same tailor as a young and brilliant Dexy’s Midnight Runners the future was so, so bright.
El Presidente - Rocket
That El Presidente never ‘made it big’ was one of the great debates on The Last Post couch, circa 2006.
With a Sony record deal and an album - self-titled in case you didn't know, which you didn’t- stocked full of the kind of tunes that seemed designed for the floors of Metro, they had the world clucking at the heels of their cubans. Alas, the album got to number 57 (though puzzlingly Wiki claims it did well in Japan), and the band battled for space in the ether with The Departure, Thee Unstrung and Cajun Dance Party. We never forgot though.
The Bravery - Honest Mistake
Hyped to the hills and at one point seen as the next band in the Strokes/Libs lineage. In reality they had more in common with Bloc Party (the comparisons were presumably made due to lead singer Sam Endicott’s East Coast drawl, which admittedly wasn’t a mile off Julian Casablancas').
Regardless, after winning the BBC Sound of 2005 poll- just above Bloc Party, no less- getting to number five with their self-titled debut and generally doing ‘pretty well’, the UK never saw another album from them.
See also - ‘Fearless”.
The Long Blondes - Once And Never Again
Sexy and literate, flippant and heart-breaking all at once - Ladies and Gentlemen we give to you the Long Blondes. The very embodiment of the ones that got away and possibly the band you still reach for in the dead of night. Fronted by Kate Jackson, the Sheffield five piece produced the type of songs that made your right leg wobble and heart sore. ‘Once And Never Again’, which aside from being a bonafide banger, is a plea to a young girl to give up on the self-harm and come learn the ropes from a slightly older suitor. Seems a good alternative.
The Cribs - You Were Always The One
Back when CDs were still a genuine relevancy, NME released a cover mount compilation. If the mind recalls correctly - and Lord knows the years haven’t always been kind so please bear with - one of them featured Maximo Park’s ‘Graffiti’ and Art Brut’s ‘Formed A Band’.
Now those two obviously exist on the Planet Non-Lost, but buried down deep was this nugget of Wakefield-spawned joy from the brothers Jarman. Second tune on their debut album, it carried off a trick the band have perfected throughout their career: that of writing Herculean pop melodies that sound like they’re recorded in your dad’s tool shed. Which this probably was.
Dogs Die In Hot Cars - Lounger
Truly shocking band name aside, this banger revels in the idle pastime of the lethargic, doing the some total of fuck all and unapologetically loving it. A song so good it’s very existence should qualify Scotland for automatic independence.