Tuesday, July 31, 2012

British Rock and Roll

OK, so we all know the 2012 Summer Olympics are being held in London.

And, if any of you watched the opening ceremonies last Friday, you know that there was a major section of the show dedicated to the famous and influential rock and roll music to have come from the UK.

That got me thinking that it is absolutely ASTOUNDING how many quality rock performers or bands have come from the UK. Sure, some cats down south here in the USA invented "rock and roll" out of combinations of blues, jazz, hillbilly country...but you gotta give it to the Brits for matching that invention with a major, major dose of quality follow up.

And yes, we all know about Beatles, Stones, Who, Kinks, the Floyd, the Zeppelin, Bowie, Queen, Clapton, Pistols, Clash, Dire Straights, Smiths, Blur, Radiohead, Oasis, Coldplay, Adele, Amy Winehouse...and lots and lots more super well known UK bands.

But, the whole opening ceremonies also got me thinking that in an age when we here in the U.S. basically don't give crap one about rock music any more...in deference to rap, hip hop, dance, American Idol balladry, sugary country and all things produced and copied from someone else...how some of the best "from the streets" rock has always been and is still coming from the good old UK.

With that in mind, here are some perhaps lesser known British bands that are well worth checking out if you are interested in, you know, some actual rock and roll with spirit. I've grouped them into two divisions - new/newish from the 2000s and vintage from whenever in the past.

New or Newish (2000 or later)
  • Libertines - the band that put rebellion back into British rock
  • Arctic Monkeys - the band that picked up the mantle of the Libertines and stayed together
  • Snow Patrol - heart felt, melodic rock
  • Sound of Guns - like Snow Patrol, but with 15% more rock and roll
  • Bloc Party - arty, angular, thought provoking techno rock
  • British Sea Power - interesting, rough, arty rock
  • Glasvegas - epic, emotional, melodic, interesting
  • The Enemy - socially conscious, guitar rock
  • The Hours - spawn of Joe Strummer 
  • The Joy Formidable - strong, female lead vocal, Nirvana influence rock from Wales
  • Sharks - like seal barking over traffic noise...but in a good way
  • The Vaccines - catchy, fun

Some of these bands are still active and putting out music, some not. But...in any case, the started well before 2000...
  • Big Audio Dynamite - Mick Jones 80s dance rock band after the Clash
  • Stone Roses - Madchester and late 80s "baggy" culture at its zenith 
  • Public Image Limited - Johnny Rotten's band after the Pistols, very strange, arty and influential stuff
  • The Good, the Bad & the Queen - Damon Albarn from Blur, Paul Simonon from the Clash and a few others...mellow, melodic, thought provoking
  • The English Beat - ska, skanking goodnesss
  • The Jam - late 70s, early 80s British "mod" rock
  • Manic Street Preachers - epic rock and roll
  • Placebo - a band with it's own sound
  • The Jesus & Mary Chain - influential Scottish band
  • The La's - eccentric acoustic sound. You know their song "There She Goes" already
  • Ned's Atomic Dustbin - you know, just check it out. Get their debut Godfodder
  • Joy Division AND New Order - two bands, but essentially the same lineup of musicians
  • Primal Scream - the Stones meet the Stone Roses meet dance meets the MC5
  • The Professionals - post Pistols band from Steve Jones and Paul Cook
  • Stereophonics - Wales rock worth checking out
  • The 101ers - Joe Strummer's band before he joined the Clash

No comments: