There’s a more or less regular running gag between a friend of mine and me where we realize we attended the same twin festivals back in 2007, Germany’s famous Hurricane and Southside Festival separately (as we didn’t know each other back then). Quite quickly the conversation leads to a reflection of that massive line-up back then which included all our favourite indie-rock bands of that generation playing during one weekend, officially declaring 2007 THE year when that movement officially peaked. Everyone was there – Arctic Monkeys, Bloc Party and Arcade Fire were still in afternoon modus while Interpol and Editors already got later slots. And even the early ours provided bands like The Rakes, The Bravery, Mumm-Ra, Tokyo Police Club and Art Brut which were more like a die-hard programme for indie music nerds like me. 15 years might not be such a long period but it feels like a whole different lifetime these days. In 2022 the stars somehow lined up in a similar way and will see a return of most of the still active and relevant groups from that pivotal period of my musical socialization.
Yes, most of those just mentioned bands will return with new records and – considering the ongoing pandemic might actually end in some way – might actually play on a concert stage close to you. However, it’s still too early to call this a proper ‘second coming’ because the world has changed drastically since that innocent summer of 2007 and so has the musical landscape. Anyway, here’s a quick round-up on what to expect during the next months.
The already announced ones
My favourite group of that entire generation have always been Bloc Party so you can consider me all hyped up for their first new album in six long years. After lots of delays Alpha Games is set to arrive on April 29 and it really appears to be a sort of recompense for that weird mediocre 2016 album Hymns which alienated lots of old friends and saw Kele Okereke & Co. adapt to the loss of their original rhythm section. During the past years a triumphant Silent Alarm tour reignited the band’s love for their ‘classic sound’ and saw new members Justin Harris and Louise Bartle becoming and integral part of the equation. Especially their young drummer brings lots of great energy to the group and the first single Traps is a testament of that. Maybe there’s still room for a band like Bloc Party in 2022. Personally, I’m more excited for them than in a long time.
The first ones to open the indie rock comeback year are The Wombats who will drop their new full-length Fix Yourself Not The World already next week, continuing the slightly slicker sound of their last releases. The Wombats actually dropped their debut album back in 2007 and back then I wouldn’t have guessed that they would still be around 15 years later. Same goes for White Lies who seem to have found their own musical niche and a loyal fanbase for their goth-infected wave rock. I lost a bit track of them over the past years but their last record Five was pretty brilliant, I gotta say so I’m interested to see what the follow up As I Try Not To Fall will have to offer. It’s out on February 18 and in the same week Metronomy will also return with a new album called Small World. They might have never been the straightest indie rock band but Joseph Mount and his gang were a crucial part of that scene back then and they also managed to survive by regularly dropping solid albums and being a really joyful live band that never fails to get a crowd grooving.
And as if February 18 wasn’t already packed enough that day will also see the release of the first new Shout Out Louds album in five years. I have to say the Swedish indie rock group are personal favourites of mine despite they’ve never gotten as big as their British colleagues. However, over the years the Swedes might have softened a bit musically but their songwriting game got stronger and matured with every release. 2017’s Ease My Mind was a truly beautiful affair and a comeback I didn’t expect after all. The follow-up goes by the simple title House and judging from its first singles they’ll continue to spread that warm and melancholic folky pop sweetness they embraced over the past years and I surely can’t wait for that to happen.
The pretty much confirmed ones
While we don’t have official release dates yet for this second group it’s pretty much 100% sure that they will return with new albums. While the Arctic Monkeys usually are quite close-lipped regarding their recording processes the world already got out from their inner circle that a new album is going to happen this year. They already confirmed first shows for the early summer and apart from the economic reasons (which will result in lots and lots of tours over the next two years by every artist you can imagine) that usually means “new music” as well. Of course, we have no idea what it will sound like but following the dramatic musical twist of 2018’s Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino it feels like anything is possible for these folks. A release during the summer seems likely.
That usually also goes for Arcade Fire who have been relatively silent recently but it’s been five years since Everything Now, so something has to happen in the next months. Especially considering the fact that Win Butler already said that the group wrote material for at least two records before and during the pandemic. Usually, there’s also lots of storytelling and world-building involved with these folks so I’m pretty sure they are already working on their next big impact, maybe even postpone the release a bit to get more attention. Timing is a bit crucial in the release-packed year of 2022 if you don’t want your album to be just one among all the others. The Covid crisis gave plenty of groups the unplanned opportunity to record way more material than originally intended and maybe also quicker follow-ups. Foals originally planned to tour their two Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost albums of 2019 a bit longer but were now ‘forced’ to start working on a follow-up which is set to arrive in May, ironically just in time for those two-times postponed tour dates. The first single Wake Me Up is already quite a funky ride.
Live shows are more likely to make a quicker return in 2022 than they did last year and everybody needs to get on the road as quickly as possible to make up for two missed concert seasons – so every occasion is welcome here. British guitar rock heroes The Libertines just announced a couple of shows to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their ground-breaking debut Up The Bracket – they’ve also been working on their first new album in eight years for quite a while now and maybe they’ll also get it out just in time. New York’s very own Interpol are also returning with an album just in time for the 20th anniversary of their debut album. They already announced a few festival shows and have been recording their seventh full-length throughout the last year and considering the fact that they usually stick to a four-year gap it’s safe to say we’ll get new music from the three gentlemen over the course of this summer. And that also goes for fellow gloomy guitar rockers Editors who have been in the studio in recent times. It’s been four years since their most recent album Violence and considering the fact that they also announced a few summer shows I’m confident that we’ll get a new album in 2022.
The likely returns
If one thing remains certain in these troubled times it’s the uncertainty of it all because the pandemic showed us how nothing is truly safe these days and how timings can be interfered by various things. A few of those much loved indie rock artists from the 00s are likely to return but we don’t know for sure yet. Yeah Yeah Yeahs haven’t put out an album in nine years but the fact that they are touring again this year definitely does hint in that direction. Kasabian also showed that they are able to carry own following the departure of frontman Tom Meighan two years ago. Their first single under the leadership of Sergio Pizzorno already marks a strong return to form so their first album in five years could be an interesting affair. Warpaint are also heading on a tour this summer which makes me wonder whether we will get their first new album in six years. Franz Ferdinand’s last album also dates a few years back (and was quite disappointing) but they just dropped a new single and announced a greatest hits album along with a tour. Usually, this could mark the beginning of a new chapter or alternatively also the final breath for an inevitable demise. We haven’t heard from Phoenix in a while as well, The Hives seem to be doing stuff on Jack White’s label and The xx recently posted a muted yet current video of them jamming which could be a hint for their first album in five years. So, as you can see: the list could go on. Who knows if any of these much loved indie groups from the 00s isn’t already working on a reunion behind the scenes?
While the possibilities are endless and the demand is surely there (there are entire festivals built around that nostalgic notion) I don’t think it will ultimately result in a second coming. It’s much more likely that this generation is now starting to become its own retro cosmos. On that legendary 2007 festival I remember seeing bands like Pearl Jam in the line-up and consider them as rock music dinosaurs back then. Today, groups like Arcade Fire and Interpol might easily be the rock and roll dinosaurs for a younger generation. Pretty much all of those mentioned bands peaked many years ago, most of them lost their relevance to be innovative and let’s face it: it’s also a pretty male dominated scene as well and while men in their forties still got a few things to offer it might not necessarily be an element of bravery and innovation.
The times have changed and whenever I look back on the slightly hedonistic and self-referred music of these days I can’t help but noticing a few outdated patterns. Of course, some songs and records have aged better than others and I kindly invite a new generation to discover a few of these groups in the same way I discovered their role models back then in my early twenties. When I fell in love with Editors I didn’t even know that Joy Division existed… there’s a time and there’s a place for that that music as well. And since time is quite relative these days it might not even matter if it’s 2007 or 2022 as long as we can all enjoy these groups in harmony, togetherness and Covid-free joy in front of a festival stage close to us. And that desire surely is an intergenerational one, am I right?