We need to talk about guitar music

By Declan Roberts (@Declanmr)

There has been much talk lately of guitar music’s fall from grace, the genre supposedly fading in popularity as its one cutting edge grows dull. I however look at it in a completely different light. 2015 has an impressive roster of records coming out that look set to keep guitar music fresh; Drenge, The Vaccines, The Maccabees and Palma Violets to name but a few.

But you don’t need to look ahead to see the saviours of the genre. The last few years have seen a significant resurgence of guitar bands. Bands such as those mentioned above seems to inspire cult fan groups. These groups are passionate and powerful and are already demonstrating their effect on how the music industry operates.

Royal Blood, for example, have had a huge year. From playing tiny venues in their hometowns of Brighton and Worthing the duo now have a sold out headline tour to their name and a secured support slot with the Foo Fighters at Wembley Stadium. They have won two NME awards and a Brit for Best British Band in the space of 12 months of their debut EP release. And all of this helped along by a large, active fanbase online and on social media.

The effect of these newer bands has meant the reforming of some earlier groups like Ride, Sleater-Kinney and The Libertines. The rush of new blood has led to the return of the old guard who have thankfully started making new music again. This just goes to show that the power of guitar music is alive and the love for it is still strong. They know that this is the right era to reunite and prove to the world that all is not lost.

There are still threats to the genre. The departure of guitar music pastor Zane Lowe from Radio 1 has caused concern as to whether smaller bands will be able to get the same exposure they used to. Zane provided an important step on the ladder. His Hottest Record and Future Music segments used to introduce and recommend the latest group or artist to listeners. Now this is no more, can bands like Palma Violets, Peace and The 1975 flourish and become known to a global audience? Something we’ll have to debate until Annie Mac’s show proves to accomplish.

What we do know for sure is that Reading and Leeds is the Holy Grail for these bands to truly break through and make a name for themselves. Every year fans flock to the festival to catch ‘the next big thing’. This is how it should be. We need to support these bands who make exceptional music, whether pop, indie or grunge.

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