EW reveals the best British indie bands -- We tell you why the Arctic Monkeys, the Rakes, and four others are on the verge

By Leah Greenblatt
Updated November 18, 2005 at 05:00 AM EST

EW reveals the best British indie bands

For every warm pint of ale England produces, it serves up a new buzz band — and downs them just as fast. With this cheat sheet, we’ll separate the good, the bad, and the NME-hyperbolized, and reveal, perhaps, a true Next Big Thing.

ARCTIC MONKEYS Sound Like Sexy, arch dance-punk, with a smattering of Strokes-gone-Cockney style. Early Claim to Fame They’ve topped the U.K. singles chart and picked a fight with the Kaiser Chiefs; insufferable, and we love them already. The Goods An iTunes-only EP, I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor (Domino), available now; currently untitled full-length slated for Feb. 21 release.

NOISETTES Sound Like High-drama, heavily syncopated swagger-and-sway rock, spearheaded by incandescent frontwoman Shingai Shoniwa. Early Claim to Fame Shoniwa’s distinctive stage style; American tour dates with Bloc Party and the Kills. The Goods Three Moods of the Noisettes EP (Low Altitude) available now; an as-yet-untitled album due sometime next spring.

NINE BLACK ALPS Sound Like Frill-free yet tuneful high-speed rock & roll, more interested in blowing amps than reinventing the wheel. Early Claim to Fame Garnering (some would say undeserved) comparisons to Nirvana; a recent tour with American up-and-comers Giant Drag. The Goods Self-titled EP available now on Tiny Evil; full-length Everything Is scheduled for late January/early February 2006.

THE RAKES Sound Like Butched-up Franzy-come-latelys with punchy, anthemic choruses and strict working-class mien. Early Claim to Fame Two hit singles in the U.K. (”Retreat” and ”22 Grand Job”) and their attendant cheeky videos; contribution to the Gang of Four remix album. The Goods Current EP Retreat (Dim Mak), a U.K. album Capture/ Release (V2), and a new album due out this summer.

THE EDITORS Sound Like Dark, pensive, hooky; in other words, a lot like Interpol. A British band imitating an American band that sounds like several British bands? Yes! Early Claim to Fame Two very catchy singles, ”Bullets” and ”Munich”; several well-received U.S. showcases. The Goods Back Room (Kitchenware) available now as an import; domestic release expected in April 2006.

ART BRUT Sound Like Sex Pistols snark, Spinal Tap silliness, and post-everything satire, with chords as few and fast as possible. Early Claim to Fame Clever, meta-rock lyrics; picking fights with both Bloc Party and Pete Doherty. The Goods Import Bang Bang Rock & Roll out on Fierce Panda; still unsigned over here, but just finished a round of high-profile U.S. tour dates.