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

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.