The Guardian Indie

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  1. Adopted as Liverpool FC’s semi-official musician, the Merseysider’s Tory-baiting lyrics have made him the voice of the city – and an unlikely new folk star

    Jamie Webster is recalling the moment he became the first artist to top the newly created Official Folk Album Chart with his debut LP, We Get By. “I was stunned”, says the Liverpool musician. “To hold off Laura Marling? She’s miles ahead of me in her career. I bet most people in the chart looked at it and went: ‘Who is Jamie Webster?’”

    Folk traditionalists might well wonder: Webster has taken an unusual route to the top of the charts. A former electrician, the 26-year-old progressed from playing covers in city-centre pubs to becoming the semi-official musician for Liverpool FC, performing at fan-affiliated events and composing songs for the terraces. After a video of him playing Allez Allez Allez, his reworking of Italo disco classic L’Estate Sta Finendo, went viral in 2018, the song became the soundtrack to the team’s recent European success under Jürgen Klopp. In Madrid, on the afternoon of the 2019 Champions League final, Webster performed it to 50,000 people. (Klopp conveyed his pride: “The world is wide open for you.”)

    We’ve been fed so many lies and subject to so many failed experiments this year, frustration is starting to build

    Related:The people of Liverpool have been failed by the government's woeful test and trace | Dan Carden

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  2. Discover all our four- and five-star album reviews from the last month, from pop to folk, classical and more

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  3. (Dirty Hit)
    The London singer’s debut album, rooted in 90s indie, could do with less polish and more grit

    London bedroom pop sensation Bea Kristi – aka Beabadoobee – takes her cues from the off-kilter indie guitars of a quarter-century ago, in much the same way as like-minded Americans Phoebe Bridgers or Soccer Mommy. An old song called I Wish I Was Stephen Malkmus found her “crying to Pavement”, venting about change and dyeing her hair blue.

    Fake It Flowers, Beabadoobee’s debut album proper, polishes the sound of her spindlier EPs, homogenising away some of their gawk and crunch. Her singing voice isn’t particularly 90s, but a winsome cooyou could see nailing one of those treacly TV advert cover versions.

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  4. She’s channeled teenage misery and drug use into songs inspired by her grunge heroes – and now the 20-year-old is being hailed as the voice of Generation Z

    On the face of it, Beatrice Laus’s success looks like the plot of a far-fetched movie, the kind of thing knocked together by Netflix in the hope of snaring an audience of tweenage girls at sleepovers.

    Seventeen-year-old misfit learns to play secondhand guitar after being expelled from school; writes first song, posts it online “because I wanted my friends to hear it”, then watches astonished as it becomes a viral sensation (49m plays on Spotify and counting). This leads to a record deal and ends up forming the basis of a Canadian hip-hop single that turns into a huge global hit: Powfu’s Death Bed (Coffee For Your Head), which racked up 10 billion plays on TikTok in the space of three months. She becomes the subject of online tutorials devoted to copying her makeup and look, tours America, plays arenas supporting the 1975, learns valuable life lessons (“It’s made me realise a lot of things, I’m a much more responsible child now, a nice kid”), radically overhauls her sound, attracts critical acclaim and finds herself being hailed on both sides of the Atlantic as the voice of Generation Z. Slow fade and end credits, perhaps over a track from her eagerly anticipated debut album Fake It Flowers, an impressively fresh take on the kind of US alt-rock you heard a lot of in the early 90s: the Breeders, Belly, Juliana Hatfield, Veruca Salt.

    When everything started popping off, I was like: is it too late to change my name?

    One summer, there was not one day I was sober and I was so young: 15 or 16. We just egged each other on

    The name reminds me where I came from. I was kicked out of school. My dad was worried, my boyfriend was worried

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  5. The two bands have variously clumsy and bracing things to say about class, race and Britain – but they are at least connecting to something bigger than themselves

    On the face of it, two British indie bands being locked in a war of words about class-consciousness might seem like egoistic farce. On deeper consideration – idly scrolling through Twitter, imbibing the day’s beefs and reading various blogposts – it was. But the rivalry that has emerged in recent months between London band Fat White Family and Bristol band Idles also struck me as being indicative of a wider conflict – one at the heart of electoral politics.

    Earlier this year, Fat White Family frontman Lias Saoudi lent his voice in support of Sleaford Mods when the Nottingham duo accused Idles of working-class appropriation. Saoudi went on to elaborate in a Facebook post that “the last thing our increasingly puritanical culture needs right now is a bunch of self-neutering middle-class boobs telling us to be nice to immigrants; you might call that art, I call it sententious pedantry”.

    When you grow up economically oppressed in a world that offers you ever diminishing prospects, a world where violence and abuse are the norm, sooner or later the hopelessness of it all has a fairly good chance of morphing into hatred: labelling these people scum isn’t progressive, it’s decadent. I’d go as far as saying it’s tantamount to blaming the slave for his chains. The racial hatred I encountered in the backwaters wasn’t pathological, it was that of the animal suddenly forced into sharing its cage with some new and terrifying creature.

    Related:Lockdown has laid bare Britain's class divide | Lynsey Hanley

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