The music media always cites the influence of Johnny Marr, Bernard Butler, John Squire and Jonny Greenwood of indie guitar playing. Don’t get me wrong, I love the playing of all four dearly, and you can’t really underestimate the contribution and influence that their playing has exerted over the last two decades. This list (regular readers will know that I love them) catalogues some of the lesser known* indie guitarists that I admire, and gives a few examples of where their playing rises above the usual indie jangle. Its time these guys got the credit they deserve.
1. Lester Square (The Monochrome Set) – Real name Tom Hardy. Check out the intro to Set classic Love Zombies to hear Square doing his best spooky carnival sounds or The Puerto Rican Fence Climber from Strange Boutique for a master class in indie axe versatility.
2. Maurice Deebank (Felt) - Sunlight Bathed The Golden Glow and Evergreen Dazed shows Deebank practically writing every indie guitar cliché. Lots of lesser guitarists have made a mint emulating this sound.
3. Steve Mason (Gene) - We Could Be Kings really showcases Mason's understated playing - nothing to complicated here however less is sometimes more. Beautiful, with a great solo at the end
4. David Pajo (Slint, M, Papa M, Aerial M) - By rights Pajo shouldn't really be in this list as his contribution is fairly well recognised in indie guitar circles, but hey its my list. Pretty much invented the whole quiet/loud thing check out Breadcrumb Trail by the seminal Slint to get the idea.
5. John Perry (The Only Ones) - A great player more from a traditional rock background (the notion of indie didn't really exist back in 1978) check out the The Big Sleep and obviously Another Girl Another Planet.
6. Paul Research (Scars) – Real name Paul Mackie, I bought a second hand copy of Horrorshow / Adult ery in 1984 and it still sends shivers up my spine every time I hear it - they should have been massive.
*Hence no Vini Reilly, Kevin Shields, J. Mascis, Graham Coxon, Thurston Moore (add your favourite one that I have missed in here)