The Class Of 2004 – Ten Years On

2014 already looks set to be another blockbuster year for new music, so we thought it about time to take a look back at the world’s biggest stars’ humble beginnings.

2004 was an unbelievable time for music with guitar bands rightfully ousting plastic boy bands from the upper reaches of the charts, exciting new acts appearing seemingly every minute and festivals had not yet succumb to the nostalgia wave of groups on the reunion trail. In what hardly seems like a decade, some of that year’s crop of young pretenders have amazingly gone on to become the most recognised faces in music today and the others…  well, haven’t.

The report cards are in! Here are Gigslutz’s ten year assessments of the Class of 2004.


2004: Released their Gang of Four- and Wire-indebted self-titled debut.  Their raucous breakneck version of Kate Bush’s Hounds of Love soundtracked indie club nights up and down the land.

2014: Dropped by their label in 2006 after the disappointing follow-up News and Tributes, the ‘Heads returned with the excellent This Is Not the World in 2008. They have since released two albums including most recently, 2012’s entirely a cappella Rant and are currently in the studio recording album number six.

A few decent days and nights    B-


2004: Seven years and two albums into their career, the Northern Irish/Scottish group eventually got the public’s attention with the euphoric Run, the second single taken from their aptly-titled third LP Final Straw released the year before.

2014: Became the go-to band for weepy romantic gushing after 2006’s Chasing Cars featured on Grey’s Anatomy’s season finale. Confirmation that they’re a bunch of softies who’d be knocked over by a stiff breeze came last year when lead singer Gary Lightbody caught flak for wearing a coat while performing with Taylor Swift on The X Factor.

Just say no   C+



2004: After making his name producing cuts for Jay Z, Alicia Keys and Janet Jackson, West struck out on his own with the Grammy Award-winning The College Dropout.

2014: West has added 19 more Grammys to the 2 won for his debut and sold over 21 million records worldwide making him one of the most successful and popular rappers of all time. A consistent source of controversy, the activities of he and fiancée Kim Kardashian are scrutinised daily by the world’s media. Oh, and he named his daughter North.  So, swings and roundabouts yeah?

Jesus walks?    A-


2004: This Dido-esque Welsh songstress is best remembered for Top 10 hit They and for performing on The O.C. back when it still quite good (i.e. the first season).

2014: Every track on first album Finally Woken was licensed for use in film, television and advertisement which probably explains why Jem hasn’t been in too much of a hurry to deliver new material. A second release Down to Earth came and went in 2008 and a third was promised for late 2013 but never appeared. Not that anyone cares of course.

Finally dozed off     D-


2004: These likely lads from Leeds released Oh My God and one of the best indie anthems of the last decade, I Predict a Riot before their first full-length dropped the following year.

2014: However unlikely, the Chiefs have notched up four Top 10 albums, three BRIT Awards, an Ivor Novello as well as appearances at Live 8 and the Olympics. Drummer Nick Hodgson may have departed but singer Ricky Wilson’s making a bid for bona fide pop stardom on The Voice so could the upcoming Education, Education, Education & War see them back on top of the indie pile? I predict… probably not.

Gainful employment    B+



2004: This four-piece built around the songwriting ability and ego of Johnny Borrell emerged from the various hangers-on of The Libertines based in Camden with the still-very-good Up All Night.

2014: Andy Burrows leaving in 2009 was supposed to be the final nail in the Razorlight coffin but such is the persistence of Borrell, the band are said to be merely “on hiatus”. The frontman’s focus has since turned to solo material with Borrell 1, better known for its dreadful song titles than its tunes, infamously shifting a pitiful 594 copies in its first week of sales.

Lost the golden touch    D


2004: Bedroom DJ/producer Mylo, born Myles MacInnes on the Isle of Skye, made the finest UK dance release of the year in Destroy Rock & Roll, including the classic Drop the Pressure.

2014: Rock ‘n’ roll fortunately survived Mylo best efforts and he has since retreated. A couple of one-off singles and remixes here and there and a smattering of festival appearances have kept Mylo from being all but forgotten outside of the world of dance music. He remains the most notable musical export of the Isle of Skye.

Felt the pressure    C-


2004: Signature tune and no. 3 hit Take Me Out was so ubiquitous on television and radio in this year it actually became annoying. Its parent album deservedly took home the Mercury Prize.

2014: In spite of setting out with an agenda to make music for “to make girls dance”, at some point in the last decade Alex Kapranos & co. starting sending girls to the bar. Their latest Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action has seen the group recapture some of their initial spikiness and wit.

You could have had it so much better      B-


2004: Released Hopes and Fears which would go on to become the second best-selling album of the year with its hardly unique brand of piano rock and soaring melodies.

2014: Released a best-of collection amidst rumours they were splitting. The group, aware that this information might be newsworthy or interesting immediately overcome with the expectation of being anything other than bland and boring for once in their career, instead confirmed they would just “take a bit of time out”. Back in the charts last Christmas with Lily Allen’s cover of Somewhere Only We Know.

A bad dream     C



2004: Anyone with even the faintest art rock whiff about them was singing praises this year for this Canadian lot’s Funeral record including Peter Gabriel, David Byrne and la grande dame David Bowie.

2014: Added actual success to their critical plaudits with each successive outing including a Grammy win for 2010’s The Suburbs. They made a high-profile return at the back end of last year with the divisive, Bowie-assisted Reflektor.  Although recent requests that punters wear fancy dress to their shows in keeping with the groups new “aesthetic” have been met with outraged derision, reports that they have disappeared up their own arses are as yet unsubstantiated.

Keep the car running    A


2004: Caused a Hot Fuss with future indie disco classics Mr. Brightside, Somebody Told Me and Smile Like You Mean It. Fresh faced frontman Brandon Flowers was every young girl’s new rockstar crush.

2014: The singer grew an impressive yet cumbersome-looking tache for 2006’s American Wild West fantasy record Sam’s Town. He then shaved and wore some strange eagle wings/shoulder lapels for the slick Day & Age and sported something in between for latest effort, 2012’s Battle Born. The band are currently split up and working on solo material after releasing their Direct Hits compilation. Following their music hasn’t been nearly as interesting as monitoring Flowers’ facial hair situation.

Looking on the brightside    B


2004: Go! Team leader Ian Parton recorded the ludicrously fun Thunder, Lightning, Strike in his parents’ kitchen.

2014: The next year Parton recruited a band to tour the album which quickly established themselves as one of the must-see acts in the country. Two more LPs built on their sound and reputation as one of the most forward-thinking bands around. Rolling Blackouts was the band’s last and they sadly went their separate ways in 2011.

Did it right     B+


2004: This motley group of New Yorkers made the surprise smash hit of the year with their self-titled debut, ending up the best-selling album of 2004 with an impressive 1.6 million copies sold.

2014: Made some famous friends including cosying up to some fellow gay icons: Jake Shears and Babydaddy co-wrote Kylie Minogue’s no. 2 hit I Believe in You and the group later scored a UK no. 1 single with their Elton John collaboration I Don’t Feel like Dancin’. Success was fleeting however and even working with hitmaker (read: schlock merchant) Calvin Harris on 2012’s Only the Horses couldn’t help them reach the heights of their early years. They are now on “indefinite hiatus”.

Filthy/gorgeous/OK     B-


2004: Before the scourge You’re Beautiful took over the known universe, critics had a lot of nice things to say about this ex-squaddie’s Back to Bedlam.

2014: Like a musical equivalent of being forced to watch Garry Marshall movies on repeat, the almost incessant barrage of You’re Beautiful’s was insufferable in 2005. When he can be prised from underneath an enormous pile of money and supermodels, Blunt continues to make new music like 2013’s Moon Landing which included a track titled Always Hate Me.  Now with the benefit of hindsight, critics have subsequently obliged.

So long Jimmy    D+


2004: Scouse indie five piece make an auspicious start with the inauspiciously named yet acclaimed Who Killed…… The Zutons?

2014: Dissolved after the disappointing third outing You Can Do Anything, various Zutons have been spotted performing in recent years. Bassist Russ Pritchard is currently flying high with Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, drummer Sean Payne now plays with Rebecca Ferguson’s backing band and lead singer and guitarist Dave McCabe is embarking on a solo career. Oh, how we miss Abi Harding and her sax…

Got tired of hanging around    B

Elliott Homer
Elliott Homer is an undisputed master of understatement, a black belt holder in mixed metaphors and long-time deserving of some such award for length of time spent chatting rubbish about music down the pub. Studies show prolonged exposure to his scribblings can cause migraines, hysterical pregnancy, night terrors and/or acne, yet seldom encourages readers to agree with the author, in fact quite the reverse, much to his eternal frustration.