Über Arctic Monkeys
If anything, Sheffield, England's Arctic Monkeys are a harbinger of the second coming of Britpop. This four-piece outfit combines high and low culture with dash and a snotty confidence that belie a band that began life in a college classroom. Alex Turner and Matt Helders found common cause at Barnsley College in 2002, after discovering that they both had unreasonable devotion to the music of The Smiths, The Clash, The Jam, Oasis and, oddly, the Queens of the Stone Age. The two 16-year-olds began rehearsing in earnest in a nearby warehouse, drafting rhythm guitarist Jamie Cook and bassist Andy Nicholson to round out their sound. Soon they were penning lyrics full of suburban ennui, swagger and intellectual promise, all underpinned with breathless guitar riffs that teetered on the edge of punk. Domino Records noticed the fervor they were creating -- from selling out clubs to appearing at the 2005 Reading and Leeds festivals, with fans singing along to all their songs. Their debut album, Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I Am Not, was on shelves by 2006 and became the fastest selling debut album in U.K. chart history. The band hasn't slowed down since, regularly releasing a solid album every few years: 2007's Favourite Worst Nightmare, 2009's Humbug, 2011's Suck It and See.