The day the music died

The White Stripes, The Streets and more bands splitting up in 2011

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The White Stripes

Who? Bluesy pop-rockers famed for their predictable wardrobe and stomp-along, low-fi romps such as ‘Seven Nation Army’.
Why the split? ‘A myriad of reasons, but mostly to preserve what is beautiful and special about the band’ is the official line from the White Stripes’ website. Sounds like a clever way of saying ‘we’re rich and bored’, to us.
Any hope of reunion? Unlikely – Jack White seems pretty content making lukewarm albums with side projects The Dead Weather and
The Raconteurs.
Lasting legacy: White Blood Cells and Elephant (released in 2001 and 2003 respectively) are the albums that made the band a household name (among the Converse crowd, at least) but check out 2000 release De Stijl for a taste of their punkier side.

Bright Eyes

Who? The primary guise of genre-hopping guitarist Conor Oberst, in business since the heady days of 1995.
Why the split? As Oberst told Rolling Stone magazine prior to the release of the band’s latest album, ‘It does feel like it needs to stop at some point. I’d like to clean it up, lock the door, say goodbye.’
Any hope of reunion? Not looking likely, we’re afraid. But then with Oberst flitting between projects like an excited child, it shouldn’t be long before you hear more of his trademark angsty vocals, either with his Mystic Valley Band or indie supergroup Monsters of Folk.
Lasting legacy: The band’s biggest moment came in 2005 with the simultaneous release of chart-storming albums I’m Wide Awake it’s Morning and Digital Ash in a Digital Urn.

LCD Soundsystem

Who? New York-based electro troupe who, in their 10 years at the heart of the indie scene, single-handedly made synthesizers cool again. They play their last ever show at Madison Square Garden on April 2.
Why the split? Though no formal statement has been issued, there’s evidence that front man James Murphy has something of a love/hate relationship with the music industry, begging crowds at live shows not to leak the band’s material online.
Any hope of reunion? In a recent interview with TheQuietus.com, Murphy refused to write off the possibility of new material. ‘We’ll do some 12-inch records and things like that,’ he said. ‘I just need to get away from it being a big thing.’
Lasting legacy: It’s rare for bands to get incrementally better with each recording, which is exactly what makes these guys so unique. This is Happening, released just last year, can be cited as the very definition of ‘going out on a high’.

The Streets

Who? Mike Skinner – the chap who’s spent the past decade propping up the UK hip hop scene with stripped-down rhymes about having a fight in a kebab shop.
Why the split? It was back in 2008, right after the release of fourth album Everything is Borrowed that Skinner announced follow-up Computers and Blues (out this week, reviewed opposite) would be his swansong. Weirdly, he’s never been clear on why.
Any hope of reunion? The band’s back catalogue features collaborations with everyone from Tinchy Stryder to Kano, so you can expect Mike to return the favour. As for The Streets, he seems happy to lay the moniker to rest.
Lasting legacy: While debut Original Pirate Material changed the way a lot of people thought about British hip hop, 2001 concept album A Grand Don’t Come For Free took the idea of working-class miserablism and ran with it – all the way to the top of the charts.


Reunion rumours

It’s not all doom and gloom – this lot could be on their way back...

Pulp
After a nine-year hiatus, the band are reuniting this summer for a string of festival appearances. Hopes are high new material could follow.

Death From Above 1979
Having split back in 2006, the duo famed for making noise-rock accessible have just revealed they’ll be playing live dates later this year.

Guns N’ Roses
In a recent interview with an American newspaper, guitarist Slash revealed he’d consider rejoining Axl Rose on stage. The catch? He wants an apology. Ah...

Rolling Stones
Though technically still a unit, the ageing rockers haven’t toured in four years, or released any new material in six. However, rumours abound that a series of farewell gigs is slated for 2011.

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