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28 October 2014

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The best of the best of the class of 2002:
Gary Crowley
Here it comes, folks, the year's top sounds around

Lord Crowley of Pop continues his look back at the Music Year 2002...

My 94.9 Saturday radio show ON DEMAND
- listen here audio

Our music critic Gary Crowley is on air on Wednesday and Thursday evening and on Saturdays too on 94.9 audio
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Album of the Year:

Punching their weight both lyrically and emotionally: Candidate - pictured in N. London, May 2002

Always a closely contested race this one, but this year I'm going with Candidate's 'Tiger Flies' (Storm) which was released back in January. It's been an album that I've returned to again and again for pleasure and solace. Always a good sign.

Brendan Benson
One career-changing label move later and Brendan Benson's on his way

An endearing and impressive collection of strangely uplifting, melancholic pop songs, it had me hook, line and sinker after the first couple of plays. Delivered with a lyrical and emotional punch that's very reminiscent of Nick Drake, The Beta Band and various American psychedelic outfits, the stand-out cuts include 'Talk About Troubles', 'Hawaiian Police', 'Burn Low' and the gorgeous 'The Wreck Of The Breeze'. Quite simply, lovely.

Runners up: 'Lapalco' by Brendan Benson (V2) and 'Handcream For A Generation' by Cornershop (Wiiija)

Single of the Year:

The Polyphonic Spree
The kaftan-wearing, multi-instrumental organism that is The Polyphonic Spree: for once the term 'unique' isn't over the top to describe these noteworthy runners up

Another tough call but for me it has to fall at the fast feet of Twitch's 'Blow Your Blues Away'. A totally infectious collision of jazz, rap and soul that I first got turned on to a few months back by the silver-haired, radio fox that is DJ Charlie Gillett.

Some records you simply can't sit still to and this, thankfully, is one of them. It's guaranteed to make the lame dance - well almost!
"Summer's here and the time is right for dancing in the street" - so the Motown lyric goes. Oh well, it certainly may not be summer but this is still worth dancing in the street to!

Runners up: 'Soldier Girl' by The Polyphonic Spree (679) and 'United States Of Whatever' by Liam Lynch (Global Warming)

Compilation of the Year:

In bloom: Nirvana are still holding us in thrall. The publication of Kurt's Journals hasn't exactly hurt either

I can never stray far from my spiky, punky roots and 'Teenage Kicks' (Universal) is almost perfect in my opinion, capturing that watershed period of British music that spanned the late 70s.

Siouxsie without her Banshees!
Siouxsie Soux

Granted we could have done without Hazel O' Connor and Splodgenessabounds but most of the major movers and shakers are present and correct including The Clash, The Jam, The Banshees, The Ramones as well as The New York Dolls. Now how's that for a who's who?

Runners up: 'Nirvana' by Nirvana (Geffen) and 'The Studio One Story' - various artists (Soul Jazz)

Gig of the Year:

Brian Wilson
Weak in the presence of greatness: a magical evening with Brian Wilson back in January

Easy. No messin'. Head and shoulders above anything else, it has to be Brian Wilson at The Royal Festival Hall back in January. You don't get that feeling of being in the presence of rock greatness that often!

'Pet Sounds' sealed Brian's place in The Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame and seeing and hearing that seminal album, wonderfully backed by The Wondermints, in its entirety is something that I'll never, ever forget. A truly magical evening.

Runners up: Paul Weller at Hyde Park and David Bowie at The Royal Festival Hall

That's nearly it - but catch these Names to Watch in 2003:

The Bandits, Empathy, The Star Spangles, The Thrills and Vue among others.

audio AUDIO: Hear The Bandits on our playlist now: click here

Love...and to everyone a happy, peaceful New Year. You can go back to my main page and check some of my 94.9 audio files here

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