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.
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.
'Lapalco' by Brendan Benson (V2) and 'Handcream For A Generation'
by Cornershop (Wiiija)
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
Runners up: 'Soldier Girl' by The Polyphonic Spree (679)
and 'United States Of Whatever' by Liam Lynch (Global Warming)
In bloom: Nirvana are still holding us
in thrall. The publication of Kurt's Journals hasn't exactly
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.
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?
'Nirvana' by Nirvana (Geffen) and 'The Studio One Story'
- various artists (Soul Jazz)
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
'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
Paul Weller at Hyde Park and David Bowie at The Royal
That's nearly it
- but catch these Names to Watch in 2003:
The Bandits, Empathy, The Star Spangles, The
Thrills and Vue among others.
Hear The Bandits on our playlist
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