Thursday, 29 January 2015

Gigging Forever Awards 2014: Part Five

Oh good, you're back... I thought you might have nipped off in the back of that limo with All Saints and Robbie Williams.

The ‘Less Is More’ Award

This year's outstanding achievement award for "Less is More"ing goes to Röyksopp. Evidently inspired by me moaning at them last year to ruddy well get on with their new album, they went and gave us two – or one and an EP, at least.

Summer's 'Do It Again' EP with Robyn was mostly a success – with the exhilarating title track, the sombre 9 minute electro-sax-fest that was opener 'Monument' and the insanely dirty 'Sayit', in which Robyn has phone sex with the speaking clock (“I. WANT. YOU.” “I want you too…” "WOMAAAAAN") – that’s at least a 60% strike rate.

By the time winter rolled around, though, they’d also released “The Inevitable End”, which will supposedly be their final full length album – and maybe it’s just as well. Two less-good remixes of tracks from the ‘Do It Again’ EP, both A and B-sides of last year’s (admittedly excellent) ‘Running to the Sea’ single, and a brace of frankly slightly dull, slow, sombre tracks like ‘You Know I Have to Go’ and ‘Thank You’.

Still, with the uplifting ‘Running to the Sea’, the dark and gritty ‘Skulls’, the chillsome ‘Sordid Affair’, and ‘Save Me’, which recalls all the things I liked about Royksopp in the first place, there’s still enough to enjoy –  but perhaps they have the right idea sticking to EPs and singles from now on.

P.S. Nobody is going to convince me that you hadn't just heard Guru Josh's ‘Infinity’ when you wrote ‘I Had This Thing’, Röyksopp. But it can be our little secret.

Most Random Old Band Discovery

James & Karin

You know there’s a band called James and Karin, right?”, said Karin’s friend Kit one day.

Um, no, no we didn't, but now we do. I wouldn't normally make such a thing out of this, but for there to be a psych-y folk duo recording children's songs in the 70's, with the same names as me and my girlfriend (not the two names you most often see together), basically blew my mind. They were also a Swenglish couple who achieved some fame in Sweden in the 70’s with such children's classics as ‘Jag är ett Litet Brev’ (I am a Little Letter) and 'Älgarna demonstrerar' (The Elks Are Demonstrating). Watch this if you want to improve your Swedish. But don't blame me if it never gets out of your head.

Best electro-R&B album

The nominees:

- Little Dragon:  Nabuma Rubberband

- Sohn: Tremors

I learned a new term whilst researching this category: PBR&B. PBR stands for Pabst Blue Ribbon, a type of beer apparently beloved of US beard-having hipsters who are too white for proper Urban music and prefer it distilled with a spot of electro or indie stuff. I don't know, don't ask me, I don't make this crap up.

Anyway, I like both these albums for a similar reason – they're both laid back and cool, but make my genius sensors stand up on end by mixing this effortlessly chilled vibe with some more exciting sounds. In Sohn's case, skittering electronica and beats are layered over the top of what could be depressing ballads like 'Bloodflows' to make something completely unique, and that's not to mention the syncopated computerised barbershop of ‘The Wheel’.

And Little Dragon obviously get props just for being Swedish, but quite apart from that, they've got some seriously dirty and funky beats to lay under the smooth, soulful vocals of their wonderful vocalist whose name I may or may not get around to looking up once I get off this plane. (It's Yukimi Nagano, by the way...)

But just, seriously, listen to ‘Underbart’. This is my music, right here.

And the winner is: I think Sohn, but only just. See, I didn’t let the Scandinavians win *all* the awards.

Best pun or other wordplay-based joke in a track title:

Todd Terje: Inspector Norse

Trojan Horse - Juraspsyche Park

Emmett Elvin - Nocturine

Paul Heaton & Jacqui Abbott - Costa del Sombre

And the winner is:  Todd Terje – Inspector Norse...

...mostly because it gives me a chance to mention the album ‘It’s Album Time’, which is easily the best space-disco/dance/whateveritis album of the year. Dancefloor fillers like ‘Strandbar’ and ‘Delorean Dynamite’ rub shoulders with funky stuff like ‘Svensk Sås’, where a samba-lounge track is built up by using only layers upon layers of vocal samples, and the dangerously-close-to-prog polyrhythms of ‘Alfonso Muskedunder’. Plus, Brian Ferry pops up for good measure to do a very laid-back but surprisingly touching cover of ‘Johnny and Mary’.

(Don't worry, the other albums may crop up again next time...)

The "I really should have listened to this sooner" award

-Beck: Morning Phase

-Robert Plant: Lullaby and... The Ceaseless Roar

-Tin Spirits: Scorch

I listened to all of these on Spotify as part of a quick check before I started writing this, to make sure I hadn't missed out anything potentially awesome. I evidently had – all three of these are worthy of anyone's investigation but especially mine.

Best album that was actually from 2013 but I discovered it in 2014 and actually it's not technically even available in this country yet, so perhaps it's actually from 2015

-St Lucia: When the Night

You know how last year I chose CHVRCHES as my number 2 album? Someone contacted me to basically say “PAH! CHVRCHES? If you thought that was good, you obviously missed St. Lucia!”

They were damn right: electronic-based pop music from South Africa via Brooklyn, with the shimmery sound of summer in the Caribbean, real drums and guitar, and soaring, uplifting tunes to make you feel alive. Also the only artist I can remember name-checking Phil Collins as an influence in the last 20 years. Yes, this is a good thing.

Just, just… listen to 'Elevate'. Best single of the last 10 years? And then if you find that too simple, there’s the epic ‘Too Close’.

By the way, they were also the best live band I saw in 2014. Just FYI.

Next time: Some 'funny music'. Cause, you know, all this stuff is just soooo mainstream.

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Gigging Forever Awards 2014: Part Four

And so we return to our fictional awards ceremony - please make sure you pick up your goody bag containing Parts One, Two and Three on the way back to your table.

Actually, there's an awful lot of this “normal music” stuff to work our way through this year, so if you could maybe manage to get through this epic lot without going to powder your nose again, then next time we can finish up with some "funny music" which I know is what you're all waiting for.

Alright, rock on, Chessington...

Best album that Karin says I’m not allowed to call Swedish Country because then nobody will want to listen to it, but it’s made by Swedes and it’s sort-of-kind-of country-ish and yeah look it’s just a load of good songs really isn’t it?

The nominees:

- First Aid Kit: Stay Gold

A surprisingly unchallenging category to judge this year - if you wanted a load of gorgeous songs in a sort of folky-country-indie hipster-ish style sung in close harmony by two sisters from Stockholm, there was really only one place to go. A bit more polished and “American-sounding” than previously and with some string arrangements to melt your heart, this was the year they finally broke through their own previously set high standards and into the British consciousness. But Karin would probably like you to know that she was there first, alright?

And I would probably like you to know that I didn't cry during 'Cedar Lane' when we saw them live, but it wouldn't be true.

And the winner is: Um...

Yes, I stood this close to them. I like to think we had a little "moment".

Best combination of beats and violins on an album:

The nominees:

Clean Bandit – New Eyes

So, you think electronic music is boring? You think it’s stupid? You think it’s repetitive?” drones the ultra-annoying voiceover at the start of track 1, 'Mozart’s House'. No, I don't actually, but I do think this track which thinks it's oh-so-clever by mixing dubstep beats and rapping about Italian musical terms with a violin motif from Mozart’s String Quartet number 21 is more irritating than fibreglass underpants.

Much better are the tracks which try less hard, like the straight-ahead "pop classics with a touch of strings", 'Extraordinary' and 'Rather Be' (aka the 6 seconds of music that you know from M&S’s Christmas adverts.) But who cares what I think? They’re really going places with da kidz, innit.

- Owen Pallett: In Conflict

This is more like it. If I said this sounded like 90's alternative music crossed with 80's synth-pop, you'd probably say “that's a very lazy comparison”, and when you'd finished saying that, you’d probably also say “that sounds shit.” Add in a proper massive orchestra (which announces its intention to impress from the first second of the first track) and lyrics about not having children in case you eat them (?!), and you'd imagine a right old hodge podge.

But dammit, it works. It doesn't sound like anything else I've heard this year (or, possibly ever), and although he's not the world’s most flashy singer, his understated delivery is the perfect foil to the synth drums and brass of the dramatic material. But don't just take my word for it, put thine ears to good use and get thee to YouTube to check out 'Song for Five and Six',  'In Conflict', and 'Sky Behind the Flag'. See? Told you.

And the winner is… Owen Pallett. Not even close.

Best album by the frontperson of a now presumably defunct band (although A-ha have annoyingly announced a gig since I started writing this, but let’s ignore that for now)

The nominees:

- Morten Harket: Brother

I'm fairly sure this album was written and recorded by a giant computer into which someone has programmed the secret formula for getting onto the Radio 2 playlist. Still, 'Whispering Heart' is very good in a Keane-y/ Coldplay-y epic-y kind of way.

- Nina Persson: Animal Heart

It’s a bit like the Cardigans but less twee. Actually, that just means it's a bit like the later Cardigans albums from when most people had stopped listening to them. I only bought this because my Swedish teacher mentioned that it was coming out, and they're from Karin’s hometown, and, yeah I dunno. Can you tell that, although I like it, I don't really have much to say about this album? Shall I stop now? Alrighty then. Here's the title track.

- Jimi Goodwin: Odludek

I can't say I saw this one coming, mostly because I wasn't really paying attention. I've loved Doves since their first album, and kept up with what they were doing for a good 10 years – but it was only when this was announced that I suddenly realised they hadn't done anything for ages. Given that this album has been such a critical success and Jimi's now touring on his own to rave reviews, and that the “other two” have started a new band without the slightest hint of bitterness (oh no), I think this album is a fine contender for this category, which is just as well since I couldn't think of another one to put it in.

The music is all over the place, which is a fine thing, from the Phil-Spector produces the Manics (mit extra cool brass!) sound of ‘Terracotta Warrior’ to the none-more-Doves groovy melancholy of ‘Didsbury Girl’ and the rave’n’bass-tastic ‘Live Like a River’. And that’s just the first three tracks. Let’s not even get into the fake-gameshow theme meets frankly mental psychedelic circus of ‘Man v Dingo’… the mind boggles.

And the winner is… Jimi Goodwin. Doves who?

Best 2014 Mercury Prize-nominee that I had actually heard before it got nominated, yes really, honest, so there

- East India Youth: Total Strife Forever

This was an actually useful Amazon recommendation. (Hey, Amazon, here's a recommendation, would you like to pay some tax? LOOK AT ME SATIRING, EH?)

An interesting mix of frantic, nervous, and sometimes minimalist electronica (opener 'Glitter Recession', and the 'Total Strife Forever' suite) with some more conventional synth-y, shoegazey songs with echoey vocals like the lovely 'Dripping Down', this album didn't win the Mercury Prize, but it does win an award here today, which I'm sure will serve as reassurance to William Doyle (aka East India Youth) that he's on the right tracks.

The "Look, let’s not be too clever about this" award 

Let's be honest, sometimes you don’t want to listen to a 3-disc concept album about how Hannibal got the runs on his way across the Alps, or have your brain violated by clever-clever virtuoso playing – and it's at moments like this that you need some bloody good pop music.

The nominees:

- Foxes: Glorious

'Glorious' / 'Holding on to Heaven'

- Katy B: Little Red

'5am' / 'Crying for No Reason'

- Sia: 1,000 Forms of Fear

'Chandelier' / 'Burn the Pages'

- MØ: No Mythologies to Follow

'Maiden' / 'Red in the Grey'

But hold on, just because you fancy some of the fizzy stuff, it doesn't mean you have to settle for Wand Erection or Spitney Drears – there's some incredibly well written, well performed and excitingly produced stuff out there. From Dr. Who guest star Foxes (yes I nearly missed her, too), with her straight-ahead mix of intelligent uptempo stuff and ballads, to Katy B's more urban take on electro-pop, via MØ, who is “The Danish Robyn” (or so the "You must buy this cos we say so” card in HMV would have had me believe) – with an R&B tinge to her infectiously catchy tunes.

But this year was Sia's year – she's come a long way from being a guest vocalist on the first Zero7 album - and this was the year that she stopped giving her monster smash hits away to people like Rihanna, David Guetta and Beyonce and stepped up to take her rightful props with the stunning ‘Chandelier’ and another 9 tracks of equal hit potential. She even had Shia LeBoeuf in her video, which was fairly brave of her.

And the winner is… Sia. But give ‘em all a try.

Actually it’s just occurred to me that these are all female artists. Either men completely suck at making good pop music or I have some kind of issue...

“Nicest” Album of the year

Of course, when you do need a rest from having your ears assaulted by stuff that's so out there, it's in there again, you don't have to head to the pop music shelf - you could do worse than checking out one of these.

- Ben Watt: Hendra

- Elbow: The Take-off and Landing of Everything

- M83: You and the Night

I'm sure Elbow and their fans won't thank me for calling them 'nice' but this year's album was a bit less grandiose and epic than the last couple (the amazing 'Charge' aside), which worked in their favour, and M83's soundtrack to 'You and the Night', whilst not the barnstorming follow up to 'Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming' which I'd like them to hurry up, stop dreaming and make, did indeed calm my frazzled nerves at various times of stress this year.

But it's with Everything but the Girl’s Ben Watt that the title of "Nice" artist of the year should rest. Quiet, soothing, gentle acoustic led songs, it's a lovely album, but it chiefly wins for the very reason that it means I have an excuse to post this photo of David Gilmour playing live with Ben this year whilst my friend Tim and I stared open mouthed in the front row. I know, I’m a git.

Okay, I can see you're getting restless now, go and take a quick break and we'll be back soon with the last few clumsily worded categories...

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Gigging Forever Awards 2014: Part Three (The Moany edition)

Welcome back to Earl's Court, where you join us for part three of our annual awards ceremony, hope you've got your hard hats on, don't mind the demolition men... No, Sam Fox, we're good thanks...

(Don't tell me you missed Part One and Part Two, did you? Well, definitely don't tell me that now, because I just made sure you didn't.)

Ok, it's time to dole out some musical "Razzies" for the stuff that just really didn't hit the spot this year - I think it's only fair in the interests of balance, and let's be honest, praising stuff isn't as much fun to read or write.

The "I Don't Get It" award

The nominees:

- Gazpacho: Demon

- D'Angelo: Black Messiah

Both of these come highly recommended by people I trust. Like, seriously raving and drooling about them. Neither are in a genre that I know I hate, so neither could be said to be "not aimed at me". 'Black Messiah' was only released just before Christmas and already it is the number 2 top rated album of 2014 on RateYourMusic. 'Demon' is at number 46,  by the way, which is pretty good for an album on KScope.

I accept, therefore, that there is something pretty ruddy awesome about both these albums. It's just that apparently, whatever it is, I was innoculated against it sometime in my childhood. Those damn vaccinations...

I. Just. Don't. Get. It.

Feel free to enlighten me, please.

Most utterly, soul destroyingly pointless compilation

-Queen: Queen Forever (or "Queef Forever", as I just accidentally typed, perhaps appropriately...)

"Hey guys, I've just found this unreleased song from 'The Works', shall we put it on the remaster as a bonus track? What's that? You think we could milk a lot more money out of it? Have we got anything else to put it together with? A rubbish duet with Michael Jackson, yeah that'll do. Anything else? No? How about we remix one of Freddie's old dance tracks as a ballad? Ok, great, that'll make a good EP. What's that? Nobody would buy a 3-song EP? I suppose we'd better fill up the remainder of 2 CDs with a selection of album tracks and hits chosen by a blindfolded marmoset and randomised in a concrete mixer. Sweet. Do it."

If ever there was an argument for illegal downloading...

-Genesis: R-Kive

1. Shit name ("the kind of pun a 5-year old would come up with", says Karin. "It's not even an actual pun", says I.)
2. Shit album cover
3. Shit selection of previously unreleased material (i.e., um, nothing.)
4. Just a completely bizarre idea. Who listens to a CD which contains both "The Knife" and "I Can't Dance"? Who wants to hear both "Solsbury Hill" and "Over My Shoulder"? Oh, I know who. Genesis fans. Who already have all this stuff. Several times.

And the winner is... Genesis. For sheer brazen cheek. (See, there's a face on the front, which has got cheeks! That's a better pun than "R-Kive".)

Worst Album Art

The nominees:

Corvus Stone - II

I've never heard this album, by the way. I can't think why I'm not that inclined to check it out. I like the way they stole the woman-turns-into-crow thing from Kate Bush, but I'm not sure they really nailed the tone in quite the same way that she did.

United Progressive Fraternity - Fall in Love with the World

I think a rainbow unicorn just took a wizz in my eyes...

Schnauser - Protein for Everyone

Something about this just makes me feel very ill. Meat doesn't belong under a hat. It's a bit like the mixture of the Dolmio Puppets and a real spag bol. I accept that it must happen, but it doesn't mean I want to look at it.

(The music, by the way, is actually pretty cool...)

And the winner is... I don't know, my eyes are irrevocably damaged so I can't read what's on the card.

I've got the URL for Steve Hackett's new album ready for a quick CTRL-V into next year's awards, by the way.

The "Please, for the love of God, just make it stop" award

(Aka the one in which I lose most of my regular readership)

The nominees:

- Yes: Heaven and Earth


(I'm pretty sure nobody's ever made that joke before...)

- Mike Oldfield: Man on the Rocks

 I know we've already had this, but look, it was just so terrible it's worth pointing out again. 

- Transatlantic - Kaleidoscope

Today, for the first time ever, having pre-ordered the deluxe edition, I actually managed to listen to the whole of this album in one go - purely for the purposes of writing this. I hope you appreciate it. Here are the notes I made, which I can't even be bothered to make into real sentences, that's how much I want my time back:

liked TA but this is same old same old, stupid growly voices, WHY? Don't let Pete sing. Just not very good songs, sorry. Black as the sky is kind of cool but it is basically Devil's Got my Throat from Snow so it ought to be

Look at that, I didn't even want to waste another full stop on it.

- IQ - The Road of Bones

Today, for the several hundredth time since it came out, I did not listen to this album. In fact, I tried to listen to it once when it did come out, and it didn't go very well, so I try to avoid it whenever possible. To mangle a saying from my friend James Allen, when people make suggestions for things for him to listen to: "But I've already heard an IQ album."

- Opeth - Pale Communion

I'm sorry, Sweden. I've let you down. I tried and failed to get engaged by this. It just sounded like more of the last album, and I wasn't that excited about that one. I shall go henceforth and give myself numerous lashings with an ornäsbjörk twig.

- Just basically all Prog

Ok, I don't know what it is, either I'm "growing out of" it, or it's stuck in a horrible rut in 9/8, or I'm just in a bad mood with the world in general, but me and Prog are not getting along this year. We've had our differences in the past and made it work, having that counselling session with Big Big Train last year certainly patched things up for a while, and that Lazuli/Moon Safari gig just before Christmas was a wonderfully illicit thrill, but I think for the sake of everyone, especially the kids, me and Prog are going to have to go our separate ways.

"Pleeeease come back, we can change...."

No, I'm sorry, that's my final decision. I'm not buying any more Prog albums. I'm just going to buy music from artists who push the boundaries, make interesting and innovative albums which demand a bit of thought from the listener - artists who aren't afraid to do different things with chords, rhythms and sounds, take on different influences from the whole world of music, maybe use some interesting instrumentation, who aren't constrained by things like song length, don't follow prescribed formulas, and who take me on a journey, maybe even tell me a story. Yes, that's right, progressive music.

P.S. For the love of all that is good and holy, can we stop calling everything Prog this and Prog that? Prog Curry? Prog Cruise? Prog Avocado? Are Sparks Prog? Is Nirvana? Are the Cheeky Girls? What are the most Prog words? How about which Christmas Carols have the most Prog in them? (Two genuine forum threads I read this year.)

This cushion, is that Prog? What's the most Prog fish in my aquarium? Oops, hold on, I think I may have just had a particularly Proggy bowel movement...

Next time: Some more stuff that I actually did like. I promise.

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Gigging Forever Awards 2014: Part Two

Ok, back again to resume our fictitious awards ceremony - head back to part one if you missed it, before taking your seat over there between Jarvis Cocker getting ready to disrupt someone's inappropriate performance and a coked-up record label exec.

(Yes that was probably the last time I watched the Brit Awards...)

Best album by a Swedish dark-Electronica-based band whose name starts with I

The Nominees: 

iamamiwhoami: Blue

Iamamiwhoami have become quite a fixture in my end of year lists (of which this is self-evidently not one), and I'd pencilled in this latest instalment of their monthly multimedia moody-electro-pop extravaganza for obvious winner of this hard fought category - and with the quality of music on offer here, it should have been... but who knew there was such strong competition on the way?

Actually this is the first time I've done the whole "buy each track as a single as it comes out" thing, and what it's meant is that, as an album, this feels very uneven to me now - the first track "Fountain" was lovely when it came out in January, but I've heard it so many times now that the weird breathy, whisper-y section in the middle makes me want to throw kanelbullar at Jonna Lee's head, whilst the last track "Shadowshow" I can barely remember yet. 

In the middle, though, there's the stunning "Hunting for Pearls" which has just the right balance of dark and light to keep you coming back time and again, the gorgeously upflifting "Blue Blue", and the Brazilian electro-carnival chaos that is "Ripple". What the hell "Tap Your Glass" is all about though, I have no idea. I'll just have a look at the video... no, no, none the wiser. 

I will say, this year's videos (one per song, making an ongoing narrative which someone, somewhere can probably understand) are the best so far- the weird furry monsters seem to have disappeared, to be replaced by lots of dancing about near water, celebrating nature and being chased by creepy figures dressed in block body stockings. I'm all for that. 

I Break Horses - Chiaroscuro

A new band to me late in 2013 thanks to their stunning support slot for Sigur Ros, Maria Lindén and Fredrik Balck really stepped up a gear from their shoegaze-y debut this year with this bleak, dark, other synonym for dark, moody second album. From the frenetic and nervous "Faith" (Track of the year?) to the haunting futuristic film-noir soundtrack "Medicine Brush", via the just ruddy-bloody gorgeous "Denial" and "Weigh True Words", this album is very nearly perfect. I do pretend it finishes before the last track, though, sorry

Winner: I Break Horses. Ultimately, I just like things a little bleak and depressing- and damn it, Iamamiwhoami, you just got a tiny bit too nice, cheerful and major key this year, with your sunny beach videos and Latin American carnival vibes. Still love ya, though. 

The Best Mike Oldfield album of 2014

The nominees:

Mike Oldfield: Man on the Rocks

Nah. Just no, no and no again. With a side order of "NOOOOOOO!!!!" (See why here.)

Rob Reed: Sanctuary

Oh now, this is much more like it - this actually sounds like a Mike Oldfield album. In fact it sounds like all the Mike Oldfield albums put into a salad spinner. In fact I don't think this is an album at all, I think it's an elaborate puzzle - the first person to work out which Mike Oldfield track each 30 seconds of music here is based on wins a trip over Hergest Ridge on horseback. 

I want to hate this album with every fibre of my being for being so blatant... And yet, and yet. It's annoyingly well done, and there are some great tunes. (Even if they are basically by Mike Oldfield- run through a note-randomiser). 

Although, I just re watched this video in which Rob Reed smashes up a record exec's office for not taking his album seriously, so now I'm quite fine with hating it - also those A&R guys at table 12 are looking a bit miffed so let's move on...

Matt Berry: Music for Insomniacs

Yes, the guy from "Toast of London". Yes, he's made an album of eerie synth and chanting vocal music, upon which he plays everything, Oldfield-stylee, and Yes, it was largely created when he was trying and failing to sleep. Yes, I CAN hear you, Clem Fandango.   

Now, I'm not going to pretend this is hugely innovative either, but it is weird and it doesn't obviously follow a pattern that I can discern, and it also has the decency to sound like Jean-Michel Jarre and Tangerine Dream at the same time as Tubular Bells, so for that reason I'm in. 

Winner: Matt Berry. YEEEESSSSSS. 

Best retro-60's/early 70's psych/Canterbury- type rock album 

The nominees:

Temples - Sun Structures

Brought here to you from the summer of '68 by means of some freaky musical teleportation device, here come Temples with their brand of fuzzy, sunny, hazy sounding psychedelic rock tunes - and oh, what tunes they are, it's physically impossible to be unhappy whilst listening to this album, and believe me I've tried. Here you go, here's 'Keep in The Dark', and 'Mesmerise' which aren't necessarily my faves, but look, they've got videos which tell you exactly what you think about the band without having to try too hard. Sweet. 

Syd Arthur - Sound Mirror

Skipping on a few years to 1970, let's imagine we're in Canterbury (no, not the Canterbury where my parents went to university which apparently didn't contain ANY of the amazing music I know to have been happening there, I mean the one where people went out and saw bands and got into the whole scene, man...) - and here come a fresh faced new prospect, Syd Arthur, with their somewhat harder, rockier, less fuzzy and "peace and love" approach to the turn of the decade. With twisting time-signatures and interesting chords, they may be onto something - something that should maybe get a name beginning with P, can't think what now. It's happening though, and it's here.

Check out 'Garden of Time' here, cause it's on YouTube and everything, which makes it rather easier to do so...

Winner: Very close, but Temples just win out here. Tune after tune after tune of top summery smashes. Mind you, I've not tried listening to it in winter, it might sound awful...

Tune in next time for more made-up and hastily decided-upon awards...