The Wimbledon troubadour tries a bigger sound, with largely successful results

When Jamie T surfed the initial wave of hype on his washboard, it just seemed like Virgin had dropped a syringe on Camden and signed up whichever posho troubadour dabbling in ragamuffin chic it stuck in. However, even though his vocal inflections and street poet lyrics seemed desperately seeking for a place between His Holiness The Doherty and Citizen Skinner, his jumble of punk, hip-hop and folk proved to be...

 
 
 

A beautiful and understated gem

Karin Dreijer Andersson sounds demented on this album. Not in a keeping-a-woman-down-a-well kind of way. And not demented in a constructing-furniture-out-of-human-thigh-bones-as-a-sickening-monument-to-insanity fashion. And not even in a following-deranged-orders-from-a-long-since-deceased-mother-in-the-attic manner either.

Dreijer doesn’t sound sick, she just sounds slightly ill. And it’s this...

 
 
 

The electro duo's second was more pop than avant-garde

The way people toss around words like ‘experimental’ and ‘avant-garde’, you’d think they were important to still have any meaning. But trust NME, Fuck Buttons aren’t avant-garde. Sure, their debut, 2008’s ‘Street Horrrsing’, was a weird beast – a hybrid of the tropical wibble of Black Dice, the abrasive howls of and the starburst kosmische of Boredoms, birthed from laptop, floor tom, myriad...

 
 
 

The scenesters' debut dripped with distortion, anthems and... soul

'A Brief History Of Love’? That’s a big undertaking. Love’s infinite and sublime vicissitudes have proved a draw for creative sorts since time immemorial, its landscape mapped by every artist who ever felt the rush of oxytocin to the brain’s prefrontal cortex. Not that Robbie Furze and Milo Cordell are daunted. This year’s recipients of the Philip Hall Radar Award, they’ve crafted a sound that could...

 
 
 

Elusive beasts finally come out of the dark

Classifying Grizzly Bear alongside American folksters Fleet Foxes and Bon Iver is a common error – it’s like comparing the real-life Ursus arctos horribilis (that’s grizzly bear to you) with a runty park squirrel. In the years since Ed Droste released the lo-fi solo album ‘Horn Of Plenty’ under the Grizzly Bear name back in 2004, he and his band have proved themselves to be more than mere backwoods...

 
 
 

An album that’s overwhelmingly rich in invention and imagination

The picture of the sleeve on this page is nowhere near big enough. Go look it up online, as big as you can, and stare at it very hard. See how, as you try to focus on any one part of the tessellated pattern, the sections in the periphery of your vision shift and undulate, almost alive, making it impossible to pin the image down in your mind?

Right. Sadly for me, that’s probably given you a much...

 
 
 

This beautiful album is a treasure that deserves plundering

Making the strange seem normal is the most accomplished act of artistic alchemy. Any idiot can try to be weird; most will just end up being depressingly inane. But to take something as wonderfully, magically strange as Wild Beasts’ debut ‘Limbo, Panto’ and sublimate its elements into something as subtly beautiful as ‘Two Dancers’ is something very special indeed.

The ‘look at me!’...

 
 
 

A heartfelt love letter to the transcendent possibilities of the dancefloor

Repent ye and make ready for the coming of the Lord: the end days have come. Frogs rain from the sky, the beer taps froth with blood and Yeah Yeah Yeahs have started using synthesizers instead of guitars.

Funny when you consider that production of the commercial synth predates both ‘Sgt Pepper’s…’ and ‘Beggars Banquet’, that sticking
a vintage Arp on your record in 2009 can still be...

 
 
 

Urban tales of heartbreak and adoration from four sensitive south London souls

Space. Everyone needs it to stay sane. In London, though, it’s hard to find. Coffin-narrow streets are piled with tiny flats, subdivided into even tinier rooms, cramped and claustrophobic. No act of chance, perhaps, that it’s in the capital that the most original music of recent years, dubstep, with its booming, echoing spaces, first developed.

The XX, four kids from the dubstep heartland of south...

 
 
 

The British art-rock album we’d all been waiting for

At first sight, you could easily have dismissed The Horrors as haircuts, scenesters, talentless art-school chancers. Sure, after listening to the brilliant, bilious racket of their debut ‘Strange House’, you might have struggled a bit more. But you’d still have managed it.


Then a mysterious, online countdown appears. As it ticks to a close, an ominous, seductive, gothic, motorik thrum...

 
 
 
 
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