Get to know the global stars in the running for that hallowed middle finger
Britain isn’t the only place capable of producing outstanding music – plenty of acts from all over the world have been entertaining us over the last 12 months, be that via awesome albums or exhilarating live shows. The nominations for Best International Band supported by Austin, Texas are in, then, with some of the globe’s biggest and best in the running for that hallowed middle finger. Remind yourself of the shortlisted six’s year before you cast your vote.
A Tribe Called Quest
The iconic hip-hop group released their first album in 18 years in late 2016 in ‘We Got It From Here… Thank You 4 Your Service’. After that long away, it wouldn’t have been out of the realms of possibility for it to be, well, not quite as good as their back catalogue. And yet! If it had been released before November it would surely have been a contender for album of the year, with messages of love and unity and guest appearances from the likes of Kendrick Lamar, Elton John, Kanye West, Jack White and more.
It would feel wrong for the world to be in political turmoil and not have a Green Day album to soundtrack it. The Oakland punks may be in their forties now, but they showed they still have enough anger and passion to matter in today’s music world.
Kings Of Leon
After diva strops (remember pigeon-gate?) and a couple of lacklustre records, the Followill clan returned sounding re-energised and back on form with seventh album ‘WALLS’. Case in point: ‘Waste A Moment’ sounds a bit like ‘The Bucket’ and how could that ever be a bad thing. Live, they still managed to do the business too, including at a sweaty, small surprise show at London’s 229.
It had been eight years since the metal titans put out a record when ‘Hardwired… To Self-Destruct’ arrived in November. Spare a thought for Kirk Hammett, though, who was unable to contribute songwriting to the record after losing nearly 250 riff ideas when he lost his phone. A valuable lesson in backing up your work and a ferociously brilliant record.
Last year was the year Kevin Parker went from cool cult figure to the superstars’ idol. He worked with Mark Ronson and Lady Gaga on her single ‘Perfect Illusion’, Rihanna covered Tame’s ‘New Person, Same Old Mistakes’ on her latest album ‘Anti’ and Alex Turner made up a song about them on stage at Poland’s Open’er Festival. The Aussie psych group might not have released anything themselves in 2016, but, with their newfound popularity and glorious, euphoric live shows, they were omnipresent.
Tegan And Sara
Calgary twins Tegan And Sara have long been a cult favourite in the UK, but eighth album ‘Love You To Death’ saw their star rising beyond those limits. We called it a “perfectly formed record full of buoyant pop songs” on its release, and it seems the world agreed, with it making strong showings in end of year lists and it giving them their highest chart placing in Britain so far.