Who do you want to win?
Depending on your political beliefs, there hasn’t been a whole lot to be proud of in Britain over the last 12 months. This lot are an exception to that, though, having provided us with some killer tunes and brilliant live experiences to entertain, inspire and motivate us all. Ladies and gentlemen, your nominees for Best British Band supported by Zig-Zag at the VO5 NME Awards 2017 are…
On their second album ‘Wild World’, Bastille created not so much a concept album as a concept campaign, with marketing via a sinister WWCOMMS corporation. With songs like ‘Fake It’, ‘The Currents’ and ‘An Act Of Kindness’, they took on politics, life and love via great big pop songs. The record earned them their place in arenas, where they then raised the bar even higher with an experiential live show like no other.
With each record, Biffy get even better, even when you think they’ve gone as far as they can. Latest album ‘Ellipsis’ was no different, cementing their status as national treasures and festival headliners via massive riffs and even more massive pop hooks. They somehow managed to improve their live set too, showing off their plentiful skills at a phenomenal Reading & Leeds headline performance and in arenas up and down the country.
‘I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It’ was a triumph by anyone’s standards – a 17-track, 75-minute long odyssey through ’80s-indebted pop, post-rock instrumentals and musings about addiction, mental health and death. Frontman Matty Healy has carved out a place for himself as one of the most important musicians in the UK, too, with impassioned on-stage speeches and insightful interviews about the state of the world. To top it all off, their live show was one of the best of the year, upping the game for all that follow in their footsteps.
The Last Shadow Puppets
Alex Turner and Miles Kane – or Milex as their fans know them – got their side project back together last year for their long-awaited second album, ‘Everything You’ve Come To Expect’. Cool, sexy and smooth, it was exactly what we’d hoped for from the pair’s return. That had nothing on their gigs and festival sets, though, where Turner regularly cut loose and treated us to bizarre dance moves like this:
The Londoners are getting ready to record their second album as we speak, but in 2016 they were still riding high on debut ‘My Love Is Cool”s wave. Four sold-out shows at London’s O2 Forum Kentish Town, their first appearance on Glastonbury’s Pyramid Stage, months on the road in the USA and a Michael Winterbottom-directed film based around their UK tour were just some of the things they’ve managed to achieve since scooping up two trophies at last year’s NME Awards. Heroes.
Years & Years
From encouraging fans at Glastonbury to “shove a rainbow in fear’s face” to speaking out against the band’s music being labelled as “gay” and making a forward-thinking, unapologetic video for ‘Desire’, Olly Alexander has become one of the most outspoken and important pop stars we’ve got. That he and his bandmates also make the kind of pop music that can immediately lift you up and refuses to leave your head is just an added bonus.