1) Jake Bugg – On My One
The “poor boy from Notting-humm” returns with a wonderfully rich bluesy song about life on the road. It seems that young Jake spends lots of time “On his one” (Nottinghamshire parlance for being on your own) hence there’s something deliciously miserable about this track.
2) Coldplay – Hymn For The Weekend
A Head Full Of Dreams was a disappointing album overall, but here’s a classic example of Coldplay getting it completely right with one of their catchy singalongs (“I-oh-I-oh-I”), a bewitching bit of Beyonce and an exotic video. It’s a bit sad that it may be the last decent thing we get from them.
3) Massive Attack – Take It There
From the creators of Unfinished Sympathy and Teardrop, this song has plodding piano chords leading through the track, only to give way later as the guitar comes to the fore. Light interwoven vocals overlay the drama, and we’re trip-hopping our way along, like a drunk man dancing in an empty swimming pool in the middle of the night.
4) The Altered Hours – Way Of Sorrow
Writing for GIGsoup does throw some interesting new music your way, and this was a gem of a discovery. Irish grunge that pounds along with a moaning vocal. It sounds like I imagine the froth on a Guinness should.
5) The Cult – G O A T
It’s “The Greatest Of All Time”, not Duffy going billy goat gruffy. I’m not actually sure how Ian Astbury got this ball busting vocal out, he could have done himself a right mischief. Billy Duffy riffs the hell out of his guitar – it’s glorious rock music.
6) Jack Garrett – Surprise Yourself
Brit Critic’s Choice award winner Jack Garrett shows his talents at their absolute best here, doing his own modern version of an oom-pa-pa one man band. He has plenty of characteristic song surges, combined with his vocal falsetto as he moves about tackling the various instruments in all his wonderful gingerness.
7) Radiohead – Spectre
The “other” Bond theme, more sinister and less obvious than Sam Smith’s Oscar winner. Thom Yorke has a delicate disinterested vocal, but the orchestral swooping and jarring is to die for. My goosebumps have goosebumps.
8) The Last Shadow Puppets – Bad Habits
Messrs Turner and Kane (toss a coin to decide who is the coolest of the duo) return as puppet masters with a track full of momentum and verve. It’s cut through with wonky string stabs and has the feel of Austin Powers about it.
9) Suede – Pale Snow
As atmospheric as waking in the middle of the night and tiptoeing silently outside to appreciate an unspoilt blanket of snow outside. The song is made with the gorgeous heartbreaking catch in Brett Anderson’s voice.
10) Kula Shaker – Infinite Sun
A change of climate here (and let’s hope the British weather plays ball and follows suit). Sitar, chanting and psychedelia. There’s something mystical going on here … how has Crispian Mills avoided the aging process??