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Your alternative to the Mercury Prize nominees

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The industry might be ready to anoint one of their own as the best album of the last year, but we beg to differ.

Strictly speaking with nominations running July 2009 to July 2010, Iron Maiden’s fifteenth studio album, The Final Frontier, is eligible next year. Expect the biggest band on the planet to be pretty much ignored by the critics. Which is a shame, it’s a fantastically layered album with a huge amount of depth.

So let’s pick up four British bands or singers that are miles away from getting noticed at a huge industry event, but deserve to be heard.

Brighton based Gloria Cycles debut album Campsite Discotheque is a delightful slice of indie pop with  just enough glee and tongue in cheek lyrics to keep it fresh and bouncy. They also get bonus points for pressing some vinyl copies of the album as special promotional items to give out at music festivals. A great way to get noticed.

Scotland’s David Ferrard has its routes in traditional Scottish music, but fused with his American/Scottish heritage makes for a fresh new angle and sounds. Across the Troubled Wave showcases a singer-songwriter that has already had a great career that continues to grow.

Something more aggressive? Let’s go with Electro-Punk outfit Angry vs The Bear. Like something trapped in the eighties this is music with no compromise. so they don;t look like they’ve been properly styled since Tom Baker was Doctor Who, but wow can they play. Technically they don;t have any album yet, but their Self Titled EP is getting the nod from me.

You have to love Tommy Reilly, who proudly tells the world he can play the harmonica. He’s also brilliant on the piano and to my mind brings a bit of blues and adding his own 21st century flavour to it. Jackets showcases a growing talent to perfection.

Who would you add to this four?



(Anyone who suggests John Barrowman’s Music Music Music can see me outside Remedial Music 101 after the bell).

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The most popular holiday picture in the world

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Abbey Road’s cover holds a secret. Not The Beatles, but tourist Paul Cole lurking in the background.

While photographer Iain McMillan had just ten minutes to snap the famous walk across the zebra crossing for the Abbey Road sleeve, Paul Cole was taking a break on his trip to London.

“A bunch of kooks… walking across the street like a line of ducks,” he thought, not knowing that his picture was about to be taken and copied tens of millions of times around the word.

He died in 2008, aged 95. So if people ever ask if the album picture meant Paul was Dead, well the answer, now, is yes.

Hat tip to TC Palm Florida.

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Iron Maiden back at the top of the charts

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Their Fifteenth studio library, The Final Frontier, storms to number one.

Some thirty five years after the band was first formed, their latest album has pushed aside Eminem, destroyed The Saturdays, strolled past Plan B left Michael Buble, Paolo Nutini and Lady Gaga wondering what happened.

A new entry… straight in at number one, thank you very much.

No need to resort to multiple appearances on Alan Carr, miming the song on The X-Factor or a strategically placed photographer as they leave a nightclub. This is pure fan power, who follow the band online, and bought the album as soon as possible.

It’s likely to crash out the Top Ten next week, but for now, Metal wins!!!

You can buy The Final Frontier via Amazon.

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Start planning your march, SXSW Music pitches around British cities.

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Are you a UK band ready to rock Austin in 2011?

Acknowledged as one of the biggest musical showcases on the planet, South by Southwest Music is currently on a roadshow around the UK so bands, performers, singers, and managers can find out more.

SXSW UK & Ireland manager Una Johnston will visit nine great cities around the UK between Aug 31st and Sept 6th as part of a SXSW Briefing Roadshow coordinated by UK Trade & Investment. Briefings will kick off in Liverpool and continue to Glasgow, Newcastle, Leeds, London, Brighton, Cardiff, Bristol and wrap up in Belfast.

Having attended SXSW for a number of years, there is no finer musical gig on the planet for a new band if they’re ready to put the work in to do some PR and schmoozing while in the Texan Capital. If you’ve any intention of being big, you should check these dates out and see if there’s a fit for you.

And I’ll see you in Texas in March!

More at the British Music Biz website, picture by Nika Vee.

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Slow climbers reach number one

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It might be old fashioned to not go straight in to Number One, but that’s what Eminem and B.o.B. have done in this week’s charts.

Knocking Kylie off the number spot in the album charts was Eminem, lifting Recovery (his seventh studio album), which joins an elite group of albums that have returned to number one.

Over in the singles charts, B.o.B. has racked up his second consecutive number one with Airplanes. The track, featuring Hayley Williams (from Paramore) has climbed up the charts from it’s entry point at #25 almost two months ago, to be Top of the Pops.

UK Singes Charts, 18 July 2010
1.Airplanes, B.o.B. ft Hayley Williams
2. We No Speak Americano, Yolanda Be Cool & DCUP
3. Love the Way You Lie, Eminem ft Rhianna
4. California Gurls, Katy Perry ft Snoop Dogg
5. Just Be Good To Greet, Proffessor Green ft Lily Allen

UK Album Charts, 18 July 2010
1. Recovery, Eminem
2. Aphrodite, Kylie Minogue
3. Eliza Doolittle, Eliza Doolittle
4. The Defamation of Strickland Banks, Plan B
5. The Fame, Lady Gaga

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Katy Perry likes it on top

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But Kylie is sneaking up behind her  in the charts.

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