Unsung Rock: Brit Awards Special
Most years it’s usually the Mercury Prize that gives rock bands the recognition they deserve, but to my surprise the Brit Awards have seemingly seem fit to honour what an excellent year it has been for rock music. Granted, the awards are still pop-dominated, but there’s enough rock bands on offer to suggest that the mainstream climate for rock music may be improving.
Noel Gallagher has earned himself a place in the award for British Male Solo Artist, after a No. 1 album and two hit singles in The Death Of You And Me and Aka… What A Life. While it annoyed me a little that he was placed in the category for ‘Solo Artists’, therefore alienating the rest of his band members that assisted him on tour, the nomination is well deserved. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds was, as mentioned in my review of the record, undeniably Oasis-esque, but that didn’t take away from the fact that it was one of 2011′s best releases. That being said, Noel’s chances are pretty slim up against the likes of indie sensation Ed Sheeran and chart-topping rapper Professor Green.
The award for British Group, however, has been dominated by rock bands who have beaten off competition from X-Factor pin-ups JLS and One Direction. Whilst nominated bands Arctic Monkeys and Elbow have both had great years with excellent releases and great performances, my tip has to go with Kasabian, who produced an excellent No.1 album in Velociraptor! - a record which earned itself a hefty four-and-a-half stars in my review earlier this year.
Internation Group features some of rock’s overseas heavyweights including Foo Fighters, Fleet Foxes and Maroon 5, and while they’ve all had reasonable mainstream success (with the possible exception of Fleet Foxes), their releases this past year, in my view anyway, haven’t really surpassed or even met the standards of their previous efforts. Therefore, it wouldn’t surprise me if the award ends up in Kanye West or Jay-Z’s hands.
’90s Brit-Pop legends Blur are to be awarded the prestigious ‘Outstanding Contribution to Music’ award, and have been confirmed to perform at the ceremony. The Vaccines, whose debut release What Did You Expect From The Vaccines was my ‘Album Of The Year’ for 2011, are also up for the award of British Breakthrough Act, with the four-piece up against the Mercury-nominated Anna Calvi and popstar Jessie J.
While it’s safe to assume that some of the band’s mentioned will not be taking home an award, a victory for any one of the previously mentioned will go down as a victory for rock music as awhole. That pretty much sums things up for this time, so we’ll close – as ever – with the ‘Picks of the Week’:
Capital Sun – Forgotten Songs
Emerging talent Capital Sun have produced a very promising single that combines a ’70s vibe with the sound of a modern indie anthem. A particularly memorable bass line leads to an inspired climatic guitar solo, which brings the song to a close superbly. Capital Sun are definitely one to watch out for.
The Tricks – Just For The Summer
The Tricks’ debut single Just For The Summer proves that there’s beauty in simplicity. A simple yet well-formed melodic riff combines with an excellent vocal performance from vocalist Joel Hodge to provide a feelgood arena-ready anthem really worth checking out. Time will tell if The Tricks can break into the mainstream fold, but this has sent them well on their way already.
Heard any great Unsung Rock? You can e-mail Dan with your suggestions for the Picks of the Week at firstname.lastname@example.org, and can also get regluar updates for the column by following the official Unsung Rock blog.