NLTS AWARDS 2016
As the awards season for music comes to it's usual slow and anti climactic end for another year, I'm left feeling wholly unsatisfied. People have long accepted the days of actually enjoying something like 'The Brits' are behind us, but why do the awards themselves - along with their respective winners - have to feel so dated and predictable too? Sure, NME attempt to fly the alternative flag still, but when Charli XCX wins their award for 'Best British Solo Artist' and Taylor Swift is named their 'Best International Solo Artist', you get the impression that the flag isn't so much 'flying', but is in actual fact lying at half-mast burning and covered in shit.
So as a dirty, stinking protest, welcome to the NLTS Awards 2016. I am your host for the evening, and I'm drunk. It would be easy to do away with 'Best International Band' opinions, or 'Hero Of The Year' circle jerks, replacing them instead with a 'Godlike Wanker Award', but I don't want to do that. It is far easier to criticise than to praise. So, for now, this will be a genuine awards show, with our honest, happy, praise-filled thoughts. Mostly. Our only rule is that there can't be the same winner twice; there will be no Adele-like board sweeping here.
So ladies and gentlemen, without further ado...Our first award of the night:
NLTS AWARD FOR BEST BRITISH BAND:
There is not much left to say about the North London outfit that has not already been said. The band's debut album ‘My Love Is Cool’ consistently defies categorization, and it is the epitome of a pan-cultural 21st Century rock album. It's a spectacular debut, and you should go and listen to them right now. A worthy winner, even in the face of not much competition.
NLTS AWARD FOR BEST SONG:
Foals - What Went Down
Leader singer Yannis Philappakis called 'What Went Down' "one of the most savage and animalistic songs we've ever done. When we play it in a room, it just feels predatory, it feels like we're on a hunt or something." He's not wrong. After a ferocious opening rush of noise over which Philappakis spits with venom, the track drops to a single, delicate guitar chug, before a patient buildup similar to 'Spanish Sahara' begins, and erupts into a spine tingling crescendo. As a band, Foals are on the cusp of being truly great, and this song - one of their best ever - brings them closer to the brink than ever.
NLTS AWARD FOR BEST ALBUM:
Jamie XX - In Colour
Jamie XX has largely stayed under the radar. While remixes for Radiohead and Drake gained him a degree of recognition, it was not until his debut album 'In Colour' that he went out properly on his own. More than worth the wait, this album grows richer - and each track more impressive - the more it is heard, and it's minimalism builds throughout, before exploding into life and colour as the record is explored. A phenomenal debut.
NLTS AWARD FOR BEST INTERNATIONAL BAND:
From Los Angeles, Dorothy form a sound of dirty, bone rattling riffs with equally attitude filled vocals from lead singer - and namesake of the band - Dorothy Martin. Transfixing to watch on stage, Martin and her band appear a hybrid of Led Zeppelin, AC/DC and maybe even have a little of old school hip-hop about them, and they show the effectiveness of a stripped back, simple composition for a band. There's just a vocalist, drummer, one guitar and one bass, and it really, really works.
At this stage, I've only heard four songs of theirs; 'After Midnight, Wild Fire, Wicked Ones, and Gun In My Hand', but it's all I need to hear to know these guys are ready to shake up the whole industry. In the age of 'Soundcloud', 'Youtube' and 'Spotify', it has become very easy to take new music for granted, our ears growing tired of the same old sounds from artists, and that's why Dorothy need to be heard, and need to be treasured. Their sound is new, and it is edgy as f*ck. Youtube them, download their record, buy their merchandise - If the public do not appreciate a band such as this, I feel sad. Really, really sad.
NLTS AWARD FOR BEST INTERNATIONAL SOLO ARTIST:
Father John Misty
My regular readers (Hello? Are you there?...ANYONE?!) will know what an enormous love I have for this man. For my review of his live show click here, but I encourage you to give his two solo albums a listen, too. Beautiful melodies, complex, torturous lyrics, and a transfixing stage presence. Brilliance personified.
NLTS AWARD FOR BEST NEWCOMER:
From Liverpool, England, Berry carries himself with a charming swagger. A cross between Johnny Cash and Alex Turner, he has a lot to say.
“If someone tells me I have to go out there and impress some people because they’re important to my career, I’d rather go out there and really piss them off. This should be about the songs and a belief that everything else is bollocks. I walk around thinking ‘people in Liverpool, can’t you see what they are doing to you?’. There’s so much to say and no one is saying it. I’m going to be the lad who does.”
This bravado wouldn't matter one bit without great songs to back it up, but Berry has those. With only an EP under his belt so far, I may be made to eat my words, but listen to lead single '25 Reasons' and try not to get excited. I dare you.
And there we have it. Six award categories, and six different winners. We have tried to be the antidote to the bloated, overlong award ceremonies of 2016, and just deliver the goods on a stripped down, purely musical level. Personally, though, I hope that I haven't made you long for Ant & Dec or - Christ forbid - Nick Grimshaw too much, and that this prompts you to look up at least one of the artists' above. Until next year, folks.