Chart for stowaways – 21 April 2018

Here are the week’s top albums:

  1. Sparks – Hippopotamus
  2. Tracey Thorn – Record
  3. The Radiophonic Workshop – Burials in Several Earths
  4. Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark – The Punishment of Luxury
  5. Kylie Minogue – Golden
  6. David Bowie – Legacy
  7. David Bowie – Changestwobowie
  8. Pink Floyd – The Dark Side of the Moon
  9. Jean-Michel Jarre – Oxygène 3
  10. Goldfrapp – Tales of Us
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Ivor Novello Awards 2016

The 2016 Ivor Novello Awards occurred on Thursday 19th May at Grosvenor House, in London.

PRS for Music Most Performed Work

  • James Bay – Hold Back The River
  • Jess Glynne – Hold My Hand
  • Years & Years – King

Winner: James Bay

Best Television Soundtrack

  • Stuart Earl – And Then There Were None
  • Edmund Butt – From Darkness
  • Keefus Ciancia and David Holmes – London Spy

Winner: London Spy

The Ivors Classical Music Award

Winner: Oliver Knussen

International Achievement

Winner: Wayne Hector

Best Song Musically and Lyrically

  • Ed Sheeran and Rudimental – Bloodstream
  • Wolf Alice – Bros
  • Jamie Lawson – Wasn’t Expecting That

Winner: Jamie Lawson

The Ivors Inspiration Award

Winner: Happy Mondays

Album Award

Nominees:

  • Villagers – Darling Arithmetic
  • Jamie xx – In Colour
  • Gaz Coombes – Matador

Winner: Villagers

Songwriter of the Year

Winner: Adele

Best Original Film Score

  • Geoff Barrow and Ben Salisbury – Ex_Machina
  • John Powell – Pan
  • Faris Badwan and Rachel Zeffira – The Duke of Burgundy

Winner: Ex_Machina

Best Contemporary Song

  • Snakehips feat. Tinashe & Chance the Rapper – All My Friends
  • Roots Manuva – Cargo
  • Skepta – Shutdown

Winner: Snakehips feat. Tinashe & Chance the Rapper

Outstanding Song Collection

Winner: Simple Minds

PRS for Music Outstanding Contribution to British Music

Winner: Portishead

Lifetime Achievement

Winner: Damon Albarn

PRS for Music Special International Award

Winner: Bryan Adams

More here and here.

Random jukebox – Leftfield Halliday

The one and only rule of the random jukebox is that we can’t have the same artist more than once every two years, and since it’s now two years since we last had Leftfield, we’re now allowed another selection from them. I couldn’t find the video for this online, but let’s enjoy this great (if woefully short) performance from Top of the Pops:

Sparks – Exotic Creatures of the Deep

Sparks can be a bit of an unknown quantity sometimes. In 2008, they decided to celebrate their fortieth anniversary as a band with Exotic Creatures of the Deep. But Hello Young Lovers, released two years earlier, had been a bit of disappointment after 2002’s exceptional Lil’ Beethoven, so this could really have gone in any direction. Fortunately, Intro is full of a glorious repeated vocal, cello, and even some piano, and it opens this album in brilliant fashion.

The first proper track is the fantastic lead single Good Morning. Quite how, four or five decades into their career, Sparks are able to pull together influences from around them and create pop songs as great as this, is a bit of a mystery to me. On this one, they tap Scissor Sisters and show them how to do it properly, with such great lines as “Does dasvidaniya really mean good morning?”

Sparks have always had their daft side, and the bizarre swing of Strange Animal definitely fits in this category. It’s also rather good, though. Then there’s the exceptional and hilarious I Can’t Believe That You Would Fall for All the Crap in This Song, with its huge glam bass line. Then Let the Monkey Drive encapsulates more of the atmosphere of Pacific Coast Highway road trips than you might expect – it’s tempting sometimes to wonder whether monkeys are behind the wheel as drive that route.

After a brief reprise of the intro, we then get I’ve Never Been High, without any obvious lapse in quality. It does step up somewhat with the brilliant She Got Me Pregnant, though, a bizarrely sympathetic song full of strings and fun vocals. Then Lighten Up Morrissey is every bit as good as you might expect, a sweet song about someone who is feeling all the strains of being in a relationship with a Morrissey fan.

There’s no shortage of brilliance on here – This is the Renaissance is exquisite as well. The less superlative moments, such as The Director Never Yelled Cut, are far from bad, so this really is a great all-round album. This track, by the way, turns out to be where the Intro and Intro Reprise were extracted from.

What there is not, perhaps, is much new on here – Photoshop could have easily fitted on Lil’ Beethoven, six years earlier. The lack of beats, the piano, the string swells – it really would have been a perfect fit. It’s also a great song though, so it’s a struggle to see that as a problem.

The identity crisis that is this album comes to a close with the wonderful Likeable, in which someone tells us how much everybody else likes them, which of course smells very slightly of insecurity. The waltz middle section is adorable.

All in all, Exotic Creatures of the Deep is easily one of Sparks‘ finest moments, which is particularly impressive given that they were already forty years into their career at this point. Now, ten years on, some of the relevance of the glam and Scissor Sisters references may be less relevant, but it’s still an exceptional release.

You can still find Exotic Creatures of the Deep at all major retailers.

Preview – The Presets

I have a reasonably good record of finding I like artists just as they split up or disappear without trace, and I must admit, I had wondered if this might be true of The PresetsGhosts was so good, but that came out way back around the time this blog first started.

Fortunately, while it might have taken them a while, they’re back now, with a new album called Hi Viz. Here’s 14U+14ME:

Retro chart for stowaways – 19 May 2007

These are the top ten singles from eleven years ago this week:

  1. Sohodolls – My Vampire
  2. Dragonette – I Get Around
  3. Groove Armada feat. Stush – Get Down
  4. Jean-Michel Jarre – Téo & Téa
  5. Client – Drive
  6. Onetwo – Cloud Nine
  7. Air – Once Upon a Time
  8. Faithless – Music Matters
  9. Erasure – I Could Fall in Love with You
  10. Client – Lights Go Out

Ivor Novello Awards 2015

The 2015 Ivor Novello Awards represented, rather impressively, the sixtieth anniversary of the ceremony. They took place on Thursday 21st May 2015 at Grosvenor House in London.

 

PRS for Music Most Performed Work

Nominees:

  • George Ezra – Budapest
  • Clean Bandit feat. Jess Glynne – Rather Be
  • Sam Smith – Stay With Me

 

Winner: Clean Bandit feat. Jess Glynne

Best Television Soundtrack

Nominees:

  • Natalie Holt and Martin Phipps – The Honourable Woman
  • Samuel Sim – The Mill – Series 2
  • Edmund Butt – The Suspicions of Mr Whicher – Beyond the Pale

Winner: The Honourable Woman

Outstanding Song Collection

Winner: Albert Hammond

The Ivors Classical Music Award

Winner: Judith Weir

Album Award

Nominees:

  • Wild Beasts – Present Tense
  • Royal Blood – Royal Blood
  • Bombay Bicycle Club – So Long, See You Tomorrow

Winner: Bombay Bicycle Club

Best Song Musically and Lyrically

  • Bear’s Den – Above The Clouds Of Pompeii
  • Ben Howard – I Forget Where We Were
  • Hozier – Take Me To Church

Winner: Hozier

PRS for Music Outstanding Contribution to British Music

Winner: Boy George

Best Original Film Score

Nominees:

  • David Holmes – ‘71
  • Gary Yershon – Mr. Turner
  • Dario Marianelli – The Boxtrolls

 

Winner: ’71

Songwriter of the Year

Winner: Ed Sheeran

The Ivors Inspiration Award

Winner: Manic Street Preachers

Best Contemporary Song

Nominees:

  • Alt-J – Every Other Freckle
  • Clean Bandit feat. Jess Glynne – Rather Be
  • FKA Twigs – Two Weeks

Winner: Clean Bandit feat. Jess Glynne

The Ivors Special Anniversary Award

Winner: Bob Geldof and Midge Ure

Lifetime Achievement

Winner: Black Sabbath

PRS for Music Special International Award

Winner: Paul Williams

BASCA Fellowship

Winner: Annie Lennox

More here and here. You can also read about the 2014 ceremony here.