Chart for stowaways – 26 May 2018

These are the top ten singles this week:

  1. The Radiophonic Workshop – Burials in Several Earths
  2. Ladytron – The Animals
  3. Tracey Thorn – Dancefloor
  4. Simon Mills – Poke EP
  5. The Beloved – Looking to the Future
  6. Sparks – I Wish You Were Fun
  7.  The Radiophonic Workshop – Things Buried in Water
  8. The Human League – All I Ever Wanted
  9. Sparks – Edith Piaf (Said It Better Than Me)
  10. Pet Shop Boys feat. Example – Thursday

NME Awards – The 1990s

In 1994, the NME Awards suddenly went public, relaunching for the first time in twenty years as an annual awards ceremony, The NME Brat Awards. I’d always thought as the NME of the 1990s as being rather closed-minded, but they do seem to have been remarkably aware of non-indie forms of music, presenting awards to the likes of Tricky and Goldie towards the end of the decade.

NME Brat Awards 1994

After taking a break in 1993, the NME Poll finally reinvented itself as an actual awards ceremony in early 1994. Presenters: Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer.

  • Best New Band: Elastica
  • Best Single: Radiohead, for Creep
  • Best Band: Suede
  • Best Album: The Boo Radleys, for Giant Steps
  • Best Dance Act: Orbital
  • Godlike Genius Award: John Peel
  • Live Event: Megadog
  • Rap Act: Cypress Hill
  • Best Film: Reservoir Dogs
  • Worst Record: Meat Loaf, for I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That)
  • Best Venue: The Forum
  • Event of 1993: Unity March
  • Best Radio Show: John Peel
  • Hype: Jurassic Park
  • Best Solo Artist: Björk
  • Best New Act: Credit to the Nation
  • Bastard: John Major
  • Object of Desire: Björk

NME Awards 1995

Presenters: Tip Top TV

  • Best LP: Blur, for Parklife
  • Best Single: Oasis, for Live Forever
  • Best New Band: Oasis
  • Best Solo Artist: Paul Weller
  • Worst Record: Whigfield, for Saturday Night
  • Film of the Year: Pulp Fiction
  • Best TV Show: Knowing Me Knowing You with Alan Partridge
  • Best Comedian: Steve Coogan
  • Most Desirable Human Being: Kylie Minogue
  • Best Club/Venue: Brixton Academy
  • NME Album of the Year: Oasis, for Definitely Maybe
  • NME Singles of the Year: Blur, for Girls and Boys
  • Philip Hall/On Award for Best New Act: Gene
  • Godlike Genius Award for Services to Music: Alan McGee, Creation Records
  • Live Act of the Year: Blur
  • Best Rap Artist: Warren G
  • Event of the Year: Glastonbury Festival
  • Bummer of the Year: Kurt Cobain‘s Suicide
  • Best Video: Blur, for Parklife
  • Best Band: Blur
  • Best Live Event: Orbital at Glastonbury

NME Awards 1996

Presenters: Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer

  • Best Live Act: Oasis
  • Best Band: Oasis
  • Best LP: Oasis, for (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?
  • Best Single: Oasis, for Wonderwall
  • Vibes Award for Best Dance Act: Goldie
  • Best Dance Act: The Prodigy
  • Best Solo Artist: Paul Weller
  • The Special Award for Services Beyond the Call of Duty: Tony Crean for organising the War Child LP
  • Album of the Year: Tricky, for Maxinquaye
  • Single of the Year: Black Grape, for Reverend Black Grape
  • Worst Record: Robson Green and Jerome Flynn, for I Believe
  • Godlike Genius Award: Michael Eavis
  • Best Musical Event: Glastonbury Festival
  • Non-Musical Event: French Nuclear Testing
  • Best Dressed Person: Jarvis Cocker
  • Worst Dressed Person: Jarvis Cocker
  • Best Video: Pulp, for Common People
  • Live Act of the Year: Pulp
  • Best TV Programme: Shooting Stars
  • Best New Band: Supergrass
  • The Philip Hall Radar Award: Rocket from the Crypt
  • Best Radio Show: Radio 1’s Evening Session
  • Best Film: The Usual Suspects
  • Best Comedian: Steve Coogan
  • Most Desirable Human Being: Liam Gallagher
  • Git of the Year: Damon Albarn
  • Best Venue: Brixton Academy

NME Awards 1997

Took place on 28 January 1997.

  • Best LP: Manic Street Preachers, for Everything Must Go
  • Best Single: Manic Street Preachers, for A Design for Life
  • Best Live Act: Manic Street Preachers
  • Musical Moment of the Year: Skinner, Baddiel and The Lightning Seeds , for Three Lions
  • Best LP: Beck, for Odelay
  • Best Single: Underworld, for Born Slippy
  • Worst Single: Spice Girls, for Wannabe
  • Best Solo Artist: Beck
  • Best Radio Show: Radio 1 Evening Session
  • Most Desirable Person: Louise Wener
  • Best Video: The Prodigy, for Firestarter
  • Biggest Disappointment: The Stone Roses breaking up
  • Best Club/Venue: Brixton Academy
  • Best Band: Oasis
  • Worst Dressed Person: Liam Gallagher
  • Worst Band: Oasis
  • Arse of the Year: Liam Gallagher
  • Musical Event of the Year: Oasis at Knebworth
  • Radio 1 Evening Session Of The Year: Suede
  • Best New Band/Artist: Kula Shaker
  • Philip Hall/On Award for Best New Act: Super Furry Animals
  • Best Dance Act: The Prodigy
  • Vibes Award for Best Dance Act: Orbital
  • Best Film: Trainspotting
  • Best TV Show: Shooting Stars

NME Awards 1998

Took place on 27 January 1998. Presenter: Eddie Vedder

  • Best Band: The Verve
  • Best LP: Radiohead, for OK Computer
  • God Like Genius: Mark E. Smith of The Fall
  • Best Single: The Verve, for Bitter Sweet Symphony
  • Best Solo Artist: Beck
  • Worst Single: Aqua, for Barbie Girl
  • Best Film: The Full Monty
  • Musical Event Of 1997: Glastonbury Festival
  • Radio 1 Evening Session of the Year: Radiohead
  • Best TV Show: Shooting Stars
  • Best Dance Act: The Prodigy
  • Best Radio Show: Mark Radcliffe and Lard (Mark Riley)
  • Best New Band: Embrace
  • Best Club/Venue: Brixton Academy
  • Best Music Video: The Verve, for Bittersweet Symphony
  • Best Dance Single: The Prodigy, for Smack My Bitch Up
  • Dickhead Of The Year: Liam Gallagher
  • Most Desirable Person: Louise Nurding (Louise)

NME Premier Awards 1999

  • Best Single: Manic Street Preachers, for If You Tolerate This, Your Children Will Be Next
  • Best Band: Manic Street Preachers
  • Best Music Video: Manic Street Preachers, for If You Tolerate This, Your Children Will Be Next
  • Best Album: Manic Street Preachers, for This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours
  • Best New Band: Gomez
  • Best Radio Show: Mark Radcliffe
  • Best Dance Act: Fatboy Slim
  • Best Dance Record: Fatboy Slim, for The Rockafeller Skank
  • Godlike Genius: Massive Attack
  • Best TV Show: South Park
  • Best Film: Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels
  • Musical Event of the Year: Glastonbury Festival
  • Best Solo Artist: Robbie Williams
  • Most Desirable Person: Natalie Imbruglia
  • Worst Record: Billie Piper, for Because We Want to
  • Dickhead of the Year: Liam Gallagher
  • Best Venue: Brixton Academy
  • The Pop Personality’s Brain That Should Be Kept Alive for Posterity: Nicky Wire
  • The Pop Personality Who Would Make the Best Drugs Czar: Shaun Ryder
  • The Pop Personality You Would To See On A Blind Date: Marilyn Manson and Billie Piper
  • The Pop Personality You Would Most Like as Your Doctor: Natalie Imbruglia
  • The Pop Personality You Would Most Like to Go Shopping with: Brian Molko
  • The Pop Personality You Would Most Like to Cook You a Meal: Tiny Woods
  • The Pop Personality You Would Most Like to Be Marooned on a Desert Island with: Louise
  • The Pop Personality You Would Most Like as Prime Minister: Nicky Wire
  • The Pop Personality That You’d Most Like as Your Driving Instructor: Jay Kay
  • The Pop Personality You Would Most Like to See in a Ring with Mike Tyson: Billie Piper

See also

Edited 12 Jun 2018 – clarified some formatting.

William Orbit – Strange Cargo

Back in 1987, William Orbit was little known as a name – he would have been primarily recognised as a member of the underground alternative trio Torch Song, but having opened the year with his debut Orbit, by the end of the year he was already onto his second solo album Strange Cargo.

It opens with the glorious Via Caliente. Orbit’s trademark sound has always involved combining complementary melodies at different tempos, and acoustic guitar is a great medium for that. It’s something he has explored more than once on the Strange Cargo series. Clocking in at barely two and a half minutes, Via Caliente is definitely short, but it’s also gloriously evocative and mature.

It is also, unfortunately, far and away, the best thing on here. Let’s be clear about this – the first Strange Cargo album is far from bad, and it does exactly what it sets out to do, but it is just a little bit cheesy at times. Maybe it’s immature or dated, or maybe Orbit just hadn’t quite worked out what he was trying to do yet, but, for all the good tracks on here, there’s nothing quite up to the standard of the opening track.

Case in point: Fire and Mercy, which starts out with what would come to be the familiar Strange Cargo sound: slightly otherworldly, with deep and weird synthetic noises. Before long, though, it’s punctuated by late-eighties digital FM synthesis and naff sounding countermelodies. Just a few years later, it probably would have been great, but in 1987, it just sounds a bit misguided.

The tracks fly by quickly, though – Jump Jet is a very lively diversion, and then Silent Signals is a gentler piece, this time lacking most of the cheesy synth sounds, but also unusually lacking in any kinds of obvious hooks. The Secret Garden, though, is a soft, nursery rhyme-like piece that takes us meandering through the last four minutes or so of the first side of the LP.

The second side opens with the atmospheric and sweet Out of the Ice, which still has some slightly pained late eighties moments, but is generally very good. Scorpion is a short and punchy piece, followed by Riding to Rio, a catchy acoustic guitar-driven piece, which is probably as close as we come to the dizzy heights of Via Caliente during the rest of the album.

Strange Cargo, as we now know, got a sequel three years later. In fact, it ended up with four, the most recent of which appeared just five years ago. The sound that typifies the series is that weird, otherworldly atmosphere that I described earlier, and even Jimmy’s Jag has a bit of this at the start. It’s definitely part of the same series of albums, and it’s a worthy starting point, but perhaps just not quite at its pinnacle yet.

But by now, we’re nearly at the end of this first volume – The Mighty Limpopo meanders along sweetly, and then the gently rhythmic Theme Dream arrives to close the album out. Comparisons to other volumes in the series aside, this is still a good album, with a very unique style, and well worth hearing.

The first Strange Cargo album is still widely available.

Chart for stowaways – 19 May 2018

Here are the top albums this week:

  1. The Radiophonic Workshop – Burials in Several Earths
  2. Tracey Thorn – Record
  3. Sparks – Hippopotamus
  4. The Human League – Secrets
  5. Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark – The Punishment of Luxury
  6. Jon Hopkins – Singularity
  7. Kylie Minogue – Golden
  8. David Bowie – Legacy
  9. Simian Mobile Disco – Murmurations
  10. David Bowie – Aladdin Sane

Coming soon – NME Awards

You may remember that a few months back, we ran through the long and distinguished history of the annual NME Poll, which ran for pretty much exactly forty years, until 1992.

Well, I think we may now be ready to continue that story, with the NME Awards, which have run annually since 1994. So please sit tight for the next few weeks, as we dive into the past yet again!

In the meantime, why not take another look at who won the NME Poll? Here’s part one and part two.