Chart for stowaways – 25 February 2017

These are this week’s albums:

  1. Jean-Michel Jarre – Oxygène 3
  2. The Human League – Anthology – A Very British Synthesizer Group
  3. Jean-Michel Jarre – Oxygène Trilogy
  4. Dusty Springfield – Reputation
  5. C Duncan – The Midnight Sun
  6. David Bowie – Legacy
  7. Delerium – Mythologie
  8. Air – Twentyears
  9. David Bowie – Station To Station
  10. Shit Robot – What Follows

Chart for stowaways – 11 February 2017

Move along, nothing to see here…

  1. Jean-Michel Jarre – Oxygène 3
  2. The Human League – Anthology – A Very British Synthesizer Group
  3. Dusty Springfield – Reputation
  4. Jean-Michel Jarre – Oxygène Trilogy
  5. C Duncan – The Midnight Sun
  6. Delerium – Mythologie
  7. David Bowie – Legacy
  8. Air – Twentyears
  9. Mike Oldfield – Return To Ommadawn
  10. Shit Robot – What Follows

BRIT Awards 2017

This is one of those all-too-common posts where you probably know more about the subject than I do, but I still feel as though we should pay some lip service to the fortieth anniversary BRIT Awards!

This year’s ceremony was the 37th altogether, and celebrated many late geniuses, with statuette designed by Zaha Hadid, a tribute to George Michael, and several wins for David Bowie. It took place at The O2 in London on 22nd February, and was hosted by Dermot O’Leary and Emma Willis, who stepped in for Michael Bublé at the last minute.

Performances at the show came from Little MixBruno MarsEmeli SandéThe 1975Chris MartinKaty Perry and Skip MarleyThe Chainsmokers and Coldplay, Ed Sheeran feat. Stormzy, and Robbie Williams.

British Artist Video

Presented by Simon Cowell and Nicole Scherzinger. The nominees:

  • Adele – Send My Love (To Your New Lover)
  • James Arthur – Say You Won’t Let Go
  • Clean Bandit feat. Sean Paul & Anne-Marie – Rockabye
  • Coldplay – Hymn For The Weekend
  • Calvin Harris feat. Rihanna – This Is What You Came For
  • Jonas Blue feat. Dakota – Fast Car
  • Little Mix feat. Sean Paul – Hair
  • One Direction – History
  • Tinie Tempah feat. Zara Larsson – Girls Like
  • Zayn – Pillowtalk

British Breakthrough Act

Presented by Nick Grimshaw and Rita Ora. The nominees:

  • Anne-Marie
  • Blossoms
  • Rag ‘n’ Bone Man
  • Skepta
  • Stormzy

The winner: Rag ‘n’ Bone Man

Critics’ Choice Award

Presented by Emeli Sandé. The nominees:

  • Anne-Marie
  • Dua Lipa
  • Rag ‘n’ Bone Man

The winner: Rag ‘n’ Bone Man, which surely must be cheating?

MasterCard British Album of the Year

Presented by Noel Gallagher. The nominees:

  • Davie Bowie – Blackstar
  • Kano – Made in the Manor
  • Michael Kiwanuka – Love & Hate
  • The 1975 – i like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it
  • Skepta – Konnichiwa

The winner: David Bowie

British Female Solo Artist

Presented by David Tennant. The nominees:

  • Anohni
  • Ellie Goulding
  • Lianne La Havas
  • Nao
  • Emeli Sandé

The winner: Emeli Sandé

British Male Solo Artist

Presented by Zane Lowe. The nominees:

  • David Bowie
  • Craig David
  • Kano
  • Michael Kiwanuka
  • Skepta

The winner: David Bowie

British Group

Presented by Maisie Williams and Romesh Ranganathan. The nominees:

  • Bastille
  • Biffy Clyro
  • Little Mix
  • The 1975
  • Radiohead

The winner: The 1975

British Single

Presented by Fearne Cotton and Holly Willoughby. The nominees:

  • James Arthur – Say You Won’t Let Go
  • Calum Scott – Dancing On My Own
  • Clean Bandit feat. Sean Paul & Anne-Marie – Rockabye
  • Coldplay – Hymn For The Weekend
  • Calvin Harris feat. Rihanna – This Is What You Came For
  • Jonas Blue feat. Dakota – Fast Car
  • Little Mix – Shout Out To My Ex
  • Tinie Tempah feat. Zara Larsson – Girls Like
  • Alan Walker – Faded
  • Zayn – Pillowtalk

Winner: Little Mix

International Female Solo Artist

Presented by Alice Levine, Clara Amfo, and Laura Jackson. The nominees:

  • Beyoncé
  • Christine and the Queens
  • Rihanna
  • Sia
  • Solange

The winner: Beyoncé

International Male Solo Artist

Also, presented by Alice Levine, Clara Amfo, and Laura Jackson. The nominees:

  • Bon Iver
  • Leonard Cohen
  • Drake
  • Bruno Mars
  • The Weeknd

The winner: Drake

International Group

Since they were still around, this was also presented by Alice Levine, Clara Amfo, and Laura Jackson. The nominees:

  • Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds
  • Drake & Future
  • Kings of Leon
  • A Tribe Called Quest
  • Twenty One Pilots

The winner: A Tribe Called Quest

BRITs Global Success

Presented by Naomi Campbell and Jonathan Ross

The winner: Adele

BRITs Icon Award

Because this is getting like the Q Awards with its multitude of identically-named awards. Presented by Take That.

Winner: Robbie Williams. Which I can’t help but feel reflects his success at the BRITs more than it does his performance generally, but well done to him anyway!

Chart for stowaways – 28 January 2017

Here’s the latest album chart:

  1. Jean-Michel Jarre – Oxygène 3
  2. The Human League – Anthology – A Very British Synthesizer Group
  3. Dusty Springfield – Reputation
  4. C Duncan – The Midnight Sun
  5. Jean-Michel Jarre – Oxygène Trilogy
  6. David Bowie – Legacy
  7. Delerium – Mythologie
  8. Air – Twentyears
  9. David Bowie – Blackstar
  10. Shit Robot – What Follows

Grammy Awards 2017

Around this time of year, I usually like to put together a quick post summarising the Grammy Awards. Honestly, it’s a total nightmare – there are way too many awards in a myriad different categories, and I don’t really care all that much, but let’s see what we can see anyway…

First up, skipping straight to category #10, Best Dance/Electronic Album, where Jean-Michel Jarre was definitely robbed for Electronica 1: The Time Machine, and not even Underworld could grab it with Barbara Barbara, We Face a Shining Future. Instead, it was taken by someone called Flume, with Skin.

Another veteran who didn’t make it this year was Vangelis, whose latest album Rosetta lost in the Best New Age Album category to White Sun‘s White Sun II.

There were some vague highlights in the Best Remixed Recording category, where Timo Maas turned up as a nominee, reworking Wings, but failed to win. Among the competition was Joe Goddard of Hot Chip, with a version of The Chemical Brothers‘ Wide Open, but that also failed to win.

There were some well-deserved wins for David Bowie in the Best Rock Performance and Best Rock Song and Best Alternative Music Album and Best Recording Package and Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical (whatever the heck that means) categories, all for Blackstar.

An honourable mention is surely due to Ladysmith Black Mambazo, whose latest album Walking in the Footsteps of Our Fathers didn’t quite grab the Best World Music Album, and finally, hats off to Dolly Parton, who with the help of Pentatonix won the Best Country Duo/Group Performance award for Jolene.

There’s a painfully long list here, if you want to find some highlights for yourself.

Stowaway Awards 2017

Finally! We kick Awards Season off in earnest with the Important Announcement of the winners of the 2017 Stowaways.

Best Track

Winner: Jean-Michel Jarre with Pet Shop Boys, for Brick England.

Best Album

These were the nominees:

  • The Avalanches – Wildflower
  • David Bowie – Blackstar
  • Clarke Hartnoll – 2Square
  • C Duncan – The Midnight Sun
  • I Monster – Bright Sparks
  • Jean-Michel Jarre – Electronica 2: The Heart of Noise
  • Jean-Michel Jarre – Oxygène 3
  • Pet Shop Boys – Super
  • Shit Robot – What Follows
  • Yello – Toy

Winner: Jean-Michel Jarre, who had a particularly good year and stood a better chance of winning than most, with Oxygène 3.

Best Reissue / Compilation

The nominees:

  • Air – Twentyears
  • Cicero – Future Boy
  • The Human League – Anthology – A Very British Synthesizer Group
  • New Order – Complete Music
  • Dusty Springfield – Reputation

Winner: The Human League

Best Artist

Winner: Jean-Michel Jarre

Best Live Act

Winner: Pet Shop Boys

Best Ambient Track

Nominated were:

  • Air – Adis Abebah
  • Delerium – Ghost Requiem
  • Enigma – Sadeness (Part II)
  • I Monster – Alan R Pearlman and the ARPiological exploration of the cosmos
  • Jean-Michel Jarre – Oxygène (Part 17)

Winner: Delerium, for Ghost Requiem

Best Dance Act / Remixer

Potential winners included:

  • The Avalanches
  • Clarke Hartnoll
  • Stuart Price
  • Röyksopp
  • Shit Robot

Winner: Shit Robot

Best Newcomer

Winner: C Duncan

Innovation Award

Winner: Jean-Michel Jarre

Outstanding Contribution

Could have been any of the following:

  • David Bowie
  • Vince Clarke
  • Delerium
  • Enigma
  • Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark

Winner: Delerium

That’s an unprecedented four out of ten for Jean-Michel Jarre. All being well, we’ll do the BRIT and Grammy Awards over the next couple of weeks.

Unsigned Act – Blue Swan (and Subculture)

With this blog and the radio shows that came before it, I have always tried to keep some space available for unsigned artists, but honestly giving them the chance to be written about or to appear on an actual radio station yields surprisingly poor results. In the end, I only ever covered two unsigned acts on my old radio show Music for the Masses (2004-2005), one of whom was Blue Swan.

I must have contacted them via email, and wrote the following…

The duo consists of Henrik Jürgensen, 31, the vocalist and a soon-to-be qualified accountant, and Kasper Lauest, 30, who is the producer and also a psychologist (in the band?) They have been producing music since late 1999, when they met on the first Pet Shop Boys internet forum at Dotmusic, discovering by chance that they had gone to the same high school, one class apart, so they decided to meet up.

They listened to each other’s music, and both liked what they heard. When they heard about the Pet Shop Boys fan tribute project Attribute, they decided to record a cover of A New Life. They liked the result, so continued working together. They continue the story:

Last August, we released our first “virtual” album Sinister But Fragile. The track Black Widow was supposed to have been recorded by a famous Danish artist for her international debut album, but the deal fell through.

They are situated around Copenhagen, Denmark. All of their songs are recorded in their home studio in Kasper’s house. They write their songs together, sometimes in collaboration with Kasper’s younger brother Jakob.

The track Black Widow was done as an instrumental entitled Brutal, written by Kasper and his brother. When Henrik heard it, he absolutely loved it and wrote the lyrics and melody line on top of it. All synth sounds on Black Widow were made using an Access Virus C, while the beat was programmed using Reason 2.5.

Their virtual album Sinister But Fragile can be heard and downloaded in its entirety for free at (a website which no longer exists).

Their favourite band is the Pet Shop Boys, and Kasper’s favourite TV show is 24.

If you’re wondering, the other unsigned act we featured on the show was Subculture, but my only notes for them read as follows:

  • “Trash pop”
  • New Order
  • The Human League
  • David Bowie
  • OMD
  • Suede
  • Ladytron

Ross (vocals), Mace (synth), Matt (guitar), and Julia (bass).

You can read our most recent feature on Blue Swan here. If you’re unsigned and want some coverage, please get in touch using the form on the “Are You Unsigned” page.