I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of previewing Little Boots‘s latest releases, and fortunately she’s fairly prolific. She’s back now with her new EP, Jump, from which this is Secret:
The countdown of the year always features a few things that we missed at the time – this one appears to have only been released on cassette, which is a pretty good reason to have missed it if so. From Little Boots and planningtorock, this is the lovely Eros:
Between 2009 and 2011, the NME Awards were still clinging onto their rock obsession, but started to have a few interesting nominees.
Shockwaves NME Awards 2009
Hosted at the Brixton Academy on 25 February 2009, by Mark Watson.
- Godlike Genius Award: The Cure
- Outstanding Contribution to Music: Elbow
- Best British Band supported by Shockwaves: Oasis. Also nominated: Bloc Party, The Last Shadow Puppets, Muse, Radiohead
- Best International Band supported by 4music: The Killers. Also nominated: Crystal Castles, Kings of Leon, MGMT, Vampire Weekend
- Best Solo Artist: Pete Doherty. Also nominated: Ladyhawke, Laura Marling, Lightspeed Champion, Jay-Z
- Best Live Band supported by Red Stripe: Muse. Also nominated: The Killers, Kings of Leon, Oasis, Radiohead
- Best New Band supported by Bench: MGMT. Also nominated: Glasvegas, Late of the Pier, Vampire Weekend, White Lies
- Best Album supported by HMV: Kings of Leon, for Only by the Night. Also nominated: Bloc Party, for Intimacy, Glasvegas, for Glasvegas, The Killers, for Day & Age, Oasis, for Dig Out Your Soul
- Best Track supported by NME Radio: MGMT, for Time to Pretend. Also nominated: Kings of Leon, for Sex on Fire, The Last Shadow Puppets, for The Age of the Understatement, The Ting Tings, for That’s Not My Name, Vampire Weekend, for A-Punk
- Best Dancefloor Filler: Dizzee Rascal and Calvin Harris, for Dance Wiv Me. Also nominated: Bloc Party, for Mercury, Crystal Castles, for Courtship Dating, Friendly Fires, for Paris, Late of the Pier, for Bathroom Gurgle
- Best Video supported by NME TV: The Last Shadow Puppets, for My Mistakes Were Made For You. Also nominated: Late of the Pier, for Heartbreak, Oasis, for The Shock of the Lightning, Radiohead, for House of Cards, Vampire Weekend, for A-Punk
- Best DVD: Arctic Monkeys, for Live at the Apollo. Also nominated: Foo Fighters, for Live at Wembley Stadium, Kaiser Chiefs, for Live at Elland Road, Muse, for HAARP, The Rolling Stones, for Shine a Light
- Best Live Event: Glastonbury Festival. Also nominated: Isle of Wight, Reading and Leeds, T in the Park, V Festival
- Best TV Show: The Mighty Boosh. Also nominated: Gavin and Stacey, The IT Crowd, Never Mind the Buzzcocks, Skins
- Worst TV Show: Big Brother
- Best Film: [not stated]. Nominated: The Dark Knight, Juno, Quantum of Solace, Twilight, Wall-E
- Hero of the Year: Barack Obama. Also nominated: Alex Turner, Brandon Flowers, Noel Fielding, Noel Gallagher
- Villain of the Year: George W. Bush. Also nominated: Amy Winehouse, Gordon Brown, John McCain, Pete Doherty
- Best Dressed: Alexa Chung. Also nominated: Alex Turner, Brandon Flowers, Noel Fielding, Noel Gallagher
- Worst Dressed: Amy Winehouse. Also nominated: Brandon Flowers, Johnny Borrell, Katy Perry, Pete Doherty
- Best Website: YouTube. Also nominated: Bebo, Facebook, Last FM, MySpace
- Best Venue: London Astoria. Also nominated: Brixton Academy, Manchester Apollo, Glasgow Barrowlands, London O2 Arena
- Worst Album: Jonas Brothers, for A Little Bit Longer. Also nominated: Britney Spears, for Circus, Coldplay, for Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends, Razorlight, for Slipway Fires, Scouting for Girls, for Scouting for Girls
- Worst Band: Jonas Brothers. Also nominated: Fall Out Boy, Oasis, Scouting for Girls, Tokio Hotel
- Sexiest Man: Matt Bellamy. Also nominated: Carl Barat, Keith Murray, Miles Kane, Pete Doherty
- Sexiest Woman: Hayley Williams. Also nominated: Alison Mosshart, Kate Jackson, Lykke Li, Stephanie Dosen
- Best Album Artwork: Muse, for HAARP. Also nominated: The Cure, for 4:13 Dream, Guillemots, for Red, The Killers, for Day and Age, We Are Scientists, for Brain Thrust Mastery
- Best Band Blog: Noel Gallagher / Oasis. Also nominated: Foals, Lightspeed Champion, Little Boots, Radiohead
- Philip Hall Radar Award: The Big Pink
Shockwaves NME Awards 2010
The awards took place at the Brixton Academy on 24 February 2010, and were hosted by Jarvis Cocker, with performances by Kasabian with Noel Fielding, The Specials, Biffy Clyro featuring Marina Diamandis, The Big Pink with Lily Allen.
- Godlike Genius Award: Paul Weller
- Outstanding Contribution to Music: The Specials
- Best British Band: Muse. Also nominated: Arctic Monkeys, Biffy Clyro, Kasabian, Oasis
- Best International Band: Paramore. Also nominated: Green Day, Kings Of Leon, Vampire Weekend, Yeah Yeah Yeahs
- Best Solo Artist: Jamie T. Also nominated: Dizzee Rascal, Florence And The Machine, Julian Casablancas, Lady Gaga
- Best New Band: Bombay Bicycle Club. Also nominated: The Big Pink, Mumford & Sons, The xx, La Roux
- Best Live Band: Arctic Monkeys. Also nominated: Kasabian, Muse, Radiohead, Them Crooked Vultures
- Best Album: Kasabian, for West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum. Also nominated: Arctic Monkeys, for Humbug, Muse, for The Resistance, The Cribs, for Ignore The Ignorant, The Horrors, for Primary Colours
- Best Track: The Big Pink, for Dominos. Also nominated: Animal Collective, for My Girls, Arctic Monkeys, for Crying Lightning, Florence + The Machine, for Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up), Jamie T, for Sticks N’ Stones
- Best Video: Biffy Clyro, for The Captain. Also nominated: Arctic Monkeys, for Cornerstone, Kasabian, for Fire, The Maccabees, for Can You Give It, Oasis, for Falling Down
- Best Live Event: Blur at Hyde Park. Also nominated: Jay-Z at Alexandra Palace, Muse at Teignmouth, Oasis at Heaton Park, The Dead Weather at Shoreditch Church
- Best Festival: Glastonbury Festival. Also nominated: Download, Reading and Leeds Festivals, T In The Park, V Festival
- Best TV Show: The Inbetweeners. Also nominated: Never Mind The Buzzcocks, Peep Show, Skins, True Blood
- Best Film: Inglourious Basterds. Also nominated: (500) Days Of Summer, In The Loop, The Twilight Saga: New Moon, Where The Wild Things Are
- Best Dancefloor Filler: La Roux, for In for the Kill (Skream Remix). Also nominated: Dizzee Rascal and Armand Van Helden, for Bonkers, Florence + The Machine, for You’ve Got The Love, Lady Gaga, for Poker Face, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, for Zero
- Best DVD: The Mighty Boosh Live – Future Sailors Tour. Also nominated: Kings Of Leon, for Live At The The O2 Arena, Flight Of The Conchords, for Complete HBO Second Season, The Killers, for Live From The Royal Albert Hall, Nirvana, for Live At Reading
- Hero of the Year: Rage Against The Machine. Also nominated: Beyoncé, Noel Gallagher, Matt Bellamy, Alex Turner
- Villain of the Year: Kanye West. Also nominated: Noel Gallagher, Liam Gallagher, Simon Cowell, Lady Gaga
- Best Dressed: Lady Gaga. Also nominated: Liam Gallagher, Noel Fielding, Florence Welch, Karen O
- Worst Dressed: Lady Gaga. Also nominated: Matt Bellamy, Katy Perry, Liam Gallagher, Elly Jackson (La Roux)
- Worst Album: Jonas Brothers, for Lines, Vines and Trying Times. Also nominated: Green Day, for 21st Century Breakdown, Lady Gaga, for The Fame, U2, for No Line On The Horizon, Arctic Monkeys, for Humbug
- Worst Band: Jonas Brothers. Also nominated: Green Day, Oasis, Paramore
- Hottest Man: Matt Bellamy (Muse)
- Hottest Woman: Karen O (Yeah Yeah Yeahs)
- Best Website: Muse.mu. Also nominated: YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, GreenDay.com
- Best Album Artwork: Kasabian, for West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum. Also nominated: Muse, for The Resistance, Green Day, for 21st Century Breakdown, The Cribs, for Ignore The Ignorant, Manic Street Preachers, for Journal For Plague Lovers
- Best Band Blog: Radiohead (Radiohead.com/deadairspace). Also nominated: Muse (Muse.mu and Twitter.com/muse), Noel Gallagher (Oasisinet.com), Los Campesinos! (Loscampesinos.com), Paramore (Paramore.net)
- Giving It Back Fan Award: Lily Allen, for her Twitter ticket treasure hunt. Also nominated: Kasabian and Noel Fielding for free Vlad The Impaler video, Danger Mouse for leaking Dark Night Of The Soul, Arctic Monkeys for their Oxfam golden tickets, Vampire Weekend for giving away Horchata from the album Contra
- Phillip Hall Radar Award: The Drums
Shockwaves NME Awards 2011
Hosted by Angelos Epithemiou at the Brixton Academy on 23 February 2011. Performances by My Chemical Romance, Hurts, PJ Harvey, Crystal Castles, and Foo Fighters.
- Godlike Genius Award: Dave Grohl
- John Peel Award for Innovation: Crystal Castles
- Philip Hall Radar Award: The Naked and Famous
- Outstanding Contribution to Music: PJ Harvey
- Best British Band: Muse. Nominated: Arctic Monkeys, Biffy Clyro, Foals, Kasabian
- Best International Band: My Chemical Romance. Nominated: Arcade Fire, Kings Of Leon, The Drums, Vampire Weekend
- Best Solo Artist: Laura Marling. Nominated: Florence Welch, Frank Turner, Kanye West, Paul Weller
- Best New Band: Hurts. Nominated: Beady Eye, Everything Everything, The Drums, Two Door Cinema Club
- Best Live Band: Biffy Clyro. Nominated: Arcade Fire, Foals, Kasabian, Muse
- Best Album: Arcade Fire, for The Suburbs. Nominated: Crystal Castles, for Crystal Castles II, Foals, for Total Life Forever, My Chemical Romance, for Danger Days: The True Lives Of The Fabulous Killjoys, Two Door Cinema Club, for Tourist History
- Best Track: Foals, for Spanish Sahara. Nominated: Cee Lo Green, for Fuck You, Gorillaz, for Stylo, Janelle Monae feat. Big Boi, for Tightrope, Mark Ronson & The Business Intl., for Bang Bang Bang
- Best Video: My Chemical Romance, for Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na). Nominated: Arcade Fire, for We Used To Wait, Brandon Flowers, for Crossfire, Chase & Status, for Let You Go, Gorillaz, for Stylo
- Best Festival: Glastonbury. Nominated: Download, Reading And Leeds Festivals, T In The Park, V Festival
- Best TV Show: Skins. Nominated: Misfits, Never Mind The Buzzcocks, Peep Show, The Inbetweeners
- Best Film: Inception. Nominated: Get Him To The Greek, Kick-Ass, Scott Pilgrim Vs The World, The Social Network
- Best Dancefloor Filler: Professor Green, for Jungle. Nominated: Crystal Castles, for Baptism, Kele, for Tenderoni, Plan B, for Stay Too Long, Tinie Tempah, for Pass Out
- Hero of the Year: Lady Gaga. Nominated: Gerard Way, Julian Assange, Kanye West
- Villain of the Year: David Cameron. Nominated: Axl Rose, Justin Bieber, Nick Clegg, Simon Cowell
- Most Stylish: Brandon Flowers. Nominated: Hayley Williams, Lady Gaga, Liam Gallagher, Noel Fielding
- Least Stylish: Justin Bieber. Nominated: Cheryl Cole, Ke$ha, Lady Gaga, Liam Gallagher
- Worst Album: Justin Bieber, for My World. Nominated: Cheryl Cole, for Messy Little Raindrops, Katy Perry, for Teenage Dream, Kings Of Leon, for Come Around Sundown, My Chemical Romance, for Danger Days: The True Lives Of The Fabulous Killjoys
- Worst Band: Jonas Brothers. Nominated: 30 Seconds To Mars, JLS, Kings Of Leon, Tokio Hotel
- Hottest Man: Matt Bellamy. Nominated: Alex Turner, Billie Joe Armstrong, Dominic Howard, Jared Leto
- Hottest Woman: Alison Mosshart. Nominated: Emily Haines, Hayley Williams, Lady Gaga, Shakira
- Best Album Artwork: Klaxons, for Surfing The Void. Nominated: Foals, for Total Life Forever, Gorillaz, for Plastic Beach, MGMT, for Congratulations, My Chemical Romance, for Danger Days: The True Lives Of The Fabulous Killjoys
- Best Band Blog or Twitter: Hayley Williams. Nominated: Frank Turner, Kanye West, Lily Allen, Theo Hutchcraft
- Best Book: John Lydon, for Mr Rotten’s Scrapbook. Nominated: Carl Barât, for Threepenny Memoir, Jay-Z, for Decoded, Keith Richards, for Life, Russell Brand, My Booky Wook 2
- Best Small Festival (50,000 capacity or lower): RockNess. Nominated: Bestival, Kendal Calling, Latitude, Underage Festival
- NME Awards on Wikipedia
- A History of the NME Awards 1953-2010
- Shockwaves NME Awards 2009 – Nominations
- Shockwaves NME Awards 2009 – Winners
- NME Awards 2010 – Nominations and Winners
- NME Awards 2011 – Nominations and Winners
Time for another selection of reviews that you might have missed in the last year or two.
- Depeche Mode – Playing the Angel
- Faithless – Outrospective
- Heaven 17 – Before After
- Jean-Michel Jarre – Electronica 2: The Heart of Noise
- Leftfield – Alternative Light Source
- Little Boots – Nocturnes
- New Order – Power, Corruption and Lies
- Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark – Crush
- Robert Miles – Dreamland
- Yazoo – Upstairs at Eric’s
You can also see Vol. 10 here.
Oooh, Little Boots is back, with the Burn EP, and she’s changed direction a bit. This is Shadows, featuring Joyce Muniz.
I don’t know, you wait eight years for a new Jean-Michel Jarre album, and then three turn up at once. Sorry, I know that’s an obvious thing to say, but it is amusingly apposite. The fun but definitely questionable Téo & Téa (2007) left a slightly iffy taste in a lot of people’s mouths, and apart from the re-recorded and questionably legal version of Oxygène that followed the same year, there was then an extended silence until 2015.
What he was doing, it turns out, was working with every other electronic musician under the sun to create a two volume album, Electronica. The first opens with the sweet title track The Time Machine, with Boys Noize, and then comes one of the opening singles, Glory, with M83. So far, so pleasant.
Both of these albums have been criticised for being a bit disjointed, which, while not entirely unfair, seems a bit of an odd thing to say – of course they are, they’re effectively compilations of collaborations. But the sequence is generally logical, and there isn’t really anything particularly bad on here, so it’s hard to be too critical.
Fellow French musicians Air turn up next, for Close Your Eyes. Some tracks seem to have a lot more of Jarre, and others have a lot more of his collaborators on them, and in general, this one ends up sounding like Air might if they employed Jarre as a producer. That is to say, pretty good.
The first time you can really call something here “brilliant” is on the two parts of Automatic, both collaborations with Vince Clarke. For Clarke, this sounds a lot like his recent solo and collaborative electronic projects, but Jarre’s influence is clearly audible here too, particularly in Part 2, and both halves of the track really are excellent.
The increasingly great Little Boots turns up next, pretty much the only musician other than Jarre to make the laser harp part of their live show, and their collaboration is If..! (yes, two dots). While it’s certainly true that Jarre did something on this one, it’s difficult to know exactly what, but it’s a great song nonetheless.
They keep coming – Immortals, with Fuck Buttons, is an excellent meeting of minds, and while Suns Have Gone with Moby may not be the high point of either artist’s career, you have to be glad that it happened.
It is undeniably an odd list of collaborators though – which is not to say that Gesaffelstein shouldn’t be here – after all, why not? Few might put him in their top thirty living artists of all time list, but the resulting track Conquistador is pretty good. This isn’t so true of Travelator (Part 2) (there doesn’t appear to be a part 1), with Pete Townshend, which I’m not convinced does the legacy of either great musician any particular favours.
That isn’t true of what is apparently Edgar Froese‘s last recorded work, Zero Gravity, which after so many decades finally brings us the joint credit of Jean-Michel Jarre and Tangerine Dream, and it’s ever bit as excellent as it should be. It’s also nice to see Jarre revisiting his earlier musical partner Laurie Anderson for the decidedly odd Rely on Me.
Where these two albums both go a little astray for me is with the number of tracks – they’re varied, but after thirteen pieces of music and with no end in sight, you’re always going to be a little weary. Towards the end of the first volume, we get a fun trance excursion with Armin van Buuren, Stardust, followed by the weirdly dubby Watching You, with 3D from Massive Attack.
Right at the end, John Carpenter turns up for the appropriately creepy A Question of Blood, and finally pianist Lang Lang accompanies an atmospheric piece on album closer The Train & The River. It’s a long, varied, and complex album, but in general it stands well on its own, and if you consider yourself a fan of any sort of electronic music, you should probably be a fan of this.
You can find part 1 of the Electronica project at all major retailers.
Three albums in, Little Boots is clearly brilliant. Actually, she was brilliant from the start, but with her third album Working Girl there really isn’t a lot you can criticise.
After a brief telephone Intro, the first song is the title track. It’s catchy, with a bouncy beat behind it, and a maturity that really ought to be very appealing. Unfortunately, each of Little Boots‘s releases has performed slightly worse than its predecessor, so while it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that this single failed to chart, the album’s low-end peak is definitely a disappointment.
The bouncy underground beats continue with No Pressure, which, like some of her earlier works, suffers a little in the verse, but builds into a great chorus. It still went down very well when she performed live, as did the next track Get Things Done.
The theme on this album is one of retro 1980s business, so Get Things Done sounds – I think intentionally – like the slogan of some kind of delivery company, a device which also frames a great song.
There are a few less memorable moments on here, and Taste It is one of those, although it shares a writing credit with one of Simian Mobile Disco, so it really should have been great. Real Girl is better, but probably not something you’ll be singing to yourself after the album finishes. Heroine will stick with you a little longer, and it has a bit of a melancholic disco sound, which makes it stand out somewhat too.
Things go a whole lot more disco with The Game, and then comes the plodding but surprisingly beautiful Help Too. By this stage in the album, in spite of a few ups and downs, it should be firmly lodged in your mind as a good one. In fact, while it doesn’t include Remedy or New in Town, it could be even better than either of its predecessors.
In a way, the oddest thing here is how consistent the production is – every track has a different producer, and on Business Pleasure it is the turn of the brilliantly named Com Truise to turn up, co-write, and turn the knobs. The result is one of the better tracks on here, and that’s also true for Paradise, which has a brilliantly epic feel to it as well as a certain simplicity which works extremely well.
There’s nothing epic about Better in the Morning – the simplicity is key to this track, but it’s also charming and quite brilliant. It doesn’t quite have a melody, and that would normally be a turn-off for me, but somehow this is different. And placing it right at the end is clearly genius – you’ll be chanting this one for weeks.
So Little Boots‘s third outing might have a few low points, but for the most part it’s another great pop album – possibly greater than anything she’s released before. If you can grab a copy that includes the bonus track Desire, that’s well worth having too.
You can find Working Girl at all major retailers.