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The Soundblab Awards

by Rich Morris Rating: Release Date:

It's the Soundblab Awards

So the results are in, the winners have been chosen and a certain publication has spunked most of its budget for the year on a tawdry celebration of commercial rock in front of braying celebs. How was it for you? Were you left with a churning sense of injustice? Or did you just check out the results, make a 'pffft!' noise and get on with your day? Which ever way you slice it, The Brits and The NME Awards were pretty depressing affairs this year. Of course, in the case of The Brits, no one can really claim to be surprised at the total, crushing AOR-ness of the results. But for those who still feel the NMEshould be the home of new and innovative music - well, it seems 'new and innovative' now means the yobby bloke rock of Kasabian. Please amend your records accordingly.

But enough about all that. What, I hear you cry, about the results of Soundblab's own awards? Well, my dears, we've kept you waiting long enough. The votes have been tabulated and now all you have to do is swivel your eyes downward to reveal the results of Soundblab's first awards, covering the very best and the very worst of the last 12 months in this wonderful world of pop, as voted for by our members.

Best Album: Fever Ray - Fever Ray

Karin Andersson's debut solo record made a big impression and it's not hard to see why: this album is full of mystery, dread and wonder, powerfully communicated through Andersson's use of organically humming synth-scapes and her own wailing, dispossessed vocals.

Runners up: Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavilion, Jarvis Cocker - Further Complications, Bat for Lashes - Two Suns

Best Single: Yeah Yeah Yeahs - 'Zero'

It's parent album, the synth-heavy It's Blitz!, may not have sold like its predecessors, but 'Zero' was irresistible from the first time you heard it, full of fireworks and sparkle, with the divine Ms O turning a song about self-doubt into the most joyously affirming thing you've ever heard.

Runners up: The Horrors - 'Sea within a Sea', Animal Collective - 'My Girls', Girls - 'Lust for Life'

Best Band: Yeah Yeah Yeahs

All of the above, but stretched across three albums, two incendiary EPs, and almost a decade of punk attitude, fearless genre-hopping, fabulous costume changes and some awesome rock'n'roll. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

Runners up: The Horrors, Magnetic Fields, Empire of the Sun

Best Solo Artist: Fever Ray

She's now rejoined her brother Olof in The Knife to release the brilliantly bonkers Tomorrow, In a Year, an opera based on the life and work of Charles Darwin, but plenty of music fans will hope we haven't seen the last of Karin Andersson's dark and enchanting alter ego.

Runners up: Ladyhawke, Jay Reatard, Micachu

Best Video: Jarvis Cocker - 'Further Complications'

Our Jarv has always had a penchant for a spot of physical comedy but he really out does himself in this witty Stephanie Di Giusto-directed video, in which Jarv flails and bends his bandy limbs into a series of contortions as he recreates the sleeve art for 'Further Complications' parent album… with hilarious results.

Runners up: Yeah Yeah Yeahs - 'Heads Will Roll', Girls - 'Lust for Life', Lily Allen - 'Not Fair'

Best Album Artwork: Jarvis Cocker - Further Complications

Just like the video, except you can hold it in your hands.

Runners up: Julian Casablancas - Phrazes for the young, Little Dragon - Machine Dreams, Jim O'Rourke - The Visitor

Worst Album: Muse - The Resistance

Muse have been around for a good ten years now and have made a point of releasing a seemingly endless string of utterly dreadful albums, of which The Resistanceis but the latest. A more deserving winner would be hard to find.

Runners up: Jonas Brothers - Lines, Vines and Trying Times, Mika - The Boy Who Knew Too Much, U2 - No Line on the Horizon

Worst Single: Muse - 'Uprising'

What is the vital component which makes 'Uprising' just about the worst thing you've ever heard? Is it Matt Bellamy's peeled cat yowling? Is it the crushing pretention in the way Muse deliver what basically sounds like 80s euro-pop act A-Ha if they turned to Satanism? Is it that fact that, beneath all the bluster, 'Uprising' is just drive time rock for people who like to kid themselves they don't like drive time rock? Whatever, 'Uprising' is enough to make you hate your own ears.

Runners up: Joe McElderry - 'The Climb', Black Eyed Peas - 'Boom Boom Pow', Mika - 'We Are Golden'

Worst Band: Muse

For all of the above, compounded by the knowledge that they'll be back to inflict more of the same on us in couple of years.

Runners up: Placebo, Jonas Brothers, Black Eyed Peas

Best Dressed: Lady Gaga

Sigh. Soundblab isn't happy about this, but - if we're really forced to - we will admit that watching Gaga turn up at every showbiz event in the last year dressed, variously, as a strawberry flavour condom, an avant-garde deconstruction of IKEA furniture and a piece of military hardware has, at the very least, been entertaining.

Runners up: Jarvis Cocker, Julian Casablancas, Bat for Lashes

Worst Dressed: Lady Gaga

On the other hand, sometimes a pop star with high-concept pretentions dressed up like a massive dick… just looks like a massive dick.

Runners up: Matt Bellamy, Lostprophets, Mumford and Sons

Best Newcomer: The Drums

These Brooklyn boys put a song in our hearts with their perfect crossbreeding of The Smiths, The Cure and the soundtracks to every 80s John Hughes film, while simultaneously dethroning Vampire Weekend form their title as Preppiest Looking Brooklyn Band. Once summer rolls around, they're gonna sound even better.

Runners up: The XX, Girls, Pains of Being Pure at Heart

Legend Award: Jarvis Cocker

Timely, since his spearheading of the campaign to save 6 Music has reminded the general public why JC is a national treasure. But that's just the cherry on the cake. Jarvis deserves Legend status because he's never compromised his desire to make great pervy-minded pop music coupled with simmering working class resentment and somehow make it funny and loveable. Because he's the one of greatest lyricists in British music. He's also the one of the greatest dancers: watching Jarvis strut his stuff is like watching Sesame Street's Big Bird possessed by the spirit of Prince. Because he waggled his bum at Michael Jackson all those years ago - one of the most punk things any pop star has ever done. Because he was literally the only person to emerge from Britpop with any dignity. Because he dresses like an Open University professor from 1973 but manages to ooze the kind of sex appeal Justin Timberlake can only dream of. Because he recorded a disco song with Steve Albini last year and it was completely amazing. For all these reasons, and more, Jarvis Cocker is a bona fide Legend. Jarvis, we salute you. With slightly floppy wrists and a comedy pout on our lips.

Runners up: Echo & The Bunnymen, Patti Smith, Karen O

Best Floor Filler: Yeah Yeah Yeahs - 'Zero'

From the moment Karen O advises you to get your leather, leather, leather on, what fool would even attempt to resist the tangible pull towards dancefloor Heaven that this song exerts? 'Zero' is Yeah Yeah Yeahs' undisputed moment of disco glory.

Runners up: Dizzee Rascal - 'Bonkers', Yeah Yeah Yeahs - 'Heads Will Roll'

Best Live Act: Jarvis Cocker

The album might not have set the charts alight, but his Further Complicationstour saw Jarvis bring his inimitable performance style to the faithful. Part rock show, part standup routine: no one can command an audience quite like Jarvis. The only man who can sing a song with his head between his legs and still look cool.

Runners up: King Khan and the Shrines, The Slits, Fever Ray

Best Website: Soundblab

Aw shucks, guys.

Runners up: mychemicaltoilet.com, theknife.net, guardian.co.uk

Richard Morris

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