Best Of... 2003

As 2004 approaches, it seems a good time to remember what was good in the year of music 2003 and what there will be to look forward to in 2004.

Singles of 2003

There are bound to be a few I've missed but here goes...

Ambershades - Clap Clap Clap
British Sea Power - Remember Me
Broken Dolls - Rock 'n' Roll
The Coral - Bill McCai
The Coral - Pass It On
The Darkness - Growing On Me
The Darkness - I Believe In A Thing Called Love
Delays - Hey Girl
Elbow - Fallen Angel
Feeder - Forget About Tomorrow
Franz Ferdinand - Darts of Pleasure
Hot Hot Heat - No Not Now
Jeevas - Once Upon A Time In America
Keane - Everybody's Changing
Keane - This Is The Last Time
The Libertines - Don't Look Back Into The Sun
Polyphonic Spree - Soldier Girl
The Relict - Along The Avenue
Rilo Kiley - Paint's Peeling
The Revs - Loaded
Snow Patrol - Spitting Games
Stellastarr* - Jenny
The Thrills - Big Sur
The Thrills - One Horse Town
The Veils - More Heat Than Light
White Stripes - Seven Nation Army

Albums of 2003

1. British Sea Power - The Decline of British Sea Power
Not a year for classic albums, but without question the two most outstanding albums of the year were by British Sea Power and Snow Patrol. Not overly exciting and not immediate (apart from Remember Me), just a solid debut from BSP that drags and pulls you in the more you listen. That may sound like I'm underselling it a little, but look - it's number 1! Something I won't undersell is their live show, make sure you see them.

2. Snow Patrol - Final Straw
Snow Patrol have been around the indie/rock scene for a fair few years, recording two decent enough albums that were good, but never captured my imagination. Final Straw, however, was when Snow Patrol became anthemic and polished, with a cleaner, more refined sound which suits them well and rewards the listener. While easily the best of their 3 albums, there is still room for improvement and perhaps the next album will see Snow Patrol take another step forward and attract more widespread attention from the media.

A quick scan through my CD collection and every other 2003 album I remember buying this year is here in some sort of order, ask me again in a week and it would probably change...

3. White Stripes - Elephant
4. The Reindeer Section - Son of Evil Reindeer
5. Alfie - Do You Imagine Things?
6. Lowgold - Welcome To Winners
7. The Dent - Farewell
8. Elbow - Cast of Thousands
9. The Coral - Magic and Medicine
10. Fountains of Wayne - Welcome Interstate Managers
11. Nu - Alpha Bravo Shockpop Disco!
12. The Relict - Tomorrow Is Again
13. Brendan Benson - Lapalco
14. Mostly Autumn - Passengers
15. The Darkness - Permission To Land
16. The Shins - Chutes Too Narrow
17. The Bluetones - Luxembourg
18. The Webb Brothers - The Webb Brothers
19. The Thrills - So Much For The City
20. The Dandy Warhols - Welcome to the Monkey House
21. Cosmic Rough Riders - Too Close To See Far
22. Broken Social Scene - You Forgot It In People
23. Hot Hot Heat - Make Up The Breakdown
24. The Rain Band - The Rain Band

Bands you may not have heard of now, but you may come the end of 2004!

1. Keane.
In Everbody's Changing, they've possibly released their best single already - a song that wouldn't sound out of place at number 1.
Prediction: Singles top 10, Album top 5

2. Franz Ferdinand.
While they seem to sound a bit patchy live, I absolutely loved their debut single, Darts of Pleasure, as soon as I heard it.
Prediction: Singles top 20, Album top 5

3. Delays.
Hey Girl crept inside the top 40, a bit of momentum seems to be developing behind Delays which should see them growing in popularity. As retro is in, who knows?
Prediction: Singles top 30, Album top 20

4. The Ordinary Boys.
An energetic live act, they need a bit more material but if it gets the airplay, Maybe Someday could be one of the singles of 2004...
Prediction: Singles top 20, Album top 15

5. The Stills.
If the 4-track Logic Will Break Your Heart album promo is anything to go by, their debut album could be something.
Prediction: Singles top 30, Album top 20

6. The Revs.
Four or five singles now, in Loaded and Death of A DJ The Revs have released two great songs already. Full album to follow?
Prediction: Singles top 40, Album ?

7. Easyworld.
I don't know why, but I have a feeling that 2004 could see an upturn in fortunes for Easyworld, when instead of the "just made the top 40" tag, it'll be "comfortably made the top 40."
Prediction: Single top 20, Album top 15

8. Mostly Autumn.
They won't make the charts (because they're prog-rock), but momentum is building up behind this group of skilled musicians who have recently signed to a larger record label. The number of people turning up at Mostly Autumn gigs is increasing tour by tour.

And here's one for 2005!

The Tonics.
Honed their craft rehearsing for 9 months before they even played a gig, these guys have the talent & ambition to make it, and the attitude to have a good go. Their first few songs are great, and if they keep that going they'll have a classic album's worth of material in no time! Have a familiar sound, but a sound all of their own. One of the positives is it's difficult to pigeon-hole them, but if I was pushed I'd say upbeat The Coral, melodic like Fountains of Wayne (who has heard of them anyway!?), The Strokes and perhaps a tinge of Oasis and The Beatles about them.

Christmas Time!

As I'm writing this page at Christmas, here are 3 decent Christmas tunes I've been getting into the spirit with...

1. Fountains of Wayne - I Want An Alien For Christmas
2. The Celebrity Squares - All I Want For Xmas
3. Fountains of Wayne - The Man In The Santa Suit

The best albums by bands who only made one album...

1. Warm Jets - Future Signs
2. Honeycrack - Prozaic
3. Jupiter Day
4. The Seahorses - Do It Yourself
5. The La's

The greatest songs of all time Only 3 tracks have made it so far...

1. Superdrag The Art of Dying A song about the Egyptian curse of Hatchepsut. Lush strings, a sitar and backward guitar solos contribute. Sounds even better through headphones.
2. Fountains of Wayne Troubled Times Fountains of Wayne record an all-time classic that just happens to be their lowest-selling British single!
3. Mosly Autumn Shrinking Violet A magical song about a faerie, must be heard live when Heather Findlay's powerful vocals send the song soaring.

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This page was last modified on Sunday December 21st, 2003