1. Lily Allen. For releasing a great debut album, for being surprisingly good live, and for being a proper pop star (and yes, that includes dissing other people – especially those that deserve it, like the NME.). Someone who appeals to pop fans, indie kids and tabloid newspapers in equal measure. Not many of those around.
2. Tilly and the Wall. For creating wonderfully euphoric pop music, for their brilliant, all- singing, all-tap-dancing live shows, which were always a pleasure to be at this year. And for being just generally lovely.
3. Danielson. It’s always good to get into a band when they’ve already been going for a while. Then you can explore their back catalogue, as well as their more recent stuff. Daniel Smith’s latest venture, Ships, was my album of the year. The Danielson Family Movie was interesting and enjoyable, and their live show lived up to all expectations. I’ve listened to them so much now that I don’t even consider them to be an acquired taste!
4. Sufjan Stevens. Although there was no ‘proper’ album for Sufjan this year, it wasn’t a quiet one. There was a compilation of offcuts from Illinoise, which managed to be better than most other people’s main efforts, and another recording to add to the canon of definitive Christmas albums. Oh, and the amazing live show. Is there anything this guy can’t do well?
5. Emmy the Great. In the age of myspace it’s unusual to see an artist live who you know nothing about, yet that was the case when the small woman with the amazing voice stepped up to support Tilly and the Wall in February. I found out who she was the next day, and ever since I’ve loved her wonderful folk-pop tales. And I think I’ve seen her play more than any other artist this year.
6. Jeremy Warmsley. Friend of Emmy’s and another welcome ‘discovery’ for me this year, this annoyingly talented guy produced an album of impressive range and depth and always managed to deliver the goods live, whether solo or with a band. Hopefully 2007 will see him getting the recognition he deserves.
7. Richard Hawley. No new stuff from the
8. TV on the Radio. Not only for their great album Return to