Wild Beasts


"I discovered Wild Beasts on their second record, Two Dancers, but was completely absorbed in it for months. So when I first heard Smother, I was disappointed. There didn't seem to be any standout tracks. But on the third listen, it suddenly made sense: the dark arpeggiating tones and sweet falsetto melodies. It's a brilliant album from start to finish, with some real highlights such as Albatross and Plaything. Often, I'll find a counter melody that I hadn't noticed before, which is a very inspiring, intimidating feeling."Frankie Francis (vocalist, Frankie and the Heartstrings)

PJ Harvey

Let England Shake

"This defines its time. It's not explicitly about a contemporary war, but when I first heard it, it reminded me that there is still active conflict going on in Afghanistan. Musically, it's very now. There's a folk revival going on, but PJ glides above it and creates something so unique and authentic - creepy, sexy and goofy like great English folk can be - that everything else just looks imitation. As someone who has borrowed from folk influences, this is of a different class. In fact, I'd like to tell her she's classy. PJ Harvey, you are classy." Emma-Lee Moss (Emmy the Great)



"I was in a record store in New York when this came on and I bought it there and then. It's dubstep, but with a really soulful feel. He [Aaron Jerome] wears this enormous mask. I met him and he said he used to work in a record store and listened to boogie and soul music for five years, and you can hear that. You can tell the vocalists are British, and the tracks work equally well at home or on the dancefloorMy favourite track is Wildfire, with Yukimi Nagano from Little DragonHer voice is just amazing. The lyrics are vague and abstract. I like that, because you can give them your own meanings." Katy B

Gold Panda

Lucky Shiner

"It's the kind of album that should give bedroom producers a good name. Tracks like Quitters Raga sit somewhere between early Caribou and good Timbaland. He could really benefit from the prize." Joseph Mount (vocalist, Metronomy)



"I've played this more than anything else this year. I admire Aaron [Jerome, producer], a musician coming from an electronic background, writing what is fundamentally a pop record without compromising any edge along the way. Tracks like Wildfire, Something Goes Right and Pharaohs are my standouts."Ed McFarlane (vocalist, Friendly Fires)


The King of Limbs

"Radiohead have set a high benchmark for themselves. I can't imagine how boring it must be waiting for the inevitable "It's not as good as Kid A" comments each time you release a record. The King of Limbs feels relaxed and comfortable, but in a good way. There are moments of real beauty on this record: when the trumpets come in on Codex, and the backing vocals on Give Up the Ghost. It's as engaging and hypnotic as anything released this year, even if the band didn't particularly stretch themselves in the process. You don't have to go through childbirth to validate something you're presenting to an audience." Faris Badwan (vocalist, the Horrors and Cat's Eyes)

Erland and the Carnival


"They are really doing something new. I don't know why they haven't got the props they deserve, maybe because they're ahead of the game. But they're brilliant." Paul Weller

Wild Beasts


"Our collective favourite British record of the last 12 months. The pacing and atmosphere are incredible. It's soft but somehow relentless, the climax of Loop the Loop being a fine example. The arpeggiated organ parts work discreetly to create an identifiable sound on which sit the instantly recognisable vocals of Hayden [Thorpe] and Tom [Fleming]. Their vocal interplay is effortless, the melodies themselves wonderful. Esben and the Witch

Luke Abbott

Holkham Drones

"It's always more fulfilling when something enters your radar through word of mouth. DIY by nature, working from Norfolk, Abbott is a wizard with noise. If Britain had a Pitchfork then surely he would be its darling." Hayden Thorpe (vocalist, Wild Beasts)

Luke Abbott

Holkham Drones

"This has everything I felt was missing in most recent electronic music: it sounds old (in a good way); it doesn't sound like it was made on a laptop and conjures emotion in the listener. I spend time trying to make my music sound warm; it's achieved here on every track."

Derwin Panda (Gold Panda)

Chase and Status

No More Idols

"I loved their first album, so they are clearly on a steady incline. I keep going back to the more understated tracks: Midnight Caller and End Credits. Their live show is relentless! I've seen them live on several occasions and their reception is always energetic to say the least.A brilliant album, by a brilliant duo, with a brilliant future." Professor Green

James Blake

James Blake

"We love his tone, lyrics and minimalist vibe. His take on Feist's Limit to Your Love was breathtaking; reworking his father James Litherland's Where to Turn into The Wilhelm Scream is another example of why this album is so great." We'd also like to big up an album that is on the cusp of being released on our own imprint MTA, Welcome To Reality' by Nero. This album has a really dark futuristic vibe, which represents their sound so well. Every track is extremely exciting. A future classic. Saul Milton (Chase and Status)

The Horrors


"This is my favourite album of the last 12 months, and not just because I'm in a band with one of them [Faris Badwan]. I love the Horrors' for their sense of beauty. The album has a range of emotions the involves the listener from the euphoric synth line that opens up the first track, Changing the Rain, to the poignant vocals on Oceans Burning. Skying does what the Horrors do with their club nights: it draws people in and makes them want to join their world." Rachel Zeffira, Cat's Eyes


Interviews by Dave Simpson

The GuardianTramp

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