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London Calling

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Okay, so everyone knows when it comes to music, London is the hype capital of the universe. It’s the only place where you can be the best band in the world on Monday only to be washed up by Wednesday teatime. It’s sick, it’s wrong, it’s crazy (and personally I blame NME), but, hey, that’s the way we like it, so sod off.

Anyway, most seasoned observers thought that after the great Strokes hoo-ha of 2001, no band would ever achieve the same level of obsessive, fawning attention ever again. Well, guess what? They were totally wrong. It might only be May but there’s already a new group who’ve sent the whole British media/public completely insane. Their name is the Vines, and if anyone should know about them, it’s you, because even though they’re originally from Sydney, Australia, they’re actually based in L.A. A four-piece centered on the songwriting talents of the 24-year-old cherubic boy-genius Craig Nicholls, they’re an amazing collision of throat-shredding Nirvana noise and ’60s Anglophile pop. (Think the Beatles, think the Kinks.)

So far, they’ve only released one ”proper” single — the amazing 95-second assault of ”Highly Evolved” — but that’s been enough to imbed them in the U.K.’s consciousness. They’ve been on Top of the Pops and CD:UK (our two biggest national music shows), they’ve been in every magazine, they’ve had a top 40 hit, and, reports suggest, they’re soon to be knighted by the Queen. Not bad work considering a few weeks ago no one had ever heard of them.

Still, that’s the way it is over here. For the next six months, they’ll be called the biggest, best, loudest, and coolest band in the world by everyone who writes about them in Britain. And then? Well, by then, they’ll be huge in the States (their album comes your way in July), and we’ll all pretend we never really liked them in the first place. — James Oldham, NME Deputy Editor

MORE THAN OKAY IN THE U.K.

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MORE THAN OKAY IN THE U.K.

DOVES — The Last Broadcast (Heavenly/EMI) The second album from Manchester’s latest morose heroes is an instant classic. Ambitious, epic, and relentless, it’s already tagged them as ”the new Radiohead.”

THE STREETS — Original Pirate Material (Locked On/679) The Streets is actually 22-year-old Mike Skinner — a.k.a. ”the British Eminem.” The caustic surburban narratives that make up his debut are bleak, inventive, and strangely reminiscent of late-’70s ska group the Specials.

THE LIBERTINES — ”What a Waster” (Rough Trade) The hottest band to come out of London since the Sex Pistols (and guess which crack music mag dreamed up that line?). This is their debut single, and it’s a glorious wreck of feedback and foul language that zings along like the Jam.

FAST FORWARD UPCOMING ALBUMS

5/21

THE BREEDERS Title TK Nine years after their Last Splash, the Deals make waves again. And yes, that’s really the title.

BRYAN FERRY Frantic He used to play in Roxy Music. Guest guitarist Jonny Greenwood (Radiohead) used to play rock music.

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