What's new in the land of royals and Radiohead? The editors of Britain's new musical express whisk us their monthly report.

By EW Staff
Updated August 16, 2002 at 04:00 AM EDT

It’s not often that I get on my knees and beg, but this month I have no choice. Ever since a British music industry report found that in April this year there were no U.K. artists in the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart for the first time since 1963, we’ve been a nation in crisis. The past two months have been a whirlwind of tearful newspaper editorials and desperate calls to better promote our artists in America. Basically, we bewildered Brits all want to know the same thing: We invented music, we gave you the Beatles, Duran Duran, and the Spice Girls, so why don’t you love us anymore?

The answer is sad but simple. We’ve been hopeless at music for ages. Ever since the halcyon days of Britpop, we’ve been producing music so middle-of-the-road that it’s virtually got white stripes down its back.

Britain is currently tyrannized by four artists: The Stereophonics (Rod Stewart impersonators), Robbie Williams (tuxedo-wearing buffoon), Oasis (rude brothers), and Travis (inoffensive rock whimsy). Is it any wonder that America and every other country in the world has said, ”Thanks, but no thanks?”

What makes it even worse for us is that in the aftermath of the Strokes, any American who turns up in the U.K. with a guitar immediately gets a multimillion-pound record deal. Last month, it was the Polyphonic Spree (see review on page 19), and they’re 23 or so lunatics from Texas who dress in white smocks and sing weird religious music. The British music industry has been complaining night and day about it ever since, and it’s starting to get on my nerves. That’s why I’m imploring you to shut them up by buying at least one British record this month. Below I’ve listed three new releases to choose from, but don’t feel tied by my suggestions. Even picking up a copy of Rick Astley: The Emo Sessions would help. — James Oldham, NME Deputy Editor




THE CORAL — The Coral (Deltasonic) From Liverpool and obsessed with eggs and Frank Zappa, the Coral are the most inventive British band currently in existence. Recently reviewed in NME, this album was described (favourably) as a mix of ”The Doors [and] Russian Cossack music.”

DEATH IN VEGAS — ”Leather Girls/Natja” (Concrete/BMG) Pulsating psychedelic electro made by London’s two coolest men (DJs Richard Fearless and Tim Holmes). It’s a taster for their upcoming made-in-India epic, Scorpio Rising.

COLDPLAY — ”In My Place” (Parlophone) Totally brilliant single from the most accessible British band of 2002. If they aren’t No. 1 in America at some point in the next 12 months, I’ll eat my word processor.