Album of the year- A bluffer's guide

By Scott Kara

Dr Boondigga and the Big BW, by Fat Freddy's Drop. Photo / Supplied
Dr Boondigga and the Big BW, by Fat Freddy's Drop. Photo / Supplied

MIDNIGHT YOUTH
The Brave Don't Run
The Brave Don't Run is Midnight Youth's debut album and it has taken the country – and the charts – by storm. Strongly touted as a Kiwi band that could break into elusive overseas markets, this accomplished Auckland group has spent six months touring New Zealand and the United States and the album is due for release in Australia this month. Expect the Aussies to soon be singing along with singles 'All on Our Own' and 'The Letter'.

MINT CHICKS
Screens
The Mint Chicks wiped the awards floor in 2007 – taking home Tuis for Album of the Year, Best Group, Best Rock Album, Best Music Video and Best Album Cover. With latest album Screens, the now Oregon-based three-piece has created an album The New Zealand Herald called "addictive and deliciously obnoxious". Real Groove magazine labelled it as having "the energy and pure new sound of a band spewing out a lifetime's worth of ideas". Screens is an album that draws you deeper into its buried pop the more you listen.

LADYHAWKE
Ladyhawke
NME described Ladyhawke as "the Cyndi Lauper for the American Apparel age ... twinkly, heart-racing '80s pop that leaves its irony at the door". The references to previous eras are inescapable, and the album's undeniable charms propelled it to Gold in NZ, the UK and Australia, and garnered a legion of fans including blogger Perez Hilton and fashion icon Karl Lagerfield. Her self-titled debut album ranked in every end-of-year poll for 2008, while 'Paris is Burning', 'Back of the Van' and 'My Delirium' became pop anthems at clubs and festivals across the globe.

CUT OFF YOUR HANDS
You and I
"A tsunami of galloping rhythms, lightning-charged guitar lines and choruses that immediately infect your brain," according to Spin magazine; the debut album from this Auckland four-piece has been critically lauded around the globe. Produced by ex-Suede guitarist Bernard Butler, You And I has been hyped by NME, named album of the week on C4 and Juice, and helped the band extend its avid fan base. The New Zealand Herald reviewer Scott Kara called the album "the most enjoyable and fun New Zealand album since the Mint Chicks' Crazy?Yes!Dumb?No!".

FAT FREDDY'S DROP
Dr Boondigga and the Big BW
Cementing their position as one of the most loved bands in the land, Fat Freddy's Drop shipped more than 12,000 copies of their new album on the day it was released in New Zealand. Two years in the making, the album is the successor to the band's debut, Based On A True Story. It has seen the band labelled an antipodean Massive Attack by UK newspaper The Observer, producing "an infectious mix of retro-soul and dub reggae, heavy with brass and fronted by the silky falsetto of Dallas Tamaira". If you are wondering: Dr Boondigga is an evil scientist, the Big BW his sidekick robot. There you go.

- NZ Herald

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