Bloc Party, the Arctic Monkeys, and even Dizzee Rascal often make it seem that British music is our music too. But even a quick perusal of the BBC charts shows just how big the Atlantic divide is. Sure, they’ve got Justin and the Killers, just like us. But Razorlight, a band who’ve barely gotten a shrug from US media, have hit the Top Five three times, and (possibly thanks to Internet pranksters) David Hasselhoff is currently riding high. The good news is that the Internet is a bridge to all cultures, so here are some places where you can catch up with what’s up across the Pond.
Lemar, “It’s Not That Easy”
Lemar came to fame through the British reality-TV show Fame Academy, but he’s proved to be a much better artist than, say, Ruben Studdard, winning two Brit awards and continually improving his R&B sound. This new single from his third full-length is a beautiful soul song that shows up our lame output in the genre over the past year.
Bob Sinclar, “Rock This Party”
A lot of Anglophiles bemoan the poor taste of the American mainstream, but here’s French producer Bob Sinclar’s answer to that, an awful hit that apes C+C Music Factory and manages to water down dancehall and house in the same song. Still, it’s worth hearing as a reminder that Britain is still Europe, and Europe is famous for its cheese.
The Fratellis, “Creepin Up the Backstairs”
In a country where the Kaiser Chiefs and Kasabian dominate, the Fratellis seem set to explode. But will they make the jump to America? Their debut full-length was released last month, and the group got the go-ahead from bandwagon drivers NME. This song, an acoustic version of an early single, harks back to the Libertines, with weaker songwriting. Still, it’s easy to get caught up in the hooks.
Sway, “This Is My Demo”
Sway’s rapid-fire delivery and hook-laden production makes him the best straight-ahead hip-hop artist the UK has to offer. His debut, This Is My Demo, garnered critical acclaim in Britain last year but failed to make any impact in the States. Which is a shame because, as this dark and stormy title track indicates, the first-generation British MC has a lot to offer.
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