THE TWANG: Encouraging Sign. One of those euphoric rush pop moments that happen along so rarely. Best song they’ve ever penned.
GREEN DAY: East Jesus Nowhere.High-kicking drum-tumbling pop punk that’s worryingly reminiscent of Adam Ant. Taken from their chart-topping 21st Century Breakdown album.
DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE: Meet Me At The Equinox.Written for the soundtrack to The Twilight Saga: New Moon – they clearly know when they’re onto something successful. It has that celestial feeling that nothing has a beginning nor an end.
IMOGEN HEAP: First Train Home.The first single to be taken from her new album Ellipse. It has that soft railway roll – a sense of a need to escape – and was written the moment she returned home at 8am from a rubbish party in Brighton.
LANA: Ruthless.She’s Spanish with a low, hard-edged voice and a Gnarls Barkley sense of bluesy funk.
WHITE BELT YELLOW TAG: Remains.Beguiling widescreen rock pop ambience imbrued with a sense of aching fragility.
CERYS MATTHEWS: Don’t Look Down.It’s made history by being the first album to be released in Welsh and English languages simultaneously. The sound includes the big 60s production of opener Arlington Way, the sweeping, swirling Into The Blue, the dreamy, ambient Aeroplane (think of the early 70s Nimble advert), the far-off harmonica-howling Spider And The Fly, the happy-clappy Smash The Glass and the soft, subtle, string-blessed Evelyn. A truly cosmopolitan feel, yet it was recorded in Nashville, Seattle, London and Rhode Island.
FUNERAL FOR A FRIEND: Your History Is Mine 2002-2009.Rarely does a band go from the sublime to the ridiculous as this lot from south Wales. They jump blindly from grating screech to virtual melodica in a few bars – and we’re not talking pubs here. It’s a retrospective of their career so far yet boosted by four new tracks led by the dastardly deluge that is Wrench. They’ve whittled down four albums and a clutch of EPs to come to this stage and the listing includes fans favourites Red Is The New Black, 10.45 Amsterdam Conversations, Juneau, Roses For The Dead, Streetcar and Into Oblivion. A band that’s formed a fast and furious, hard and heavy trademark sound all their own – and yet can balladeer in the odd reflective moment amid the chaos.