- Whenever I thought "Crikey! What the heck is this?" it was generally MIA, well done there MIA, particularly your championing of the dying art that is the Big Bass Drum.
- Whenever I thought "Who the heck is this, and what are they doing on one of the quieter-end Blur tracks?" it was generally Gorillaz, who really have done wonders with Snoop Dogg and even Lou Reed. Also with Gruff Rhys, but no-one's surprised by that these days, I would hope.
- Whenever I thought "With this gentle folk you are spoiling us, Laura Marling", it was generally Laura Marling
- Whenever I thought "Crikey, Laura Marling is really going for it!" it was generally Trembling Bells, so that after a while I starting assuming it was them off the bat. They make good rollicking folk, and in one of their songs someone sings "Sing me a song for a sea-sick sailor" like they mean it, so good for them.
- Whenever I think "Crikey, no shame for the love of guitars here" it was generally psychedelic rockers Voice of the Seven Thunders (apart from the heaviest song, which turned out to be MIA). In their more together moments they reminded me of Soundtrack of Our Lives, which was quite welcome as I had entirely forgotten that those hairy Gothenberg dudes existed.
- Whenever I thought "What is this indie nonsense behind Anthony from the Johnsons?" it was Wild Beasts. I had heard the album before, but mixing it up with the other stuff meant that some of it came across as quite pleasant, without being tainted by the dreadful Dirty Projectors-ish anti-music that I remembered (which is still on there).
- Whenever I forgot that I was listening to anything, it was generally Hot Chip.
- Whenever I thought "Who is this, rapping poorly?" it was unsurprisingly Tinchy Stryder.
- And whenever I thought "This will be The xx, then", it was The xx - but not vice versa! I was shocked to realise that there were The xx tracks that I didn't know, because I have to be honest been playing their album quite a bit. Perhaps it's all coded instructions to assassinate a world leader, past the point where VCR and Crystallised have correctly prepared us for the programming.
And as a closing note a lot of the checking what was playing was just looking at the album cover on Spotify - so I'd like to particularly praise the MIA album cover, which seems to present her as a sort of music elemental, an organising intelligence incorporated entirely in sound clips, mostly but not definitely non-malevolent. Which is mostly how she sounds on the record.
* or those that I could get my hands on - Sorry Corinne Bailey Rae / Fuck Buttons / These New Puritans - you may have beaten the man, but you've failed at SCIENCE.