All hail the Kaiser Chiefs: NME winners try to break America

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The Independent Culture

With a hit record and an NME award, the Kaiser Chiefs have already conquered Britain. But now the art-rock band from Leeds are set to achieve a goal that has eluded countless British acts before them: success in America.

The group, named after a South African football team, took the Philip Hall Radar award at the NME Awards show on Thursday night, and are being hailed as "the best new music-maker of the year" by US media.

Rolling Stone magazine included them in its hot list, and they have received glowing reviews for gigs in LA and New York this year. On Tuesday, two days after they had sold out the Mercury Lounge in New York, an article in the New York Post declared: "Say the name out loud, right now: Kaiser Chiefs. The Chiefs ... [will] ... show the United States what they've already shown the UK: that this band is the best new music-maker of the year."

Bill Werde, an associate editor at Rolling Stone said: "The Kaiser Chiefs have super-catchy songs. 'I Predict a Riot' is absolutely addictive. Live, they are just great in the tradition of lots of high-energy young bands. They seem to have a sense of humour and a personality that will appeal to a lot of people in the States."

The five-piece group's present success is a far cry from the struggle their debut single "Oh my God" had in reaching number 66 in the UK charts. But three months ago their second single, "I Predict a Riot", went to number 22, and success swiftly followed in the States - before they had even played there. When the single was added to the playlist of the influential Los Angeles radio station KROQ, they became one of only seven British bands to be given airtime there.

The band, who formed in 2003, made their US debut on 11 January in LA, before playing in New York and on the ShockWaves NME Awards Tour 2005. Their success comes as American bands such as The Killers, who won Best International Newcomer at this year's NME Awards, Interpol, and Bright Eyes are filling the UK with sell-out shows.

Other British bands scoring well in the States include the Glasgow group Franz Ferdinand. Straight after winning the Mercury Music Prize, the band left for New York to tour with The Futureheads and were tipped by the NME "to go supernova the same way Coldplay did last year".

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