US bands beat home-grown rivals in poll as music goes 'back to basics'

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The Independent Culture

Two rock bands barely known in their native America have eclipsed their acclaimed British rivals Travis, Pulp and Radiohead in a poll of the year's best albums by the aficionados of the music magazine NME.

Is This It, the debut recording by the New York punk rockers The Strokes, was voted album of the year, cementing the hype that has seen them described by the Radio 1 DJ John Peel as "the most exciting band in 30 years".

In a poll that reaffirmed the virtues of "back to basics" rock 'n' roll, The White Stripes, a blues-influenced brother and sister act from Detroit, produced the year's third best album, according to NME, with their third album White Blood Cells. The predominance of heavy guitar was underlined by the inclusion in the top 10 of the glam rocker Andrew WK and the Iowan nu-metal act Slipknot.

Let it Down by Spiritualized, an album expressing the singer Jason Pierce's struggle against heroin addiction, was voted second best album and was one of only three British acts in the top 10. The other two were by Starsailor, the Jeff Buckley-influenced band, with their orchestral debut album, Love is Here (number 5), and the eclectic Cornish artist Richard D James, ranked number 10 for his category-defying Drukqs.

The editor of NME, Ben Knowles, said the best albums, voted by the magazine's reviewers, reflected a return to the essence of rock 'n' roll, hastened by a backlash against over-produced, ephemeral albums. British acts such as Pulp, Travis and Radiohead were comfortably outside the top 10.

Mr Knowles said: "Because of the size of the market in the US, it is more conducive to cutting-edge music. Bands like Coldplay and Travis have been commercially successful here but they are hardly breaking new ground."

The top 50 albums of the year

1 The Strokes

Is This It?

2 Spiritualized

Let It Come Down

3 The White Stripes

White Blood Cells

4 Jay Z

The Blueprint

5 Starsailor

Love Is Here (Heavenly)

6 Slipknot

Iowa

7 Mercury Rev

All Is Dream

8 Rufus Wainwright

Poses

9 Andrew WK

I Get Wet

10 Aphex Twin

Drukqs

11 Super Furry Animals

Rings Around The World

12 Elbow

Asleep In The Back

13 Basement Jaxx

Rooty

14 AIR

10,000 Hz Legend

15 Destiny's Child

Survivor

16 Daft Punk

Discovery

17 Pulp

We Love Life

18 Roots Manuva

Run Come Save Me

19 Fugazi

The Argument

20 Nick Cave

No More Shall We Part

21 Stephen Malkmus

Stephen Malkmus

22 Sparklehorse

It's A Wonderful Life

23 Travis

The Invisible Band

24 Low

Things We Lost In The Fire

25 Radiohead

Amnesiac

26 Missy "Misdemeanour" Elliott

Miss E ... So Addictive

27 Mark Lanegan

Field Songs

28 Mogwai

Rock Action

29 Clearlake

Lido

30 The Charlatans

Wonderland

31 New Order

Get Ready

32 Bjork

Vespertine

33 Kings Of Convenience

Quiet Is The New Loud

34 REM

Reveal

35 Boredoms

Visioncreationnewsun

36 Beanie Sigel

The Reason

37 Turin Brakes

The Optimist LP

38 Four Tet

Pause

39 Aaliyah

Aaliyah

40 N*E*R*D

In Search Of

41 Oxide & Neutrino

Execute

42 Kurupt

Space Boogie: Smoke Oddesey

43 The Beta Band

Hotshots II

44 The Tyde

Once

45 The Future Pilot AKA

Tiny Waves, Mighty Sea (Geographic)

46 Cannibal Ox

The Cold Vein

47 Sizzla

Rastafari Teach I Everything

48 Gorillaz

Gorillaz

49 Zoot Woman

Living In A Magazine

50 Gorky's Zygotic Mynci

How I Long To Feel The Summer In My Heart

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