Album: Various Artists, Thank You Friends – The Ardent Records Story (Big Beat)

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The Independent Culture

From pouting garage rock to psychedelia so anglophile that the accents recall Teddington more than Tennessee, and on to the pre-punk power pop of Big Star, this 2CD survey of cult Memphis label Ardent is so revelatory it's hard to listen to anything else. The first disc's selection of Sixties singles, including solo work by Big Star's Alex Chilton and Chris Bell, mixes sharp mod R&B with phased guitars, sitars, folk-baroque strings and art-rock lyrics. Disc 2 specialises in pre-punk cock rock and weird acoustic wastedness, with 12 Big Star demos and rarities. Compilation of the year, already.

Pick of the Album: The perfect pop of Big Star's 'September Gurls'