Gnarls Barkley

Album: The Rebel Yell, Love & War (BBE)

James Poyser has been a vital part of Philadelphia's Soulquarians generation, his production and keyboard skills crucial components in the success of such as Erykah Badu, Common, D'Angelo, Jill Scott and The Roots. With 'The Rebel Yell', he steps out as prime mover of his own project, fronted by lead vocalist SupaStar.

Album: Sam Sparro, Sam Sparro (Island)

Sam Sparro, an auteur of DIY electrofunk is, much to everyone's surprise, the man of the moment, with "Black & Gold" – the unexpected hit of 2008 – being held off the No 1 spot by Estelle.

Album: The Black Keys, Attack & Release (V2)

'Attack & Release' was produced by Danger Mouse (of Gnarls Barkley/Gorillaz fame), but give or take a few plasticky background beats, if someone told you it was recorded between 1967 and 1974 by Foghat or Rory Gallagher, you wouldn't blink.