Ever since I heard Estelle’s playful ode to the gents on this side of the pond, I’ve been hooked on its hip-pop melody and her sueded vocals. Hell, she even made Kanye add a British lilt to his rapping: “Look sharp like a London bloke/before he speak his suit bespoke/And you thought he was cute before look at this peacoat tell me he’s broke.” (Can’t hurt that she’s also completely adorable.)
You can get your fix of the doe-eyed songstress this Sunday at House of Blues, where she’ll be giving a special guest performance along side Gym Class Heroes and The Roots. Until then get cozy with a few U.K. acts worth raising a cuppa Earl Grey to:
Kate Nash – This indie darling’s cheery voice and talent for sweet lyrics is easy to fall for. Last week Nash’s “Merry Happy” was featured on The CW’s Privileged, but that’s not why I like it. “Watching me like you never watched no one/Don’t tell me that you didn’t try to check out my bum/Cause I know that you did, cause your friend told me that liked you it.” Bum. That’s why.
Paolo Nutini – When adorable Scottsman Paolo Nutini played the Friday Night Live series at The Hard Rock Pool this summer, he laid on the heroin chic body image a little thick, gripping the microphone stand as if his feeble legs couldn’t support him. But the 21-year-old’s gently raspy voice, still makes me weak in the knees, and his ability to transition from aching ballad to exuberant rock song makes me think we’ll be seeing great things from the young Nutini.
Arctic Monkeys – When this modern rock foursome’s “I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor” hit the top of the UK Singles Chart in 2006, it also went into heavy rotation on my iTunes. The band’s energetic retro rock rhythms are an infectious antidote to self-loathing indie tunes that have dominated the airwaves. Their new album Favourite Worst Nightmare might as well be called Dance, bitches, but I can't begrudge them that extra “u”. So British!
Lily Allen – The synthy pop melodies that run under Lily Allen’s tracks do nothing to distract from her prevalent wit and humor. On “Guess who Batman” you can practically see Allen, dressed in a giddy 1950s stewardess outfit with a bright smile, telling off an unapologetic bigot: “Fuck you, fuck you very very much/Cause we hate what you do/And we hate your whole crew/So please don’t stay in touch.”
Rodrigo y Gabriela – Freakishly talented guitar wizards. RodGab, as they call themselves, are a pair of Mexican-born, Dublin-based, instrumental gods. In fact, they work their guitars into such a frenzy during shows, that cameras are fixed on the frets of their instruments to capture their high-speed playing.
The Streets – Fans of Minnesotan white rap duo Atmosphere, meet your new obsession. From Birmingham, The Streets is rapper Mike Skinner, another talented white rapper determined to reinvent hip hop with thoughtful and humorous lyrics and electronica-influenced beats.