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Tuesday, 4 December, 2001, 16:37 GMT
Strokes hit critics' top spots
The Strokes have had two UK top 20 singles
The Strokes have had two UK top 20 singles
An American guitar band who were unknown a year ago have impressed music critics so much that their debut album has been named album of the year in two separate polls.

The Strokes have topped end-of-year lists in alternative music magazine NME and internet retailer Amazon.co.uk, which showed a resurgence in gritty US rock.

 Click here to watch The Strokes perform NYC Cops on Top Of The Pops

Two other US artists who have burst onto the scene even more quickly than The Strokes - The White Stripes and Andrew WK - create a similar raw, retro sound and also figure highly.

The White Stripes have impressed with their Detroit blues-rock
The White Stripes have impressed with their Detroit blues-rock
Of the established UK bands, Radiohead, New Order and Pulp figure highest in the lists - but are still upstaged by their US counterparts.

The Strokes have since become one of the music scene's hottest properties since their first single only reached number 78 in January.

From New York, their look and sound is reminiscent of the city's late-1970s punk heyday.

NME albums of 2001
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
The music press immediately took to their stylishly rugged approach, and they have since enjoyed two UK top 20 singles.

This ringing endorsement from music journalists appears to allay fears that they would fall out of favour once the hype had subsided.

"The Strokes have got brilliant tunes, they've got a good attitude, they look really good and they've put themselves together as a package really well," NME associate editor Alex Needham told BBC News Online.

Amazon.co.uk critics' choice
1. The Strokes - Is This It
2. New Order - Get Ready
3. Avalanches - Since I Left You
4. The White Stripes - White Blood Cells
5. Pulp - We Love Life
They project themselves as stars in a way that UK bands have not this year, he says.

"Their musical influences haven't been mined for a while and they put them together in quite an exciting way, and that makes them sound quite a lot fresher and different."

The White Stripes were similarly unheard of at the start of the year, but their Detroit blues-rock has also been embraced by those who had grown tired of more reserved UK guitar bands who emerged last year.

Dido: The people's choice, according to Amazon
Dido: The people's choice, according to Amazon
Other artists to feature in the top 20 of each poll include Pulp, Super Furry Animals, Destiny's Child and UK hip-hop singer Roots Manuva.

The NME and Amazon lists were compiled through a poll of their journalists.

But whether the fans agree or not is a different matter - Amazon has also compiled a people's choice list, based on sales, in which Dido comes out top and The Strokes are at number 16.

And NME is currently giving its readers the chance to vote for their favourite album of the year for the NME Awards, which will be handed out early next year.

See also:

24 Aug 01 | Reviews
Strokes of genius
23 Aug 01 | Music
Festivals promote The Strokes
29 Aug 01 | Reviews
The Strokes: Your views
10 Jun 01 | Music
New York's new sound
29 Aug 01 | Reviews
The Strokes: Press views
17 Oct 01 | Entertainment
White Stripes say no to Gap
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