It's probably no surprise that Jagwar Ma are my new artist of the year. I heard of them for the first time about two weeks ago. Ironically, the song I heard of theirs I wasn't sold on. It was pleasant, but not anything special to me. Although something made me decide I wanted to check their album. It was probably the fact many say it's got a very late 80s/early 90s Manchester sound. Of course, that intrigued me, an I figured surely the album could offer me something. I'm so glad I did because honestly this is the best debut I've heard in years. Since Hot Fuss by The Killers really. Most ironically, the day before I heard their album for the first time they actually played in Belfast, supporting The XX. What I love most about Jagwar Ma is their ability to combine different influences. I can hear Primal Scream, Stone Roses, Happy Mondays and Hacienda style club music all at different points on Howlin. Cruically though the album always sounds cohesive. The really scary thing though is that they're actually Australian even though they've got a very authentic Madchester type sound. I've rarely seen a style channeled so convincingly really. They played at Glastonbury yesterday and I'm itching to see a professional recording of their show - they are just superb. My guess is Jagwar Ma are going to go onto big things and honestly, I'd be surprised if an album tops Howlin for me this year.