01. David Sylvian - highly original, strong singer-songwriter who marries East and West in his music, which I've been collecting since his band Japan broke through with Adolescent Sex in 1977. Also has a career as a painter/illustrator and photographer.
02. Arctic Monkeys - a triphop/indie/rock outfit from Sheffield, who have just been awarded the titles Best New Band and Best British Band at the NME music awards. Their debut album is out now. We'll have to see if they last, but I like what I've been hearing so far.
03. Beth Orton - an accomplished songwriter with a distinctive, rather breathy singing voice...I first discovered Ms. Orton through her collaborations with dance greats William Orbit and The Chemical Brothers some years ago. She's just released a more acoustic sounding, critically acclaimed fourth album, Comfort of Strangers, this month.
04. James Blunt - it's the beard, isn't it? Or I would have thought he's the most easily recognisable musician in the bunch -- he's forever on the box these days. A nice young man with a few wonderful songs, but only time will tell whether he'll be more than a one hit-album wonder.
05. The Smiths - as recognised by you all, and therefore not needing any introduction. Simply one of the most significant and influential bands of the 80s, led by a most talented singer-songwriter.
06. Snow Patrol - the great new talent of 2004; a bit like Coldplay, beautiful and melodic, but without the misery and much more to my taste.
07. Paul Weller - I would have been surprised if no Paul Weller had shown up in this selection, as he's been my favourite artist for half my life or more. Starting out in the late 70s as an Angry Young Working Class Hero with his group The Jam, he has been a consistently strong performer and an eminent songwriter for the last 30 years. And although some on my flist have accused him of faffing about on stage, I'd still pay good money to see (and hear) it. ;-)
08. Antony & The Johnsons - or, just Antony Hegarty. There's not a lot of pictures of The Johnsons around...Honest, expressive, beautiful, and ever so slightly strange and thought-provoking is how I would characterise his songs and music.
09. Moloko - if you want to boogie on down, you can't do better than Moloko for the music: a heady mix of triphop, funk and dance it is impossible not to be infected by.
10. Roxy Music - Roxy Music ruled the charts when I was young, a supergroup. I still enjoy listening to Avalon, of 1981 I think?
11. Portishead - one of the original Bristol triphop bands, they're slightly darker and more melancholy in their sound than the afore-mentioned Moloko.
12. Lloyd Cole - I've been a fan of Lloyd's since 1984 or thereabouts. As to what he's up to now: let the man himself tell you.
13. Common Rotation - from a musical point of view, they're my woobies. Undeniably oozing talent from every pore; but I can't sit down and discuss their merits objectively with anyone, not even with them. So I won't even try to here.
14. Death Cab For Cutie - arguably, the band with the most bizarre name. Indie pop quartet from Seattle, where I'm told it rains a lot.
15. Golden Earring - I -literally- grew up with this band. Formed in 1961, they dominated the The Hague music scene for 40 years, and are still hugely influential on what's going on here musically. They could have gone for world domination following their hit Radar Love of 1973, but were happiest at home and didn't like touring internationally. A bunch of all-round nice guys, that's our Earring.
Joint winners: bogwitch and caegey, both with 5 correct answers.
ETA: oh, and freakspawn, who knew she knew Lloyd Cole, but just couldn't think of his name.