So, the cat is well and truly out of the bag: the Mercury Prize Shortlist has been announced, and the twelve albums of which it is comprised are:
Adele – ’19’
British Sea Power – ‘Do You Like Rock Music?’
Burial – ‘Untrue’
Elbow – ‘The Seldom Seen Kid’
Estelle – ‘Shine’
The Last Shadow Puppets – ‘The Age Of The Understatement’
Laura Marling – ‘Alas I Cannot Swim’
Neon Neon – ‘Stainless Style’
Portico Quartet – ‘Knee-Deep In The North Sea’
Robert Plant And Alison Krauss – ‘Raising Sand’
Radiohead – ‘In Rainbows’
Rachel Unthank And The Winterset – ‘The Bairns’
My immediate reactions were twofold: firstly, what happened to Portishead and MIA, whose stellar albums have been improbably overlooked; and then, perhaps predictably, who on earth is Rachel Unthank, not to mention her beloved Winterset? Continue reading
Posted in Albums
Tagged adele, album, alex turner, alison krauss, alternative, award, british sea power, burial, elbow, electro, entertainment, estelle, folk, indie, last shadow puppets, laura marling, mercury, music, neon neon, pop, portico quartet, prize, rachel unthank, radiohead, rnb, robert plant, rock, shortlist
Pitchfork ranked it as the second greatest album of the 1990s (no prizes for guessing what came top!), and its influence can be heard in countless albums of the post-rock and shoegazing genres. And yet, though I have been able to appreciate so many of the bands that count My Bloody Valentine as their inspiration, I’ve never really been able to connect with MBV themselves.
Thus I have decided to open my mind to Loveless one more time, to see if I can finally come to understand its genius, which has thus far eluded me. I really do hope I can love it, if only so that I won’t feel so guilty enjoying other, even more noisy, reverb-drenched stuff.
When I do decide to give it another go, I’ve also decided to ‘liveblog’ my experiences of it, here on the blog, which should be fun. I dare say that it won’t quite achieve the fame or reputation of this particular liveblog series, but, still, what with MBV setting out on their reunion tour as we speak, it should be a timely occasion for me to approach such an influential work.
I’m not sure about the current whereabouts of Sunderland’s Field Music, but I am comprehensively certain that they don’t get nearly enough praise for their blend of Beach Boys-style harmony and diverse instrumentation; Wire-esque post-punk; and a dusting of Steely Dan studio perfectionism. They just about ambled onto the scene in 2005 with an eponymous debut but, for me, their creative peak was definitely to be found on last year’s follow-up LP, Tones of Town. Continue reading
Posted in Albums, Artists
Tagged beach boys, field music, futureheads, maximo park, music, post punk, school of language, steely dan, tones of town, wire
Last year, the shortlist for the Mercury Prize was announced on the 17th of July, suggesting that in just under a month’s time, this year’s shortlist is sure to make an appearance. My interest in the Prize waxes and wanes, depending on the shortlist: all too often the judges fall back on lowest-common-denominator material such as, on last year’s shortlist, the thoroughly boring Hats off to the Buskers by The View, along with every Coldplay album ever. My experiences of the winning albums have also been something of a mixed bag: in 2006, Arctic Monkeys won with their debut, ahead of (in my opinion) more worthy albums from Muse and Guillemots; conversely, last year, Klaxons won the prize ahead of Arctic Monkeys, who had since returned with the infinitely superior Favourite Worst Nightmare.
Nevertheless, there’s no doubting the Prize’s ability to – overnight, frequently – thrust a struggling yet talented artist into the limelight, thus ensuring a short-term boost in sales. Elsewhere in its history, the nominees and winners have definitely caused me to further investigate a particular artist, as in the case of Antony and the Johnsons in 2005 (who won), and Richard Hawley in 2006 (who didn’t).
Though I have no fear in saying that British music is at an all time nadir, it is with some optimism that I would suggest the past twelve months have seen signs of a resurgence among our more experimental and esoteric, risk-taking artists, and I really hope the judges take a careful look at such albums when making their decisions this year. Though I doubt my selections will bear any relation to the real shortlist, here are some British albums that have been released since last August (the usual cut-off point) that I feel the judges would be loath to ignore: Continue reading
Posted in Albums
Tagged alison krauss, antony and the johnsons, arctic monkeys, british sea power, burial, elbow, field music, foals, guillemots, hot chip, jonny greenwood, klaxons, mercury prize, mia, muse, music, portishead, radiohead, richard hawley, robert plant, spiritualized, the last shadow puppets
I do realise that we are half-way through 2008, but, still, I thought it worth mentioning, if only to elucidate anyone of my personal preferences. And, with the nominations for the 2008 Mercury Prize surely but a month or two away, it’s worth recounting some of the albums from the latter half of last year that may be eligible for this year’s award.
In alphabetical order:
Animal Collective – Strawberry Jam
Arcade Fire – Neon Bible
Arctic Monkeys – Favourite Worst Nightmare
Battles – Mirrored
Bloc Party – A Weekend In The City
Bright Eyes – Cassadaga
Burial – Untrue
Deerhunter – Cryptograms
Dizzee Rascal – Maths + English
Field Music – Tones of Town
The Good, The Bad & The Queen – The Good, The Bad & The Queen
Interpol – Our Love To Admire
KanYe West – Graduation
Kings of Leon – Because of the Times
LCD Soundsystem – 45:33
LCD Soundsystem – Sound of Silver
Low – Drums And Guns
M.I.A. – Kala
Modest Mouse – We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank
The National – Boxer
Of Montreal – Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer?
Prinzhorn Dance School – Prinzhorn Dance School
Queens of the Stone Age – Era Vulgaris
Radiohead – In Rainbows
The Shins – Wincing The Night Away Continue reading
Posted in Albums
Tagged 2007, album, animal collective, arcade fire, arctic monkeys, battles, best of, bloc party, bright eyes, burial, deerhunter, dizzee rascal, field music, interpol, kanye west, kings of leon, lcd soundsystem, list, low, mia, modest mouse, music, of montreal, prinzhorn dance school, queens of the stone age, radiohead, the good the bad the queen, the national, the shins