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
I really must apologise for the lack of activity on the blog for the last week. Unfortunately, last Saturday my WiFi connection dropped out, and it took me all week to find a solution. No, not a 10m long Ethernet cable: I eventually worked out that I needed to change the broadcast channel on my router. In any case, I’m back online, and my next post will undoubtedly be a review of Loveless, which I promised some time ago.
I do hope you (all seven readers) weren’t thinking of deserting the blog, so please don’t stop reading now. I shall try and crank up the pace again.
In the meantime, I should say that I just bought the following albums:
Spiritualized – Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space
My Morning Jacket – It Still Moves
British Sea Power – The Decline Of British Sea Power
Roxy Music – Country Life
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – The Boatman’s Call
So maybe expect something about those albums in the near to distant future.
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