And the winner is...
for the album
You can find a live review of Young Fathers at Leeds Belgrave earlier this year here
The 2014 Albums of the Year are...
Anna Calvi - One Breath
Bombay Bicycle Club - So Long, See You Tomorrow
Damon Albarn - Everyday Robots
East India Youth - Total Strife Forever
FKA twigs - LP1
GoGo Penguin - v2.0
Jungle - Jungle
Kate Tempest - Everybody Down
Nick Mulvey - First Mind
Polar Bear - In Each and Every One
Royal Blood - Royal Blood
Young Fathers - Dead
“This year’s Barclaycard Mercury Prize shortlist confirms that these are fascinating times for UK music”, says Simon Frith, Chair of Judges. “There are seven outstanding debut albums here, and five records by more established artists, all pursuing exciting new directions. What most impressed the judges was the inventive passion with which musicians explore music and emotional possibilities, refusing to be pinned down by rules or genre."
The Barclaycard Mercury Prize celebrates a year in UK music. The shortlist, chosen from an entry of over 220 albums, was announced by Alice Levine. The event was hosted by The Hospital Club in Covent Garden.
As the evenings begin to draw in closer and the leaves become crisp underfoot, we can be sure of one thing; this year’s Mercury Music Prize soirée is almost upon us. With the great and good of UK music due to gather for the main event at the Roundhouse on October 29, the nominees will be announced Wednesday September 10th. Announced by University of Leeds alumnus Alice Levine at The Hospital Club arts centre in Covent Garden, a thirty minute broadcast will follow the next day on Channel 4 presented by Nick Grimshaw.
The Mercury lauds itself for awarding for artistic achievement, and seeks to give an overview of the year in music with its nominations; albums released between September 10 last year and Monday September 8 this year are eligible for consideration by the panel. Once again chaired by sociomusicologist Simon Frith, members for 2014 are editor of the NME Greg Cochrane, Annie Mac, DJ and radio broadcaster and a multitude of others from festival directors to music journalists. The actual prize itself is £20k and the (not insignificant) fanfare that envelops the music press for weeks after.
Whether that is a good thing or not is a matter of often vocal and usually divided opinion. The Prize has been denigrated for its sometimes controversial nominations and winners in previous years, with dissenters citing either the celebrating of unknown outsiders or conversely the inclusion of too many populist acts. The secretive nature of the nominations is often criticised, with the questionable independence of the panel and lack of clarity in exactly how they manage to fairly compare the diversity on offer further muddying the picture. Added to this, the £200 entry fee can be prohibitively high to lesser known bands on smaller labels, especially with no guarantee of results.
Described by Damon Albarn as “a dead albatross around the neck” (and a nomination turned down by his Gorillaz in 2001), the winner of the prize can count Suede, Dizzee Rascal and the Arctic Monkeys as their peers, but it isn’t always a path to certain fame and fortune; on the flipside they’ll also be rubbing shoulders with Ms Dynamite, Speech Debelle and Talvin Singh. And, on top of that, they’ll also be claiming a prize presented on a programme replete with hashtags and gurning Radio 1 presenter that bears the name of a load of bankers…
Still, more music on TV that stretches beyond the predictable reaches of the Brits and such like can only be a good thing!
Words - Angi Strafford
Coverage of the event will be broadcast on Channel 4 at 12.05am on the night of Thursday 11 September.