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Mercury Nomination Follow Up July 19, 2006

Posted by alexd in Life, Music.

feistYou join me on the hottest day in Britain since 1911. The last time it was this warm we made the mistake of thinking all the icebergs in the Atlantic had melted. We wont make that mistake again. But really us Brits aren’t built for this heat. How are we supposed to remain cool while wearing a tie and a bowler hat.

Anyway…. Chris at musicsnobbery.com has written an excellent post on the nominations:

It was either this or a track by track review of the Lily Allen’s Alright Still. The Mercury Prize short list wins out because I got a lot thoughts on the nominees and who got shut out.

  • Arctic Monkeys, Whatever People Say I Am That’s What I’m Not. They were pretty much a lock to be mentioned. They’ve only spawned a small army of fans, critics and writers into making the most important band of our time. Is it the tightly woven guitars and drum kicks? The melodies played with such gusto as to make the chavs of England ping around in their jumpers? I think it has something to do with the songwriting – a reflection of today’s youth culture. If I’m a betting man, I’d go with them. Then again, I thought M.I.A. was going to win last year.
  • Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan, Ballad Of The Broken Seas – An awesome pick that I didn’t even think about. Ballad is a charismatic album and ode to Nick Drake, Nancy Sinatra, Woody Guthrie and Serge Gainsbourg. What a good way for Campbell to stick it to Belle & Sebastian, who got passed over — albeit wrongly.
  • Editors, The Back Room – Major congrats go to my buddies. I didn’t think the judges would remember them, since the album was released in the U.K. this time last year. Thanks to some relentless touring, they’ve stayed around. There may be a 1,001 bands playing dance rock, but these guys do it more poetically. Here’s my interview with Chris.
  • Guillemots, Through the Windowpane – Again, it’s not often that I’m right, but I pegged them for success from the start. They are the U.K. answer to Canada’s The Arcade Fire, in terms of clashing styles and multiple instrumentation. The album, released just in time for the deadline, doesn’t have a U.S. release date that I know of. I’m fishing around to hear some of the next tracks like “Little Bear” and “Through the Window Pane”. Here’s my interview with them.
  • Richard Hawley, Coles Corner – Another lock for a nomination, the former Longpigs frontman made a classic crooner album from the 50s. He could have been the lost member of the Rat Pack. I want to mix drinks in a cocktail shaker and serve them while listening to this. It’s the best use of his voice yet. This might be the upset pick on the list.
  • Hot Chip, The Warning – I’m disagreeing with this one. I still not feeling the Chip. I hear a band too obsessed with creating manic beats and not focusing a making music with soul and feeling. It has a beat, but not a pulse. I do admit that “Over and Over” is a catchy tune.
  • Muse, Black Holes & Revelations – When I first heard this album, I said, “This shit has got some balls to it.” It’s gusty and it takes chances — and it works. I remember not hearing a peep about the band in the States, then all of sudden, Muse was everywhere. I saw Absolution on store shelves overnight. Music snobs were dropping the name like Galileo dropped an orange.
  • Zoe Rahman, Melting Pot – Never heard of her. The judges always seem to sneak in a few names that are under the radar. Last year, they slipped in KT Tunstall and she became a name because of it. From her bioDescribed in The Observer newspaper as “one of the finest young pianists in Europe”, Zoe Rahman has firmly established herself as one of the brightest stars on contemporary jazz scene. In the words of critic Sholto Byrnes (Independent on Sunday) her new album, Melting Pot, “confirms the pianist as a distinctive voice on the British jazz scene”. Check out some tunes on myspace. Right now, she only has 201 friends. Let’s help her out.
  • Lou Rhodes, Beloved One – The name looked familiar, so I looked her up — Lou Rhodes is the singer from Lamb. She’s made her debut solo effort, from what I’ve heard just now, it’s lush, earthy and at times, haunting.
  • Scritti Politti, White Bread, Black Bear – I’ve got a perfect way to make a new proposition, I got a perfect way to make a justification, I got a perfect way to make a certain a maybe, I got a perfect way to make the girls go crazy!  From the “What the Fuck?” category, who knew Scritti Politti was still in the hearts and mind on Britons. Could ABC, Howard Jones and Go West be due for a comeback and nomination?
  • Sway, This Is My Demo – I was pegging Mylo or The Streets to represent U.K. hip-hop on the shortlist, but Sway sneaked in there. He’s very much in the Dizzee Rascal vein of rhyming a mile a minute and having sparse beats.
  • Thom Yorke, The Eraser – No surprises here. Get it? No surprises. Ha ha ha. I’m still absorbing the album, but I told myself before the first listen, “If he wasn’t the lead singer of Radiohead, would I still like the album?” The answer is yes, it plays like a journey through Thom’s mind at this current state and time.

So who was left out?

  • A big slap in the face to 2004 winners Franz Ferdinand’s You Can Have It So Much Better. Maybe it was released to long ago for the committee to remember it, but it’s still a good album.
  • No luck again for Morrissey. Richard Hawley took his spot
  • Belle & Sebastian’s The Life Pursuit nowhere to be found. Too happy?
  • Forward, Russia!
  • Mystery Jets
  • I was amazed The Streets wasn’t called upon this year.
  • The Kooks, the committee had to good sense to leave these no-talent, ass clowns out of contention.
  • Corinne Bailey Rae I thought was a sure fire lock, since she’s the toast of the U.K. singer-songwriter scene in the U.K.
  • Keane might be too popular for the short list.
  • Snow Patrol left out in the cold … for a good reason.
  • Dirty Pretty Things
  • The Feeling, too James Bluntish for the panel.

Sept. 5 is when the winner will join the ranks of M People, Talvin Singh and Ms. Dynamite. hmmmmmmm

For the two artist that no ones heard of. Zoe Rahman a jazz pianist, like last years Polarbear, but less interesting.

And Lou Rhodes is some folk artist like Seth Lakeman last year. A bit snore. There’s only one folk artist worth listening to and that’s Feist. Feist having done a Jose Gonzalez, featuring on that “Lacoste for men perfume ad”.

Download: Feist- Mushaboom [highly recommended]



1. kaitlin - July 20, 2006


what do you mean snow patrol was left out for a good reason? the new video is awesome!

i love this song!!!

2. jeej - July 20, 2006

Oh god, please don’t let Sway win!

3. alexd - July 20, 2006

Kaitlin i didnt say anythingm i was qouting others. I still dont dig snowpatrol that much. But each to his or her own.

4. Kevin - July 25, 2006

“Hot Chip… I hear a band too obsessed with creating manic beats and not focusing a making music with soul and feeling.”

Have you (he, I know it was Chris) not heard Boy From School?

Corinne Bailey Rae was rightly ignored; a bland, MOR album!

Lovin’ the blog, by the way.

5. alexd - July 25, 2006

Thanks! I know what you mean though, but the Mercury Music Prize is about albums not individual tracks. And I do believe that some parts of the album do get a bit emotionally sparse. Who cares when you’ve got “Over and Over!”

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