This Mercury Music Prize article was written by Steve Loftin, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Nick Roseblood
It’s that time of year again folks, the Mercury Music Prize nominations are soon to be announced. The much coveted and lauded awards that bring connotations of British music superiority and pretty much give us and the rest of the world an insight into where British music is currently at and headed too.
Past winners have included, from the inaugural one, Primal Scream, through to Arctic Monkeys and Alt-J. PJ Harvey is the only artist so far to win twice, once in 2001 and again in 2011. This years potential nominations could contain a lot of strong contenders, many of which are newcomers and several who have been alluded by this illustrious award.
In honour of this event we’ve come up with a list of acts that we think should be nominated this year.
Du Blonde – Welcome Back to Milk
Having reinvented herself as Du Blonde, Beth Jeans Houghton created an entirely new persona. One that carries over the heartfelt lyrics of her previous work, mixed in with hard hitting punk riffs. Du Blonde is the perfect example of where the music industry should be heading, with such a focus on sexism, she has the chance to be the perfect role model. Not taking any prisoners and doing what she wants, because it’s right for her and fuck everybody else.
Chvrches – Every Open Eye
Scottish trio Chvrches have certainly not suffered the sophomore slump on their second record. Taking that “Chvrches sound”, which consists of layers of airy, dreamscape synths and using them as a canvas for lead vocalist Lauren Mayberry to lyrically paint angst filled imagery. Considering they were’t nominated in 2013 for their debut ‘The Bones of What You Believe’, it’ll be highly unlikely that the band will find themselves snubbed again, and with a strong single such as ‘Leave A Trace’, it’ll be a travesty if they aren’t.
SOAK – Before We Forgot How To Dream
SOAK has the perfect voice for a generation who are still being heartbroken and not giving a shit about anything but the now. Lyrically her strengths lie in honesty. Being honest to herself, those around her and life. She’s an underdog for the nominations, but at this stage even a nomination would do astronomical things to an already blossoming career.
JME – Integrity>
Grime is the new British movement. It’s the current vocal medium for a generation who feel confused as to what exactly the future will look like. JME is the voice that this generation needs, keeping the classic ethos but promoting positive lifestyle, with beats that are always cutting through sharp and delivering his message with intensity. Very rarely does an artist have the ability to speak for a generation with such vigour yet can still be considered easily accessible from a wider perspective. Most certainly he would be an underdog in the nominations, but with the current state of British music, anything could happen.
Sam Lee – The Fade In Time
Another good contender should be Sam Lee, a specialist in British Traditional Folk/Ancient British music. He released his third record, ‘The Fade In Time’ in March this year. Keeping the spirit and history of the country alive, and having been a student of Stanley Robertson, acclaimed Scottish storyteller and ballad singer, he would be a great representative to the world that we still care about our traditional culture.
Foals – What Went Down
Now on their fourth outing, Foals have developed their sound into playing a whole different ball game when compared to that of their debut record ‘Antidotes’. Evolving into the sonic version of taking a punch to the face and having enough guts to fight back, the’ve never sounded so strong.
Everything Everything – Get Heaven
Since breaking through our stereos in 2010 with ‘Man Alive’, Everything Everything have broken and bent every rule in the book. Mixing electronic stylings with R’n’B tinges and guitar-tone attitude, they’re hard to define into any particular genre. 2015’s ‘Get Heaven’ has seen them develop this franken-genre and fully evolve into something that is nearly unstoppable and definitely going to make them strong contenders.
Sleaford Mods – Key Markets
Politically charged music is something that has been missing from British music for a long time, obviously it’s been there in the underground scenes but in terms of being in the popular echelon, it’s been lacking. Sleaford Mods have taken care of this with their eighth outing, ‘Key Markets’, an album full of songs that call everything out that’s wrong with this country, and trying to right it. Giving the award to Mods would carve a path for the new generation of punks and public speakers to come through.
Bring Me The Horizon – That’s The Spirit
No band from the regions of metal or hardcore rock has infiltrated the popular music crowd quite like Bring Me The Horizon. Having scored a legion of fans with their early work, third time around we have a major development from the band who are quoted as saying “we’re a metal band who listen to anything but metal”. Swapping the raw, hard metal sound from the early days in lieu of a more melodic approach, the band are gaining even more momentum in become a staple of British music, close to that of forbearers Iron Maiden.
Wolf Alice – My Love Is Cool
Being a surprise new outfit for the alt-rock scene, Wolf Alice have come up fast through the ranks and are doing it in style. From numerous appearances at Glastonbury, the band have made sure no one’s going to forget their name anytime soon. Utilising the heartfelt lyricism of folk music and the power of grunge and rock, they appeal to a wide audience, particularly the younger generation, and are certainly going nowhere soon. A perfect fit for these award.
Jane Weaver – The Silver Globe
Having been involved in music in some format for almost 22 years, Jane Weaver has escaped the eye of the judging panel. She is deserved of at least a nomination finally, with her work in the folk genre, and even broadening into psych-folk. 2014’s ‘The Silver Globe’ approached the latter genre with finesse. Showing truly how to hone your craft her songs have the gathering of Laura Marling with the attack of Dylan.
Binker and Moses – Dem Ones
What Binker and Moses have effectively done it show what jazz can be in 2015. Over recent years jazz has become bloated and safe. Safe in the knowledge that it doesn’t really need to exert itself much to get its point across. Dem Ones shows that jazz can be as vibrant and exciting now as it was when Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Bud Powell and John Coltrane were creating their best work, not just by pushing themselves to the limits, but all the limts of what jazz could be.
With the shortlist announced tomorrow (16th October), the independent judges have a tough time trying to decide from what will be an incredibly diverse and talented lineup of acts, let alone trying to decide the winner.