Another year and another baffling Mercury prize short list.
Not that’s it’s a bad list. There’s some ok stuff kicking around in there, from Richard Hawley to some underground scurrying but as ever it’s so Islington dinner party, so careful, so metropolitan media friendly and bares little relation to all the fantastic music that has been released in the last year.
I’m never sure what the criterian for the awards are…it’s not for the most innovative or most important releases surely?
I guess that’s the nature of these things- whatever you put up on the list everyone is going to call for their favourites but with no Kate Bush, no rock and mostly the sort of indie the Guardian likes it’s a very narrow field and makes the UK music scene seem very timid and tame in 2012 when it is quite the opposite.
This would not be a problem if it didn’t get such an enormous media presence and in these times when there is so little music on TV- just X Factor or Jools Holland/Glastonbury/Mercury scene bands then the rest of the music that gets made is left out of the party.
It’s the fear of rock that really stands out. Anything that is too guitar oriented or too heavy for airplay on 6music will never make the list and this always tips it into hip easy listing mode. Each album on there has it moments- Richard Hawley is a damn fine release- it’s just that all together it all seems a bit, dull.
Ben Howard, Every Kingdom
Django Django, Django Django
Field Music, Plumb
Jessie Ware, Devotion
Lianne La Havas, Is Your Love Big Enough?
Michael Kiwanuka, Home Again
Plan B, ill Manors
Richard Hawley, Standing at the Sky’s Edge
Roller Trio, Roller Trio
Sam Lee, Ground of Its Own
The Maccabees, Given to the Wild