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This year’s Mercury Prize nominations have been announced


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It’s that time of year again, and this year’s shortlist for the 2016 Mercury Prize Award has been announced.

With a posthumous nomination, runners for UK grime and probably the longest album title to have been considered, this year’s list has been shaken up; despite seven albums having reached the UK top 10, and four bagging the top spot.

This year, the public can vote for their favourites of the finalists for the first time online.

Leaving six finalists where the original deciding, Hyundai Mercury Prize Judging Panel (including Jessie Ware, Wolf Alice’s Ellie Rowsell, producer Naughty Boy, and broadcaster Clara Amfo), will decide their winner.

The finalists and winner, who will be following in last year’s wild card winner, Benjamin Clementine’s footstep, will all be announced during the Awards Show on 15th September.

Anohni - Hopelessness

Formerly making music as Antony Hegarty, the lead singer of Antony and the Johnson, Hopelessness is the debut solo album from Anohni. Released back in May, the record was co-produced by Anohni with collaborators Oneohtrix Point Never (aka Daniel Lopatin) and Hudson Mohawke (aka Ross Burchard).

All about radical change, tracks like ‘4 Degrees’ and its title reflect on the world and the actions of humanity, with poignant focus on nature and war. Light and shade come out to play as rich wine vocals lather speckled electronics.

Bat For Lashes - The Bride

A concept album about a tragic wedding day, where her groom, Joe, dies in a car crash on the way to the church; there’s grief, anger and aching. The fourth full length from Natasha Khan, her slow storytelling is linked to a short film that she had madeand Joe is a metaphor which she used to explore love. Faerie vocals spin tales of old myths of ‘The Widow’, and doomed lullabies.

David Bowie - Blackstar

The world was shaken when we lost the legendary David Bowie earlier this year. As a parting gift, he left his twenty fifth studio album which was released on his 69th birthday, two days before his passing. Recorded whilst fighting liver cancer, the lyrics come from the heart of a man who knew death was close. Intense, beautiful and accompanied by a New York jazz combo.

Jamie Woon - Making Time

Released last year, the second album from the electronica wizard tuned into the soul of 90s neo soul. Breaking away from the critics encouragement to revive dubstep, the Londoner instead made time for groovy bass and R&B glam. It was much appreciated after a five year break, where we only heard him make a brief stint on Disclosure’s debut.

Kano - Made in the Manor

The fifth album from the man waving the flag for British hip hop is full of ‘New Banger(s)’. With the unfair dismissal of grime at recent British award ceremonies, Kano slots in a way that is impossible to ignore. His first appearance in six years smashed to number 8 in the UK charts. Beats and energy a plenty, with references to all things British; fish n chips and Wagon Wheels, they don’t disguise the depth of the honesty in more melancholic and brutal tracks.

Laura Mvula - The Dreaming Room

Bringing soul from Birmingham, the follow up to her debut is conducted and written by Mvula. Joined exclusively by Troy Miller, it is heavily produced by the instrumental crew that make up The London Symphony Orchestra. Angelic vocals flutter both happily and sadly, changing emotions both quickly and delicately, reflecting on her recent divorce. Flourished with cameos from Wretch 32 and Nile Rogers to spice things up.

Michael Kiwanuka - Love & Hate

Only a month old, can it follow its predecessor and bag the London singer-songwriter two wins from two albums? With big boots to fill from Home Again, it’s lashed with old Americana and filled with gospel soul. Produced by Danger Mouse, Inflo and Paul Butler, a listener is introduced by opener ‘Cold Little Heart’, which just falls short of ten minutes.

Radiohead - A Moon Shaped Pool

The much anticipated and much adored ninth album from the band that need little introduction. Only starting promotion a week before its release with singles ‘Burn The Witch’ and ‘Daydreaming’ their music videos alone were enough to ignite frenzied interest. With tracks like ‘True Love Waits’ dating back to 1995 and ‘Present Tense’ to 2008, Radiohead fanatics will have been introduced before.

Savages - Adore Life

Their sophomore album blends melodic harmonies with gritty, hard rock. The post-punkers signed to Matador, were said to have loosened up since their first release. With a hair down, rebel feel, the moodiness is still there three years on.

Skepta - Konnichiwa

After a few delays, Skepta dropped his fourth studio album in May. Launched at a party in Tokyo the night before, it was broadcasted live as Skepta performed the album in full. Saying previously that the album is like a movie, and comparing the emotions behind it to the ones that he has for Drake, it met much excitement for the UK grime scene. Defining British street music.

The 1975 - I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it

Known and adored for their cryptic way; The 1975’s random departure from the web and abandoning of their black and white style for a new neon pink outfit revved up the anticipation for new music. Full of satire ‘Love Me’ and wit ‘UGH!’, the 17 track record became the group’s second number one album and shot them to the top in the US.

The Comet Is Coming - Channel the Spirits

The debut from the psych electric band, it is described by its label as “the beginning of the end”. With sci-fi references, lashings of jazz and a cosmic scope, band member Betamix Killer said in an interview that the album is “a soundtrack to planet Earth’s doom.”

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