MERCURY PRIZE 2017 NOMINATIONS
It's been another outstanding year for British music and the Mercury Prize is the perfect way to celebrate that. We've had Stormzy putting Grime on the map, we've had Blossoms resurrecting guitar music and we've had Ed Sheeran who completely dominated the charts with his third studio album 'Divide'. We'll take you through the 12 nominations for this year's Prize and we'll tell you why each one of them deserves to be a winner.
Alt-J have been nominated for the Mercury Prize for the second time with their third studio album 'RELAXER'. The indie rockers from Leeds picked up a Mercury Prize back in 2012 for their debut album 'An Awesome Wave'. Since then they have had unprecedented success across the UK, Europe and America with their second album 'This Is All Yours' claiming top spot in the charts. 'Relaxer' is another brilliant album and includes hits like 'In Cold Blood' and 'Deadcrush' which are worthy of any Mercury Prize.
Listen to 'RELAXER' on Spotify below:
Get tickets for Alt-J at Blackpool Empress Ballroom HERE.
Since the release of their self-titled debut album back at the start of August 2016, Blossoms have exploded. The album 'Blossoms' went straight to number one and stayed their for 2 weeks. Reigning from Stockport in Manchester, they were tipped for huge things after releasing huge tracks from the album such as 'Blow', 'Cut Me and I'll Bleed' and 'Charlemagne'. The album was co-produced by indie rock legend James Skelly who's professional influence radiates across all the tracks on the album. Nevertheless, it's the songwriting and performance expertise of singer Tom Ogden and the lads which really make the tunes what they are.
Listen to 'Blossoms' on Spotify below:
TOGETHER, AS ONE
For many, this album is what the Mercury Prize is all about. The music composed on this wonderfully crafted album takes inspiration from genres all across the world and from different periods in time. The songs from the album sound like Laura Gurd and co have put the trumpet of Miles Davis, the rhythm of North Africa and the best of the Spanish harmonies into a songwriting machine to produce this magnificent piece of work. Another strong contender of the Mercury Prize 2017.
Listen to 'Together, As One' on Spotify below:
Once upon a time, there was a ginger lad from Halifax who used to busk on the streets to earn his money. He then wrote a little tune called 'The A Team' which went straight to number 1 and his success hasn't stopped since. He has released 3 brilliant albums, and his latest one 'Divide', is the pick of the bunch. EVERY SINGLE SONG ON THE ALBUM WAS IN THE TOP 20! Something that no artist has ever achieved before. He's collaborated with some of the world's most renowned artists and headlined the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury earlier in the summer. Although he may already be a world mega-star, the achievements Ed Sheeran has accomplished make him more than a worthy contender for the prestigious Mercury Prize.
Listen to 'Divide' on Spotify below:
HOW TO BE A HUMAN BEING
The indie rock band from Oxford are another example of the strong indie music scene in the UK right now. The songs from 'How To Be A Human Being' has over 122 million Spotify streams a lone which speaks volumes about the quality of this album. The album is full of quotes from ordinary human beings the band have encountered on tour which were secretly, creepily and brilliantly recorded on the iPhones of the band members. The result is this energetic, yet easy listening album which has subsequently been nominated for a Mercury Prize.
Listen to 'How To Be A Human Being' on Spotify below:
Another album and Mercury debutante, the 21 year old rapper from East London has shown the world exactly what he's made of with his album 'Common Sense'. The album takes inspiration from dancehall, afrobeats, hip-hop, RnB and grime. His 17 track album is evidence of the way he can jump between each genre in every tune. A real musical talent worthy of the Mercury Prize.
Listen to 'Common Sense' on Spotify below:
Get tickets for J Hus at Leeds and Norwich HERE.
LET THEM EAT CHAOS
A true artist. Spoken word, poetry, rap, playwriting, Kate Tempest can do it all, and it comes as no surprise that this isn't her first Mercury Prize nomination. Her second album 'Let Them Eat Chaos' has one of the most attention grabbing introductions on the nominee list. 'Picture A Vacuum' is a true piece of work which forces you to keep listening. You get lost in her words and her music, and before you know it, your 6 tracks deep into the album. It's impossible to pin a single genre to this album which is another thing that makes this so brilliant.
Listen to 'Let Them Eat Chaos' on Spotify below:
Benjamin Gerard Coyle-Larner, AKA Loyle Carner, has been nominated for a Mercury Prize for his debut album 'Yesterday's Gone'. For decades our friends across the pond have ruled over RnB, Rap and Hip-Hop, but Loyle Carner never got the memo. The South Londener has written an album that rivals the greats of his generation and the generation before that. 'Yesterday's Gone' tackles personal issues as loss, family and friendship and you can really hear this in the lyrics of his opening track 'The Isle Of Arran'.
Listen to 'Yesterday's Gone' on Spotify below:
Get tickets for Loyle Carner HERE.
This year's Mercury Prize is going to be a well earned award to beat any of the nominations, with albums such as this one to beat. Sampha's 'Process' is an emotional album which will touch any music fan. One song that will really grab your attention is '(No One Knows Me) Like The Piano' in which he mourns over the death of his mother who passed away after a battle with cancer. The "piano in his mothers home" is where Sampha discovered his musical talent, thus, discovering himself as a person.
Listen to 'Process' on Spotify below:
GANG SINGS & PRAYER
Arguably one of British music's most important artists right now, Stormzy has driven Grime from an underground phenomenon to the world stage. Grime music has been described as 'the punk of today' and its easy to see why. Stormzy raps about racial and social injustices as well as living a double life as a church goer. He also tackles the issue of mental health, an ever growing important issue of modern day. This album may have the power to change music and society forever, and that's why its a worthy winner of the Mercury Prize.
Listen to 'Gang Signs & Prayer' on Spotify below:
Get tickets for Stormzy at V Festival HERE.
THE BIG MOON
LOVE IN THE 4TH DIMENSION
Hard-hitting indie rock Godesses The Big Moon couldn't believe their ears when they heard they were nominated for the Mercury Prize for their debut album 'Love In The 4th Dimension'. It may have come as a surprise to them, but not as a surprise to their adoring fans. Their album is something any inspiring and well-established band would be proud of with in your face lyrics, the catchiest of melodies and in your face guitar tunes.
Listen to 'Love In The 4th Dimension' on Spotify below:
Get tickets for The Big Moon at Neighbourhood Festival HERE.
I SEE YOU
The early work and early releases of The xx were timidly brilliant. Their music was deep, yet catchy, and their presence was somewhat anxious, yet awe-inspiring. Their newest album 'I See You' sees The xx leap out of the shadows and embracing the limelight they deserve. Their music is far more upbeat, but in no sell-out way. They keep true to their musical roots but seem to have evolved onto the next level. They won the award back in 2010, but the trio are back to claim their title back.
Listen to 'I See You' on Spotify below: