Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

Mercury Music Tuesday – now with shortlist, including Villagers!

It’s that day of the year again. Sometime before noon, the Mercury Music Prize folks will announce this year’s shortlist and all hell will break loose as people argue the toss about the albums which made the cut and the …

Tue, Jul 20, 2010, 09:33

   

It’s that day of the year again. Sometime before noon, the Mercury Music Prize folks will announce this year’s shortlist and all hell will break loose as people argue the toss about the albums which made the cut and the albums which didn’t. It happens every year and, despite the annual whinge that prizes of this ilk don’t matter any more, the list will cause the usual helping of controversy. It has done so since the prize began in 1992 and will do so again this year.

The predictions are already in. Kitty Empire, Brian Boyd (who has a good track record predicting the winner) and Neil McCormick have had a go, while Ragged Words have come up with a scientific approach to the whole thing.

I’m always reluctant to make predictions about this thing for a couple of reasons. We don’t actually know who is on the judging panel and we don’t know which acts and albums have actually put themselves forward for contention – you need to apply for the Mercurys and pay a fee of around £200 and only 233 acts bothered to apply in 2007.

And, most importantly of all, the judges themselves don’t have the final say on the make-up of the shortlist. Have a read of what former judge Jude Rogers has to say about the votes of the 10 judges are collated. “How are the choices then collated?”, she asks in the piece. “Sadly, I don’t know. It remains “confidential”, but I wish that it wasn’t.” It’s this “confidential” process which ensures there’s a token jazz/folk album on the list.

Such caveats aside, I think we can expect to see The xx, Gorillaz, Laura Marling, Wild Beasts, Plan B and Foals on the list. I’d like to see Mount Kimbie there as well, but have a feeling their album may have been released too late to make the cut so the nod for the weird electronic album will go to either Bass Clef, Hudson Mohawke or Four Tet. I think we’ll see at least one (Villagers) and maybe two (Two Door Cinema Club) Irish acts on the list – in fact, leaving aside the fact that I only bet on hurling and greyhounds, I’d place a large lump of money on “Becoming A Jackal” being on that list at noon. If they want a token folk album, I hope they go for The Unthanks because “Here’s the Tender Coming” is a joy. Kele and Steve Mason are outside bets, while Mumford & Sons should make the grade and will probably win it.

We’ll publish the list when we have it, but you have two hours or so until then to make your call. Remember, though, that winning the Mercury doesn’t always amount to a hill of beans. Last year, Speech Debelle went on to sell just 13,000 copies of her “Speech Therapy” album after her win – and she can’t keep blaming her label for that.

And here’s the shortlist, sports fans. Big congratulations to Conor J O’Brien and Villagers!

Biffy Clyro “Only Revolutions” (14th Floor)
Corinne Bailey Rae “The Sea” (EMI)
Dizzee Rascal “Tongue N’ Cheek” (Dirtee Stank)
Kit Downes Trio “Golden’ (Basho) – review here in case you’re wondering WTF?
Foals “Total Life Forever” (Transgressive)
I Am Kloot “Sky At Night (Shepherd Moon/EMI)
Laura Marling “I Speak Because I Can” (Virgin)
Mumford And Sons “Sigh No More” (Island)
Paul Weller “Wake Up The Nation” (Island)
Villagers “Becoming A Jackal” (Domino)
Wild Beasts “Two Dancers” (Domino)
The xx “xx” (XL)

The winner will be announced on September 7.

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