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Old 06-09-2013, 18:14
Stu_Mck5
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Next week the Mercury prize nominations are announced. What albums do you think should be involved?
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Old 06-09-2013, 18:16
Stu_Mck5
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Meant for this to go in the full music forum.
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Old 06-09-2013, 18:18
konebyvax
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Obviously Arctic Monkeys. That's a start anyway. My rank outsider tip is Rizzle Kicks
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Old 06-09-2013, 18:26
Smudged
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Meant for this to go in the full music forum.
I'll post my thoughts after the thread's been moved to the main forum .
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Old 06-09-2013, 18:35
konebyvax
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Smudged posting has just reminded me - Laura Marling is virtually a shoe in to be nominated - IIRC only one of her albums hasn't been nominated. The nominations will follow the standard path previous Mercurys have trodden - a couple of superstar names that won't win but will get the masses interested, a few quirky, respected but pretty low selling artists that probably will win and then a couple of toaken jazz/folk ones to make up the numbers and make sure that people know the judges really know their stuff. I mean, really know.
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Old 06-09-2013, 19:28
Smudged
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The principle of the award is great but it's really let down by the way every step of the process is done (longlist, shortlist and picking the winner) BUT it does give some exposure to decent lesser known artists/albums so it's not all bad. Will post my predictions in a little while.
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Old 06-09-2013, 19:39
konebyvax
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I think Mr McCormick made some valid (albeit scathing) points regarding the Mercury after last year's ceremony.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/m...ury-Prize.html

If you look at past winners it could be argued that it actually does nothing for their future careers beyond the initial short term surge in sales of their latest albums. There have of course been exceptions, like Arctic Monkeys, Dizzee Rascal (although I'm sure the Mercury judges didn't envisage hime going so pop after his win) but the majority of artists/bands who have won seem to have more or less disappeared from view.

Talvin Singh (I would imagine even his mother would struggle to answer if was still in the music biz)

Ms Dynamite (the less said about this the better)

M People (ditto)

Gomez (are they still around?)

Ronni Size (ditto)

Speech Debelle (last seen cooking on 'Z list Celebrity' masterchef).

Anyway, less of the curmudgeon, here's a few more predictions to add to Marling and The Monkeys (great name for a band!) and Rizzle Kicks:

Bowie

James Blake

jazz bloke/woman only their family have heard of

Folk bloke/woman - ditto

Foals

London Grammar
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Old 06-09-2013, 20:44
Theshane
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I think Mr McCormick made some valid (albeit scathing) points regarding the Mercury after last year's ceremony.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/m...ury-Prize.html

If you look at past winners it could be argued that it actually does nothing for their future careers beyond the initial short term surge in sales of their latest albums. There have of course been exceptions, like Arctic Monkeys, Dizzee Rascal (although I'm sure the Mercury judges didn't envisage hime going so pop after his win) but the majority of artists/bands who have won seem to have more or less disappeared from view.

Talvin Singh (I would imagine even his mother would struggle to answer if was still in the music biz)

Ms Dynamite (the less said about this the better)

M People (ditto)

Gomez (are they still around?)

Ronni Size (ditto)

Speech Debelle (last seen cooking on 'Z list Celebrity' masterchef).

Anyway, less of the curmudgeon, here's a few more predictions to add to Marling and The Monkeys (great name for a band!) and Rizzle Kicks:

Bowie

James Blake

jazz bloke/woman only their family have heard of

Folk bloke/woman - ditto

Foals

London Grammar
The Monkeys albums not out until Monday isn't it? I think that might just put them past the cut off for this year.

I think Marling might win it this year, unless they give it to Bowie for not being dead and making a really good album, but you never know with the Mercury Prize. Unlike the Brits, which 9 times out of 10 go for the biggest seller, or whoever bothered to appear.
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Old 06-09-2013, 20:46
Smudged
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I think Mr McCormick made some valid (albeit scathing) points regarding the Mercury after last year's ceremony.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/m...ury-Prize.html

If you look at past winners it could be argued that it actually does nothing for their future careers
I think that's a ridiculous article. He's coming across as someone who's throwing his toys out of the pram because the artist he wanted to win didn't.

I've never understood the criticism about future success. The award has got nothing to do with that and it's never claimed to be. It's purely about picking the "best" album and most artists aren't hugely successful or don't have sustained success. If you start going down that road you'd only pick already successful artists on major record labels which defeats the whole point of the award. That's what the Brits were invented for.

The real, valid criticisms are things like; artists having to pay to enter (and attend), "token" jazz and folk artists every year in a supposedly open process (why no token artists from other genres?), and the small number of people picking the winner.
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Old 06-09-2013, 21:02
constantino_chr
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I don't think the 'curse' conspiracy is valid at all, most artist cannot maintain greatness as their careers progress. The Arctic Monkeys are still very relevant and the Global success of AM will prove this.

My Tips:
Foals
Disclosure
Everything Everything
Laura Marling
Nadine Shar

Obviously, there will be albums that will miss out and unfortunately CHVRCHES won't qualify this year. All I hope is that Bowie doesn't win, The Next Day was nowhere near the best British album of the year and he wouldn't appreciate the prize anyway.
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Old 06-09-2013, 21:12
konebyvax
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I think that's a ridiculous article. He's coming across as someone who's throwing his toys out of the pram because the artist he wanted to win didn't.

I've never understood the criticism about future success. The award has got nothing to do with that and it's never claimed to be. It's purely about picking the "best" album and most artists aren't hugely successful or don't have sustained success. If you start going down that road you'd only pick already successful artists on major record labels which defeats the whole point of the award. That's what the Brits were invented for.

The real, valid criticisms are things like; artists having to pay to enter (and attend), "token" jazz and folk artists every year in a supposedly open process (why no token artists from other genres?), and the small number of people picking the winner.

Let's not forget Laura Marling won a (big!) Brit. At the time she hadn't had a single higher than #75 nor an album higher than #3. Explain that one.
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Old 06-09-2013, 21:20
konebyvax
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I don't think the 'curse' conspiracy is valid at all, most artist cannot maintain greatness as their careers progress. The Arctic Monkeys are still very relevant and the Global success of AM will prove this.

My Tips:
Foals
Disclosure
Everything Everything
Laura Marling
Nadine Shar

Obviously, there will be albums that will miss out and unfortunately CHVRCHES won't qualify this year. All I hope is that Bowie doesn't win, The Next Day was nowhere near the best British album of the year and he wouldn't appreciate the prize anyway.
I included them in my 'exceptions to the curse theory list'!
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Old 06-09-2013, 21:34
Smudged
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Let's not forget Laura Marling won a (big!) Brit. At the time she hadn't had a single higher than #75 nor an album higher than #3. Explain that one.
I'm not even going down that road as it will derail the thread.
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Old 06-09-2013, 21:46
Ciccone Youth
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...unless they give it to Bowie for not being dead and making a really good album...
[/thread]

?
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Old 06-09-2013, 21:57
Smudged
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I came across an article yesterday by Time Out which predicted pretty much all of the artists I was thinking of as the most likely to make the shortlist. So I'll just post their list as mine:

Foals
Laura Marling
Bastille
Nancy Elizabeth
Rudimental
London Grammar
Melt Yourself Down
Laura Mvula
Savages
Steve Mason
David Bowie
Disclosure

One or two of these could sneak in imo - King Krule, Daughter, Outfit, These New Puritans, Biffy Clyro, Suede, Everything Everything, James Blake, Frightened Rabbit, Primal Scream, Pet Shop Boys. If they haven't been forgotten about, there's also Jake Bugg and Bat For Lashes.

Melt Yourself Down seem the obvious choice for token jazz, although I've seen Laura Jurd mentioned.. Nancy Elizabeth is as good a choice as any for token folk but Bellowhead are a bigger name so may be more likely..

I would really like to see either Jon Hopkins, James Holden or Forest Swords on the list but it's highly unlikely (probably not even entered ).
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Old 06-09-2013, 23:20
Smudged
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I should add that London Grammar are bookies' favourite at the moment. Arctic Monkeys aren't even listed in the betting and don't seem to be mentioned in most articles. I don't know if this is because people don't realise they're eligible (like London Grammar, their album is released on the very last day of eligibility - 9th Sep), or because people know they haven't entered this year. I suspect the former and they may be on the shortlist but I don't think they'll win anyway.

I can kind of see why London Grammar are favourites but I think it's fairly open this year. Unlike the last 3 years where I thought the winners were quite predictable (The xx, PJ Harvey, Alt-J).
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Old 06-09-2013, 23:27
Theshane
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I don't know what that means.
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Old 09-09-2013, 09:47
James_Linham1
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As a Jazz fan I was annoyed enough by a couple of the comments on here to join up and have a quick rant!

konebyvax - you say 'jazz bloke/woman only their family have heard of' - whilst that's clearly phrased in a jokey/harmless way I don't like the implication anyway. Take Kit Downes who was nominated a few years ago - he has got to be one of the most exciting and talented musicians/composers in the country yet not only is he limited to be 'token' jazz act (ie in the runnings as a nod to the genre, but with no actual chance of winning), but he was ridiculed by the press (mainly for having a beard!). There was a particularly ignorant article in the sun if I remember correctly (not surprisingly I guess..). Downes and Gwilym Simcock the year after him are both ridiculously talented musicians who have made a genuinely original contribution to British music.

I am not of course saying that the competition is rubbish - great musicians end up working within a number of genres. However I do find the opinions of most 'discerning' listeners odd. They seem to be discerning enough to passionately hate packaged pop/the X-factor etc but unable to go that stage further and see that:

a) 'non-packaged' pop is still heavily packaged. Musicians are largely judged on style over substance - the fact that sometimes a band of genuinely interesting musicians making genuinely interesting music is a bit of a miracle, as the selection process seems to be only mildly connected to music at all.

b) great music exists within a number of genres so why don't most people who consider themselves 'discerning' try a bit harder and make the effort to seek out the massive amount of great music that is out there that isn't particularly in the public eye but is inherently good!

The Mercury award may not help the careers of many of the bands on there, but actually as Jazz is so poorly supported by the mainstream media, even a 'token' nomination makes a massive difference for a jazz act. Some of the most interesting music in this country at the moment (like the vast majority of interesting art) is taking place to small audiences in small clubs - this music is far more than worthy of some public attention. So that's my message to this type of 'discerning' listener - try a bit harder and the rewards will be far greater than you can possibly imagine. Jazz is mostly free of the style/excess element and there is a lot of great music out there to be heard. 'Only their family have heard of'?! - firstly not true, secondly if that is the case then it's a damn tragedy - shouldn't we do something to rectify this?

Smudged - 'why no token artists from other genres' - good point but surely this is a case to be made for a broader range of genres being covered rather than an argument for the exclusion of jazz/folk?! The wider public seem to dislike the token acts - why? Because they're not selling as many records? Maybe they should ask why they're not selling as many records - is it really anything to do with musical quality/integrity? Unlikely! Just because some genres don't fit in well with the vacuous obsessions of the media doesn't mean that this music isn't worth listening to - in fact surely it should more than often mean the opposite!

Incidentally, from what I can tell online, the big contenders for the jazz act are:

-Melt Yourself Down (a bit like Roller Trio last year, as a regular jazz listener I had never even heard of these guys until the mercury thing kicked off! All very strange... That said they've got guys from Polar Bear in so no doubt they're very good)
-Sons of Kemet
-Aquarium
-Laura Jurd


Maybe my little rant can kick off some discussion?
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Old 09-09-2013, 10:01
konebyvax
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If the Monkeys have indeed entered (can't see why not they have entered all previous times they were eligible and IIRc a nomination this year would be Alex Turner's 4th, equalling Radiohead's record tally!) and they are eligible I'm going to try and lump some money on them winning (if I can find a bookie that has any odds). Imo the band contains the nearest thing to a living musical genius we have at the moment and if Polly Jean deserves to win it twice then Mr Turner certainly does as well.

PS Apologies, James, if my comments on jazz came across as insensitive but, to be honest, I stand by my statement. It's just a bit of nonsense nominating anyone in those fields because everyone pretty much knows they are the sacrificial lambs and in there to lend some phony (not to mention incredibly unsubtle) gravitas to the awards. And why nominate an act that genuinely has no chance of winning? If anything it could be counter productive to the career of the act in question.
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Old 09-09-2013, 13:36
James_Linham1
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I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts on some of the more detailed points that I brought up actually - not meaning to have a go at you with this by the way - just think they're good points worth raising and discussing.

in answer to the very last thing:

a) jazz is so poorly supported that a mercury nomination in itself can help an act out massively - rendering the win almost an irrelevance

b) I'd agree that there's something up with the fact that a Jazz act isn't expected to win. To a fair degree the Mercury must, I suppose, appeal to the wider public in order to keep itself going - a pure musical decision might not be practical if it means lending a large amount of support to something most people aren't interested in. This is circular though as what do you think causes most of us to be exposed to the music that we find interesting? Most people aren't interested because they aren't exposed to even half of the music that they could enjoy given the chance. The question might be 'if a jazz act is nominated then why shouldn't they win?' - as opposed to 'the token jazz act will never win so why bother having them in there?.' It all comes down to money in the end clearly, but I think if we're genuinely interested in music as listeners then we surely shouldn't let that inform *us*?

Either way the Jazz nomination is a helpful tool for jazz acts (perhaps more so in context than even a win is for the other acts!) so it would be sad indeed to lose it. Also if we are arguing based upon music rather than level of celebrity (ie for the large part how much money has been pumped into the thing) then the line of argument that you are taking doesn't really hold...
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Old 09-09-2013, 14:22
thewaywardbus
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There could be nominations for Frank Turner, Peace and Swim Deep
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Old 09-09-2013, 14:41
Smudged
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Smudged - 'why no token artists from other genres' - good point but surely this is a case to be made for a broader range of genres being covered rather than an argument for the exclusion of jazz/folk?! The wider public seem to dislike the token acts - why? Because they're not selling as many records? Maybe they should ask why they're not selling as many records - is it really anything to do with musical quality/integrity? Unlikely! Just because some genres don't fit in well with the vacuous obsessions of the media doesn't mean that this music isn't worth listening to - in fact surely it should more than often mean the opposite!
I don't actually like using the word "token" to describe the artists, it does sound disdainful and I wouldn't really mind if the jazz/folk artist won one year so people stopped using it.

But....it's also meant as a criticism of the selection process/judging panel. We are told that all the albums on the longlist are voted on by dozens (or hundreds?) of industry professionals to arrive at the shortlist but somehow every year there's always one jazz and one (traditional) folk artist on the list. So people think that because of the way they've been added to the list that they don't really stand much chance of winning (and they never have of course). Now I don't really have a problem with doing that to add variety to the shortlist but as I said before, why stop there? Why not pick other genres too like electro/dance, soul, rap, rock/metal etc.

The risk of going down that road though, is that there may not be any particularly good albums from some genres in some years, so you could be lowering the quality of the list and preventing better albums from being shortlisted for the sake if variety.
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Old 09-09-2013, 15:44
James_Linham1
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I see where you're coming from - and personally I prefer it as a single award rather than being split into various categories. I think there's something refreshing about Jazz being able to compete, even if only on paper, with the more obvious popular music that dominates these kind of awards (that isn't to denigrate this music - some of it is very good!). Though perhaps idealistic surely the best solution would be for the judges to be asked to pick their choices regardless of genre (and of the level of media interest that the Mercury Prize hopes to gain from the fame of some of their choices...) Of course this is impossible as surely it is all business after all, and the parties involved won't be able to keep going if they alienate their market/audience etc etc... In this sense I think the best we can hope to achieve is that a few non-mainstream artists have the opportunity to be nominated.

In terms of the 'lowering the quality' argument - this presumes that the quality of the mainstream is regularly high enough to justify its domination of the nominations - but I and many others would argue that definitely isn't true! What's more certainly when it comes to jazz the last few years have produced a great many albums of a very consistently high quality. My point is that any given year's output in any genre may have a varying level of quality - this isn't specific to the non-mainstream and isn't really an argument against its representation. If it were specifically categorised like you suggest then yes that would be a danger but why should that necessarily be the case?

Who knows what goes on behind the scenes etc, and yes it would be great if a non-mainstream act could have the chance to win one year. But, for whatever reason they are included, the inclusion of jazz acts and others can only help to bring helpful attention to these genres that are in need of and deserving of it - so I still hold that however 'token' they are it is still a positive thing that they are included..
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Old 09-09-2013, 16:07
konebyvax
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To bar fair, James, there have been quite a few examples of non mainstream acts winning the Mercury*...but, sadly, never a jazz act. That at least should tell you the motives behind one getting nominated annually.

* Notable (?) ones being:

Talvin Singh (seriously, who??)

Speech Debelle (ditto)

Ronni Size (ditto)

Antony and the Johnsons (Not who? More like where now? But I do like him/them)

Gomez (I'd better not)

Badly Drawn Boy (so badly drawn he's now invisible)
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Old 09-09-2013, 16:37
James_Linham1
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Oh for sure! My main interest is in defending the jazz acts/scene as per my original post. The use of 'non-mainstream' probably wasn't the most apt - it was in response to the idea that selecting from a wider range of genres might weaken the overall quality. It was the best phrase I could conjure up to refer to the 'other.'
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