October 30, 2013

Mercury Music Prize 2013: Our Alternative Shortlist
by Tom

by Tom Goodwyn

hmv London; 30/10/2013


hmv.com Editor. Peanut butter, punk rock and pillows.

Mercury Music Prize 2013: Our Alternative Shortlist

Some time after 9pm tonight (October 30), Lauren Laverne will announce the winner of the 2013 Mercury Music Prize at a glitzy ceremony at London's Roundhouse. Among the nominees vying for the £20,000 prize this year are Arctic Monkeys, Jake Bugg, Laura Mvula, Laura Marling and Disclosure, all of whom would be worthy winners. 

Thing is, the judging panel can only choose 12 albums to nominate each year and, as a result, lots of absolutely brilliant albums get missed out. So, with that in mind, we present our alternative shortlist, a list of albums just as worthy as any of the ones on the shortlist for tonight's awards...

Sempiternal (Deluxe)

Bring Me The Horizon – 'Sempiternal'


The Mercury Music Prize has been great at highlighting most areas of British music, but since its inception in 1992, the prize has been guilty of neglecting the UK’s thriving metal scene.

Sheffield noiseniks Bring Me The Horizon’s Sempiternal is a career-defining record and easily the best of their career so far. Mixing ambitious, soundscapey electronics with steel-plated guitar riffs, the band’s songwriting has come on in  leaps and bounds. Tracks like ‘House Of Wolves’, ‘Can You Feel My Heart?’ and ‘Sleepwalking’ are the songs of a band on the absolute top of their game. One of the year’s best, in any genre.


Everything Everything – 'Arc'


The Manchester quartet’s second effort Arc took their wonky, studious take on pop music to a new level, with songs that match the ambition of their creators. With tracks, like ‘Kemosabe’ and ‘Torso Of The Week’, which combine supremely catchy choruses with innovative arrangements, Everything Everything show why they are still one of the most exciting bands in the UK.


Biffy Clyro - 'Opposites'


This is the album that Biffy Clyro have been building towards since they first shuffled out of Kilmarnock in the late 1990s. As well as being crammed to the gills with huge choruses, this double album is still full of the jagged edges and quirks that have made so many people fall in love with Biffy over the years. The band threw the kitchen sink at this record, with bagpipes, kazoos, a mariachi band, tap dancing, church organ and tubular bells all playing some part. It’s still brilliant, mind.

The 1975

The 1975 - 'The 1975'


For pure pop delight, there’s not been too many better records released this year than The 1975’s self-titled debut album. The whole album sounds like the best cuts from the soundtracks to those classic John Hughes teen movies. Tracks like ‘Girls’, ‘Chocolate’ and ‘She Way Out’ will have you humming for hours after.


Delphic - 'Collections'


This slipped out in February without much fanfare, but it’s well worthwhile going back to. Heavily inspired by US R’N’B, but mixed with UK indie sensibilities, this takes two or three listens but will soon be a fixture on your stereo.

Pedestrian Verse

Frightened Rabbit – 'Pedestrian Verse'


The Scottish folk troubadours have spent years as a few people’s favourite bands, but they really stepped up this time with Pedestrian Verse. Inspired by classic folk like The Band and Neil Young, this record has a rollicking pace, but with the same wistful tenderness that filled the band’s early records.

About Time

Angel - 'About Time'


It’s not been an outstanding year for British hip-hop, but West London rapper Angel has emerged as one of the genre’s most exciting voices. Laid-back and soulful, but full of wit and insight, this is well worth seeking out.

Wolf's Law

The Joy Formidable – 'Wolf’s Law'


This came out quietly in early January, but remains of the year’s best records. The Welsh trio combine the best bits of Sonic Youth-esque alt. rock with big blustery riffs. Easily one of the best rock records released this year.

Bad Blood

Bastille - 'Bad Blood'


If you’d assumed Bastille were a band who live and die by their singles, then you’d be very wrong indeed. Their debut record Bad Blood is full of slick, supremely catching pop songs and well worth listening to as a whole, rather than dipping in and out of.

The Ascent

Wiley – 'The Ascent'


He might be more famous for his frequent Twitter meltdowns these days, but Wiley remains one of the UK’s most interesting and unique artists. This record, which is his ninth full-length effort, is full of bouncy beats, his classic irreverent rhymes and big name guests like Tulisa, Tinchy Stryder and Emeli Sande. He’s volatile for sure, but still as vital as ever.

Tomorrow's Harvest

Boards Of Canada – 'Tomorrow’s Harvest'


The Scottish duo’s fourth album is unlikely to push them into the mainstream, but it’s just as beautiful as their previous efforts. Full of glacial soundscapes and ethereal wonder, it reaffirms the pair’s position as one of Britain’s most undervalued, but beloved bands. 

18 Months

Calvin Harris - '18 Months'


Does Calvin Harris need his profile boosting? Of course not. But you could equally say the same thing about Arctic Monkeys. For the sheer amount of huge hits on this album, the Dumfries superstar DJ absolutely deserves to be in contention.