Tuesday, July 21st, 2009
Who Can Say
Bat For Lashes, Florence & The Machine and The Horrors among 2009 Mercury Prize nominees
BeggarsSince I went to the trouble last week of making my generally meaningless predictions for the 2009 Mercury Prize nominees, it only makes sense that I take a look at the actual shortlist – announced this morning – and compare. And the first thing that I find is that the UK’s bookies, who ostensibly do this sort of thing for living, don’t have any more clue than I do. While only one of my picks made the actual list – and really the only one I expeted to – neither of the oddmsakers’ two favourites – Doves’ Kingdom Of Rust or Little Boots’ Hands – were to be found in to this morning’s announcements, whereas perennial critical kicking bags Kasabian did. Of course, if The Horrors can put out a career-salvaging album and garner a nod, why not Kasabian? I haven’t heard it – maybe it’s brilliant. Maybe. Also surprised that La Roux made the list while Little Boots did not because, well, I much prefer Little Boots to La Roux. Go figure.
Anyways, the nominees for this year are as follows:
Bat For Lashes / Two Suns / MP3: “Glass” (live)
Speech Debelle / Speech Therapy / Video: “Go Then Bye”
Florence & The Machine / Lungs / MP3: “Kiss With A Fist”
Friendly Fires / Friendly Fires / MP3: “Jump In The Pool”
Glasvegas / Glasvegas / Video: “Geraldine”
Lisa Hannigan / Sea Sew / MP3: “Lille”
The Horrors / Primary Colours / MP3: “Sea Within A Sea”
The Invisible / The Invisible / Video: “London Girl”
Kasabian / West Rider Lunatic Pauper Asylum / Video: “Vlad The Impaler”
La Roux / La Roux / MP3: “Bulletproof” (Joe & Will Ask remix)
Led Bib / Sensible Shoes / MP3: “Yes, Again”
Sweet Billy Pilgrim / Twice Born Men / MP3: “Truth Only Smiles”
I’m sure there’ll be complaints and criticisms galore, but with almost half the list being female artists the Mercury will at least avoid the “solo white male” complaints leveled at the Polaris Prize shortlist this year, and similarly you’d never find something like contemporary jazzers Led Bib on a nomination list open to 140 critics. I don’t necessarily advocate the exclusive jury approach over the inclusive, but it does yield some interesting results.
Anyways, my money remains on Bat For Lashes – obvious, sure, but I stand by it – but I can also get behind Florence or The Horrors. Either way, I don’t really have a horse in this race, I’m just a curious bystander. BBC has launched their Mercury minisite complete with interviews with the nominees, The Guardian has already gotten fresh odds from a bookie on the shortlist, Clash comments on the list and NME‘s editors have also chimed in on who they think will take the big prize come September 8. NME has also provided a bluffer’s guide to the nominees so you can sound all knowledgeable and stuff at the water cooler (though you could probably say whatever the hell you want about any of them because your co-workers probably won’t know what the hell you’re talking about).
Oh, hello three unreleased songs from My Bloody Valentine. Did you get lost en route to the studio to be added onto those Isn’t Anything/Loveless reissues which never came out? That’s okay, leaking to the internet is probably best for everyone involved.
I had completely forgotten about the UK’s Engineers, purveyors of Pink Floyd-esque ambient rock on their self-titled debut back in 2005 but they’re still kicking and have just released their second album with Three Fact Fader, which is just as dreamy but with some more kick. The Quietus and The Line Of Best Fit have interviews with the band about their time away and their return.
Stepping back from life as a Raconteur, Brendan Benson will release a new solo album in My Old, Familiar Friend on August 18 and follow that up with a spot of touring, including an August 24 date at the Mod Club in Toronto – tickets $13.50.
Aussies An Horse must like it here – they’re back for their fourth Toronto show in six months on September 11 at the Drake Underground, tickets $10.
Brazilian psych legends Os Mutantes will release their first album in over 35 years in Haih, out September 7, and are at the Opera House on October 2, tickets $25.
Yo La Tengo are at the Opera House on October 3, meaning I have to choose between Yo La and Destroyer that same evening at the Horseshoe. I do not like these sorts of dilemmas. Their new album Popular Songs is out September 8.
Those who worship the drone and get unnerved by unnecessary key changes – hell, chord changes – will be thrilled to hear that The Raveonettes are hitting the road this Fall with The Black Angels. Full dates are still trickling out but the Toronto stop will be October 22 at the Phoenix, tickets $18.50. The Raveonettes talk to Spinner about their just-completed their new album In and Out of Control, which has a shiny release date of October 6. The Black Angels haven’t been up to much since last year’s Directions To See A Ghost. Billboard has full dates and words with Sharin Foo.
Peter Bjorn & John are back again on November 11 for another date at the Phoenix – tickets $20. They’re also at the Molson Amphitheatre this Friday, July 24, opening for Depeche Mode but if that’s news to you, you’re probably not going.
Spinner.ca’s endless feature series on the history and future of Canada’s independent music scene turns its lonely eyes to Montreal in its latest installment, talking to members past and present of Arcade Fire, The Dears and The Stills.
Tags: An Horse, Bat For Lashes, Black Angels, Brendan Benson, Editors, Engineers, Florence & The Machine, Friendly Fires, frightened rabbit, Glasvegas, Invisible, Kasabian, La Roux, Led Bib, Lisa Hannigan, Little Boots, My Bloody Valentine, Oasis, Os Mutantes, Peter Bjorn & John, Raveonettes, Speech Debelle, Sweet Billy Pilgrim, Yo La Tengo