Thursday, October 31st, 2013
James Blake wins Mercury Prize, hopes people will now stop asking him about tennis
Nabil ElderkinJames Blake is hardly an unknown in certain circles, but it’s understandable if he has some identity issues. He’s often mixed up with the American tennis player of the same name, and just last night at a gathering of British music industry types who ought to know better, he was introduced by BBC presenter Lauren Laverne as treacle-singing countryman James Blunt. It’s a good thing they got it right a few minutes later when he was announced winner of the 2013 Mercury Music Prize for his album Overgrown.
In doing so, he bested not only the heavily favoured (Laura Mvula), buzz bands (Disclosure), stars (Arctic Monkeys), legends (David Bowie), and underdogs (Jon Hopkins ), but allowed the genres of indie, pop, R&B, electronic, dubstep, and whatever else he might have been described as to claim victory. For a prize that inevitably leaves people crying unfair or out of touch for whatever reason, not a bad compromise. I only wish that he’d named the album after the first single so that we could make the easy – and accurate – joke about the Mercury being in Retrograde. Ah, opportunities missed.
And it makes Blake’s decision to cancel a few dates of his current North American tour to attend the Mercury ceremony look like a pretty smart move. He’s back across the pond after some celebrations, I’m sure, and will be taking the stage at The Kool Haus in Toronto on November 10. Under The Radar and Clash have conveniently-timed features on Blake
And though they didn’t win, some of the nominees were using the occasion and extra attention to unveil some goodies. David Bowie premiered a video for the James Murphy remix of “Love Is Lost” that appears on The Next Day Extra deluxe edition of his new record which comes out November 5; watch it below and read a little of the making-of for the clip via The Mirror. And five of the new songs that also appear on the Extra release are available to stream – for Canadians only – at CBC Music, although some enterprising internet-user has already ripped four of them to non-geoblocked YouTube; “God Bless The Girl” appeared on the Japanese release of The Next Day, so that doesn’t technically count as new, but you may as well stream that too.
Video: David Bowie – “Love Is Lost” (Hello Steve Reich Mix)
Stream: David Bowie – “Atomica”
Stream: David Bowie – “The Informer”
Stream: David Bowie – “Like A Rocket Man”
Stream: David Bowie – “Born In A UFO”
Stream: David Bowie – “God Bless The Girl”
Though surely relieved to have not won something they were clearly uncomfortable with, Savages still timed the release of a new video from Silence Yourself to coincide with the ceremony. Guitarist Gemma Thompson took to Tumblr to discuss the new Vonnegut-inspired clip and DIY has a cover story on the band.
Video: Savages – “Marshal Dear”
Video: Frightened Rabbit – “Holy”
Los Campesinos! have put out a new video from their latest No Blues, which is out now in the UK but doesn’t get North American release until November 12. A Heart Is A Spade, Pitchfork, and Interview talk to the band about the new record.
Video: Daughter – “Amsterdam”
Lyric Video: Blood Orange – “You’re Not Good Enough”
Video: Yuck – “Middle Sea”
Stream: Mogwai – “Remurdered”