FacebookThe twelve album shortlist for the 2012 Mercury Prize, awarded to the best – by whatever standard the judges choose to use – British or Irish album of the past twelve months was announced yesterday, and I was pleased to see that Richard Hawley made the cut because I get to use the clever (by my standards, at least) post title above and use this sharp photo of Mr. Hawley adjusting his specs.
Truth be told, I’m a bit surprised that Standing at the Sky’s Edge made the cut. Hawley shortlisted before with 2006′s Cole’s Corner, which is as perfect example of what he’s come to be known for in his solo career – classically-styled and richly-adorned romantic pop showcasing his deep baritone and twanging guitarwork – so to recognize him again for a record that seeks to distance itself from that stereotype by way of psychedelic rock jams is a touch unexpected. I personally like the record as it really lets Hawley rip on guitar in a way that he doesn’t typically – it’s louder and rawer but still unimpeachably tasteful – but I do hope it’s more a stylistic sidebar rather than new direction because, well, everyone likes the croony Rich.
To hear both sides impeccably presented, I highly recommend cueing up this live performance at the BBC last weekend where Hawley, in his hometown of Sheffield, is accompanied for two career-spanning sets by the BBC Philharmonic. It’s as gorgeous sounding as it would appear on paper, and as BBC doesn’t like to archive their stuff indefinitely, it’s only available to stream for a couple more days. Hopefully eventually it’ll be given a live release because, well, it should. Hop to the 32 minute mark to hear Jarvis Cocker’s introduction – Jarvis should always be heard – or to the 35th minute for the start of the show. And while you’re at it, read these features interviews at Toast, The Sheffield Telegraph, and The Belfast Telegraph. Also, watch this studio session video for his new single.
Video: Richard Hawley – “Seek It” (live at Yellow Arch Studios)
As for the rest of the Mercury nominees, they line up as follows. And as has become a habit, more than a few of them are coming through town in the next few weeks – Alt-J at Wrongbar on September 19, Ben Howard at Sound Academy on September 24, and Django Django at Wrongbar on September 25. Not Hawley though – he hasn’t been back since December 2007, but hey – we can hope.
Billboard and The Quietus collect some nominee reactions. The winner of the 2012 Mercury Prize will be announced on November 1.
Alt-J / An Awesome Wave / MP3: “Tessalate”
Django Django / Django Django / MP3: “Default”
Field Music / Plumb / MP3: “A New Town”
Ben Howard / Every Kingdom / Video: “Keep Your Head Up”
Richard Hawley / Standing at the Sky’s Edge / MP3: “Down In The Woods”
Michael Kiwanuka / Home Again / MP3: “Tell Me A Tale”
Lianne La Havas / Is Your Love Big Enough? / Video: “Lost & Found”
Sam Lee / Ground of its Own / Stream: “George Collins”
The Maccabees / Given To The Wild / MP3: “Go”
Plan B / Ill Manors / Video: “Ill Manors”
Roller Trio / Roller Trio / Video: “R-O-R’”
Jessie Ware / Devotion / Video: “Wildest Moments”
The Guardian has an interview, MTV a bluffer’s guide, and Baeble Music a video session with Alt-J, who’ve just debuted a new video and are presently favoured to win the big prize.
Video: Alt-J – “Fitzpleasure”
Pitchfork has details on Field Music’s forthcoming covers mini-album Playm, due out later this Fall.
Mumford & Sons have released a video from their new album Babel, due out September 25.
Video: Mumford & Sons – “I Will Wait”
Rolling Stone has premiered a track from Tim Burgess of The Charlatans’ new solo record Oh No I Love You, out October 1 in the UK. The Independent also has an interview with Burgess, who reveals that a new Charlatans album will be on the way sometime next year.
MP3: Tim Burgess – “A Case For Vinyl”
Video: Tim Burgess – “White”
Neil Halstead has released a video from his new album Palindrome Hunches, and it gives you a pretty good idea of what his show at The Dakota on October 8 will look like.
Video: Neil Halstead – “Digging Shelters”
Frightened Rabbit are previewing their new State Hospital EP every which way ahead of its release on September 25. The video for the title track was revealed a couple weeks back and now Drowned In Sound has an acoustic video performance of that same tune and DIY has an acoustic demo video of the song, “Boxing Night”. The band are at The Mod Club on October 10 and Mark Grainger writes and Clash have interviews with Scott Hutchison.
Billboard and State talk to Two Door Cinema Club, in town at the Sound Academy on October 11.
The Guardian talks to Natasha Khan of Bat For Lashes. Her new album The Haunted Man is out October 23.
Consequence Of Sound has the full routing of the Saint Etienne Fall North American tour, which kicks off October 24 in Toronto at the Opera House, and adds an interview with singer Sarah Cracknell for good measure.
The Joy Formidable have offered the first video from their new album Wolf’s Law, due out in January. That’s right – the song of the same name for which they released a video last month won’t actually appear on the album.
Video: The Joy Formidable – “Cholla”
Clash meets Hot Chip. Pretty sure they’ve met before, but whatever. Exclaim and The Georgia Straight also have chats.
DIY and Uncut celebrate the 20th anniversary of Ride’s seminal Going Blank Again by talk to Mark Gardener and Andy Bell, respectively.
The Quietus gets an update from Brett Anderson about how recording sessions for that new Suede album are going. How well? Well enough that Brett Anderson is willing to talk about it.
Noel Gallagher gives NME some odds for an Oasis reunion – not good.
Spinner talks to Stevie Jackson about going it solo for a bit.
Wild Peace, the dreampoppy debut from London’s Echo Lake has been out for a while but due to tragic circumstances – drummer Pete Hayes passed away days before it was released in June – so they’re just getting back to doing press for it now. Drowned In Sound has a complete stream of the album along with song-by-song annotations by the band.
Video: Echo Lake – “Wild Peace”
Video: Echo Lake – “In Dreams”
Stream: Echo Lake / Wild Peace
Spinner chats with Florence Welch of Florence & The Machine.
NPR welcomes Bloc Party for a KCRW session.
Elbow bassist Pete Turner talks to NME about their just-released Dead In The Boot b-sides comp, as well as their plans for their next proper studio album.
Under The Radar presents a video session with Anna Calvi comprised of original instrumentals recorded at and inspired by works in the Tate Modern in London.
NPR, The Los Angeles Times, Digital Spy, and PopMatters interview Pet Shop Boys about their new album Elysium.
There’s a video for the first new Dubstar song in forever – it was originally released in time for Record Store Day in the Spring. A new album is allegedly in the works.
Video: Dubstar – “Circle Turns”
State chats with The Futureheads.
The Grid and The National Post talk to The xx.
DIY and Spinner have features on The Vaccines.
Spinner has an interview and The Line Of Best Fit a video session with Charli XCX.
Clash and The Quietus have features on TOY, but don’t use the all-caps presentation so since I presume they’d know better than I, henceforth neither shall I. Toy. There you still. Still a rubbish name.