[PLAYLIST] #1 – MERCURY MUSIC PRIZE NOMINEES

Today is the day when we will find out who out of the 12 British and Irish nominees will win this year’s Mercury Music Prize. From Slaves to SOAK and Gaz Coombes to Ghostpoet, the award each year aims to celebrate the best albums as a whole piece of work. In case you are unfamiliar with this years nominees or just want to refresh your memory, check out our story from when the announcement came last month. In the mean time we got our writers to pick their favourite tracks from previously nominated albums for our first weekly playlist. This is what they said:

GoldfrappPaper Bag

It will forever piss me off that no one ever bothered to chuck this into a Bond flick. As either a wonderfully creepy theme or just the background music to ladies in pretty dire outfit choices when gun crime is on the day’s agenda, it would have worked well. It’s an obvious stand-out from the equally eerie LP Felt Mountain, the duo’s debut that landed a Mercury Prize nod back in 2001. Paper Bag is a ghostly and strangely sexual waltz, led by a harpsicord line that harnesses a whacked-out-60s-spy-film-set-in-the-Alps feel strangely well. Finally, any track that opens with the lyric “no time to fuck / but you like the rush / where would we be without sums?” has got to be worthy of appraisal, possibly making this the first song about sex, drugs and book-keeping. Bill Baker

 

Bat For LashesDaniel

Here’s the thing: sometimes, you’re sad but you still want to dance. Well, friend, we’ve got you covered with Bat For LashesDaniel, dreamy and dramatic and danceable all at once. The singer, whose real name is Natasha Khan, has been nominated twice and is set to release her fourth album next year – hopefully Mercury Prize worthy too. She has also been keeping busy notably by working with noise-art-prog-?? band TOY under the name Sexwitch, with an album released in September of 2015. Jillian Blandenier

 

Richard HawleyDown In The Woods

This track from Richard Hawley’s album Standing At The Sky’s Edge from 2012 was a definite winner. The beginning of the tune crashes in with a dirty guitar riff that sets the groove for the entire song. With waving effects on the vocals and lyrics like: “There must be a place for us, for you and I to be as one”, creates an incredibly psychedelic tone. The finale of the song blasts a colourful guitar solo full of distortion and sharp echo’s, which gives listeners an insight into to the rockers past life. Sam Rees

 

Kaiser ChiefsEveryday I Love You Less And Less

In 2005 Kaiser Chiefs were nominated for a Mercury Prize for their album Employment, but sadly lost out to Antony and the JohnsonsI Am a Bird Now. And yes I still believe Employment should have won, even more so knowing what a timeless, banging album it still is. I mean I know it’s still the last decent musical material they put out, but the album is full of catchy, immense singles like, Everyday I Love You Less and Less, I Predict a Riot, Modern Way, You Can Have It All and Oh My God… these are still great festival bangers that everyone knows off by heart. If I could jump in a Tardis now and fly back in time and be in position to make that happen for them. I definitely would. Lydia Smedley

 

The MaccabeesWent Away

Given To The Wild was the third Maccabees album which spawned such hits as Pelican and Feel To Follow. It was nominated for the Mercury Music Prize in 2012 and was also the record which proposed a prominent sonic departure from the band’s 2007 indie roots. On Went Away – which makes an appearance on the second half of the LP – frontman Orlando Weeks’ delicate vocals smother over glistening synths and when Weeks’ sings “Hold me close don’t let me go, I need you so” the track elevates into a glorious crescendo. As part of Given To The Wild or listened to individually, this song is simply sublime. Shannon Cotton

 

M.I.AFire Fire

Back in 2005, Hounslow songstress Mathangi (better known to the world as M.I.A) released an album titled Arular. Her debut offering to the world gained so much critical acclaim that she managed to get herself shortlisted for the 2005 Mercury Prize. This album at the time was something very new and peculiar to come out of the UK music scene, blending hip-hop with this electroclash sound with such a punk rock edge to it really left this album being something fresh and original. A prime example of a stand out track from the album is track number 7, Fire Fire. Although single choices from this album such a Galang and Bucky Gone Done are such great tracks, Fire Fire is my personal favourite. The track carries a repetitive hip-hop driven beat with M.I.A hitting back at the industry for not accepting her political driven messages within her music. Connor Spilsbury-Brown

 

The HorrorsSea Within A Sea

Before 2009 The Horrors were a simple garage rock revivalist group; tight, furious, but musically not so innovative – that was in and around the time of the Strange House debut album. But in the lead up to their sophomore record, Primary Colours, this was the transformative debut single that led the band from pseudo-Cramps revivalist strutters to psychedelic kraut-rockmongers of the highest accord. Sea Within A Sea is an eight minute long epic that goes from droning indie pop song to transcendent shoegazing synth dinner bringer. Not only is it a track pivotal to the career of one of the most important bands in the British underground scene today, but it’s possibly the finest song to be on a Mercury prize nominated record since the turn of the century. Calum Cashin

 

MuseMap Of The Promblematique

Ever wanted Muse and Depeche Mode to collaborate? Then you will probably get no closer than Map Of The Problematique – and even if you never thought you needed this collaboration, after hearing this song, you will soon change your mind. It’s the fifth single from Muse’s fourth album Black Holes And Revalations. The song incorporates synthesisers over a recurring guitar line, and transports the listener to another world. It’s similar to Depeche Mode’s Enjoy The Silence,with Matt Bellamy even citing the band as an influence on the song, however it moves away from the alternative synth pop and heads towards an electronic rock sound. The song title is in reference to the book, The Limits of Growth, in which a think-tank predicts challenges the world is likely to face in the near future (it correctly predicted the 2008 economic crash). This track is a great highlight from one of Britain’s most iconic bands. Jordan Emery

 

The Boo RadleysWake Up Boo!

Stylistically the Boo Radleys might not be the coolest, the slickest or be chosen for a gentrified Shoreditch coffee shop playlist – but that’s what the Mercury Prize is all about, right? Giving recognition to artists that haven’t been marketed to oblivion and with names so obscure they’re mispronounced on stage (James Blunt instead of James Blake anyone?).

My nomination takes us back a good 20 years to 1995, when Wake Up Boo! was the title track on the nominated album Wake Up! by one hit wonders The Boo Radleys. Unadulteratedly sugary, overzealously joyful and just plain fun to listen to, Wake Up Boo! could quite easily be the soundtrack to your life on a summer’s day (and perhaps any day you’ve taken a bit too much MDMA). Despite not being the most musically brilliant track ever produced, the 60s Detroit soul driving beat and horns make it a strong contender for the sunniest track ever produced. Euphoric from start to glorious finish, it was unsurprisingly the most played single on UK radio that year, and clung to the Top 40 for more than two months, redefining the optimism of brit-pop. Anna Smith

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