Mercury Shortlist Narrows Focus

Bye-bye jazz as Mercury judges stick to what they know. MOJO asks, Where’s James Holden?

Mercury Shortlist Narrows Focus

Jazz joined two other previously patronized music styles – folk and classical – in the generic dumper as the Mercury Prize judges delivered a shortlist that concentrated on contemporary pop, rock and dance. The 12 nominees in full…

Arctic Monkeys AM David Bowie The Next Day Disclosure Settle Foals Holy Fire Jake Bugg Jake Bugg James Blake Overgrown Jon Hopkins Immunity Laura Marling Once I Was An Eagle Laura Mvula Sing to the Moon Rudimental Home Savages Silence Yourself Villagers {Awayland}

Beyond that, surprises were perhaps at a premium. Villagers’ excellent {Awayland} (are we still doing the curly brackets?) stole a berth, reminding commentators that the Mercury acknowledges music from Great Britain and the Republic Of Ireland, while the group’s mainman Conor O’Brien pockets his second nomination for successive albums, becoming the fifth Irish nominee in 22 years. Arctic Monkeys were included although their record has only been out since Monday. Once again: no hard rock, metal or anything remotely nasty.

Would we gripe? Only perhaps at the exclusion of James Holden’s jaw-dropping The Inheritors – surely British electronic music’s album of the year so far – although nominations for James Blake and Jon Hopkins mitigate the omission.

Various MOJO office types have been wailing and gnashing about snubs to Wire, Johnny Marr, Mount Kimbie, These New Puritans, UK reggae auteur Wrongtom and another electronic landmark, Factory Floor’s self-titled debut album, also out this week. But hey, each to his own.

William Hill immediately installed David Bowie and Arctic Monkeys as joint favourites. Which shows how little they know. Anyone who’s observed the Mercurys’ methodology over the past 22 years will tell you that obviously it’s going to Laura Mvula.

The overall winner of the 2013 Prize will be announced at the Barclaycard Mercury Prize Awards Show at the Roundhouse on Wednesday October 30, 2013.