With the 12-strong shortlist of 2016 Hyundai Mercury Prize nominees set to be unveiled tomorrow, Music Week has served up a selection of 12 records that we think could be in the running.
Back for its 25th anniversary on Thursday, September 15 at the Eventim Apollo, the Mercury Prize returns with a new headline sponsor, new judges and a new fan vote element.
The 12 nominees will be announced on August 4 at an Albums Of The Year launch event, as well as broadcast live on BBC Radio 6 Music. The event will be immediately followed by an online poll, enabling fans to select the first of six finalists from the shortlist.
The five remaining albums and overall winner will be chosen by the Mercury Prize Judging Panel, which has added former Mercury Prize winner Jarvis Cocker, musicians Kate Tempest and Jamie Cullum, Ellie Rowsell from Wolf Alice, producer Naughty Boy and broadcaster Annie Mac to its ranks.
With so many outstanding albums eligible for selection in this year’s awards, arriving at a possible 12 contenders has been something of a headache, but here is our prediction for what the final list might look like.
David Bowie – Blackstar
A posthumous Bowie nomination could well be on the cards, for what was a challenging, experimental release that took on new meaning following the passing of the British icon.
Bat For Lashes – The Bride
Natasha Khan’s concept album about wedding day bereavement has appeared on several ‘albums of the year so far lists’. It would be no surprise to see it make Mercury’s final 12.
Savages – Adore Life
The alt rock outfit’s sophomore album built upon their abrasive debut with a more accomplished, mature sound, drawing critical acclaim across the board.
Skepta – Konnichiwa
Back with his fourth album after a five-year absence without a studio record, Skepta’s long-awaited release has taken the grime scene by storm and helped introduce the genre to a new audience.
James Blake - The Colour In Anything
The Colour In Anything is Blake’s third album to date. And it would surprise no one should it make the shortlist; given his last album Overgrown won the Mercury Prize in 2013.
Radiohead - A Moon Shaped Pool
The band’s ninth studio album has received almost unanimous praise from critics and fans alike, as the Oxford five-piece continue to push their sound in ever-new directions.
Michael Kiwanuka - Love & Hate
Kiwanuka’s second album combines everything from psychedelia and rock to soul, r ‘n’ b and jazz and is hotly tipped to make the Mercury shortlist.
Anohni – Hopelessness
Formerly known as Antony Hegarty, leader of Antony and the Johnsons, the vocalist returns as Anhoni, developing her sound with dance beats and new electronic elements.
Let’s Eat Grandma - I, Gemini
The duo’s surreal, quirky offering has certainly divided opinion, but it’s distinctive sound has proved popular with several critics this year and could place it in the running for a place on the Mercury shortlist.
The 1975 I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet SO Unaware Of It
Another album that isn’t going to be to everyone’s taste, but then The 1975 wouldn’t have it any other way. The band continue to aggravate their detractors and delight their fans in equal measure.
PJ Harvey The Hope Six Demolition Project
Could Polly Jean Harvey be looking at a Mercury Prize hat trick? She’s won it twice before so a third victory would surprise few.
Nao - For All We Know
The singer songwriter’s critically acclaimed, soul and funk inflected debut could be a surprise late contender for this year’s prize.