2012 Mercury Prize Nominations: Listen to 5 artists you should know
Much like its other years, the 2012 Mercury Prize shortlist is yet again dominated by mostly rock-leaning artists, with other genres weaved -- or perhaps forced -- in. However, there are quite of few artists on the tally that have sold considerably fewer albums than some higher profile acts who were snubbed.
Here is the 2012 Mercury Prize Shortlist:
Alt-J "An Awesome Wave"
Ben Howard "Every Kingdom"
Django Django "Django Django"
Field Music "Plumb"
Jessie Ware "Devotion"
Lianne La Havas "Is Your Love Big Enough?"
Michael Kiwanuka "Home Again"
Plan B "Ill Manors"
Richard Hawley "Standing at the Sky’s Edge"
Roller Trio "Roller Trio"
Sam Lee "Ground Of Its Own"
The Maccabees "Given To The Wild "
Solo artist and Pulp touring guitarist Richard Hawley is the most recognizable name to ears here in the U.S., along with the familiar rock strains of the Maccabees, rapper Plan B and electro-pop singer Jessie Ware. Others like Alt-J, Roller Trio, Sam Lee and Lianne La Havas are far more under the radar than excluded Coldplay, Kate Bush, Emile Sande, Ed Sheeran and 2010 Mercury Prize winners The xx.
Of the 12 nominated artists, two are people of color and one prominently features a band member of color; and there are two are women. There's one rap artist, one English folk artist, one jazz troupe and splashes of pop all over the place despite a notable absence of a "pop-pop" act.
That's not to say the shortlist is just mostly lily-white rock and devoid of imagination. It's just kind of subdued compared to years before. The winner will be announced on Nov. 1.
Below I've pulled out videos and songs from five artists to get filled in on, including the ladies and the outliers.
Lianne La Havas
American music fans may already be familiar with Jessie Ware's first U.S. single "Wildest Moments" -- a perfect moment for sure -- but they also ought to pick up on Lianne La Havas "Forget," a track that has yet to make an impact here but has all the fixings to fulfill the mature-voiced, fully produced void in top 40 today, in Adele's general absence.
La Havas has a trill that, with the reins on, sounds cool and genuine, and when it's full-voiced can move houses from their foundations. The video for "Forget" is also likeable and powerful, a juxtaposition of her hard-working, self-fulfilling popularity with a deadbeat, acoustic guitar-strumming heartbreaker. Her point: she's the one that "tearing you apart."
Yes, that's the keyboard shortcut on a Mac for the Latin sign for Delta. Just call them Alt-J and you can throw up a triangle with your hands at their shows for posterity. This post-pop, post-rock quartet is most identifiable by its lead singer, whose vocals can put-on or -off like the guy from Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. The group effectively builds out melodic ideas and then breaks them down, sometimes by the end of the song, sometimes mid-phrase.
They're a bit beyond the boy-meets-girl narrative, and opt for movie references and their obsession with "Where the Wild Things Are." They may be the weird kid at the back of the classroom, but the vid for "Breeze Blocks" will do some hurt on your heart.
Check out my full profile on the young singer-songwriter Ben Howard here; he shares a connection with Michael Kiwanuka (also on the shortlist), as they're both on the Mumford & Sons-founded label Communion, not a bad clan to have considering the latter's worldwide acclaim now.
"Ground of Its Own" is one of the few artist debuts on the 'list, and it stands out for its learned, particular brand of folk. Many acts get dubbed "folk" if their hands hold an acoustic guitar, but Lee takes traditional songcraft and updates it more than just by plugging in. His traversing, sensual baritone works its way around English roots and folk music in a contemporary, world-aware way.
He also may get extra points for helping to promote and document songcraft for the BBC and for his reputation as an engaging live artist.
Plan B is currently dubbed the frontrunner, and you can fill in the blanks on him starting with this video for "Ill Manors," which is the tough title track to his album and the soundtrack to the film of the same name. He is certainly the most aggressive artist on this list, not just by virtue of hip-hop's nature, but in his vibrant and confrontational delivery and the ambitious vehicle of the "Ill Manors" film.
2013 | Comedy | NRSummary: Insanely funny comedy show created by Amy Schumer, who stars in brilliantly funny sketches about sex, city living, dating, and friendship.Director: Daniel Powell, Amy Schumer (creators)
Cast: Amy Schumer, Kevin Kane, Mike Houston
2013 | Drama | RSummary: Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill have boundless energy in the story of a real-life commodities crook who earned millions through scummy small-time stock trades.Director: Martin Scorsese
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie
2007 | Comedy | PGSummary: Newlyweds Nick (Ice Cube) and Suzanne (Long) decide to move to the suburbs to provide a better life for their two kids. But their idea of a dream home is disturbed by a contractor (McGinley) with a bizarre approach to business.Director: Steve Carr
Cast: John C. McGinley, Ice Cube, Nia Long, Aleisha Allen
1996 | Crime | RSummary: Jerry, a small-town Minnesota car salesman is bursting at the seams with debt... but he's got a plan. He's going to hire two thugs to kidnap his wife in a scheme to collect a hefty ransom from his wealthy father-in-law. It's going to be a snap and nobody's going to get hurt... until people start ...Director: Joel Coen
Cast: William H. Macy, Frances McDormand, Steve Buscemi, Peter Stormare
1995 | Mystery | NRSummary: Denzel Washington plays an out of work WWII vet who takes the wrong job and is soon neck-deep in a mess of politics, murder, and jazz in '40s Los Angeles.Director: Carl Franklin
Cast: Denzel Washington, Tom Sizemore, Jennifer Beals
2013 | Thriller | RSummary: Based on the true story of Daniel Lugo (Mark Wahlberg) a Miami bodybuilder who wants to live the American dream. He would like to have the money that other people have. So he enlists the help of fellow bodybuilder Adrian Doorbal (Anthony Mackie) and ex-convict, Christian bodybuilder Paul Doyle (D...Director: Michael Bay
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, Anthony Mackie, Tony Shalhoub
1997 | Crime | RSummary: Quentin Tarantino adaptats an Elmore Leonard novel into this story of a few increasingly desperate people scraping to get by.Director: Quentin Tarantino
Cast: Pam Grier, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Forster
1993 | Sports | PGSummary: Emotionally powerful sports classic featuring Sean Astin as a skinny high school kid with big football dreams and the determination to make his way towards his dream team at Notre Dame.Director: David Anspaugh
Cast: Sean Astin, Jon Favreau, Ned Beatty
2008 | Science Fiction | PGSummary: Animated series continues the story of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker as they battle the Emperor Palpatine, Count Dooku and General Grievous, but also takes time to explore other smaller characters in the Star Wars universe.Director: George Lucas (creator)
Cast: Tom Kane, Dee Bradley Baker, Matt Lanter
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