With the Mercury Music Prize releasing their shortlist last week, we thought it was paramount to get you clued up on some of the nominees. The list included those who have managed to become a household name worldwide, with the likes of Stormzy’s Gang Signs and Prayers and Ed Sheeran’s ÷, being among those newcomers such as J Hus and The Big Moon. With all of them completely deserved of the prize, it’s anybody’s guess who will be crowned, but here’s some essential listening for some of those shortlisted to give you an insight into why they were nominated in the first place.
Loyle Carner - No CD
That bass heavy hook should be more than enough to fuel the fire when it comes to being a Loyle Carner fan, but just in case that wasn’t catchy enough, Carner’s adds his unique spoken word style flow, allowing his South London accent to seep through creating his own take on British hip hop that is surely what gained him this nomination. The audible breaths and fret slides highlight the stripped back rawness of his debut Yesterday’s Gone, which also includes candid conversations with his mum - who has a starring role in the video for this song.
The Big Moon - Sucker
There’s a lot of love for debut releases in this year’s shortlist, with The Big Moon’s Love in the 4th Dimension being no exception. Their nostalgic take on indie sees the quartet deliver catchy riffs combined with jangly chords, extensive percussion and topped off with their own twist. Displayed in ‘Sucker’, the four piece band add their own gritty vocals and sound clips displaying their fun nature with laughter and wolf howls to the base of the indie sound that dominated the noughties.
The Big Moon come to The Plug in Sheffield on Monday 25th September.
J Hus - Friendly
There’s a few things we’ve learned from this song, that J Hus doesn’t like ice with his Fanta and that he also has an exceptional talent in knowing when a chicken needs seasoning - that’s at least the interpretation we’re making. Even though it was his hit ‘Did You See’ that seemed to be the standout single of his first full length release Common Sense, this closing track is essential listening due to the bouncing Jamaican tinted beats that also flow throughout the entirety of the album, as well as the contagious dance style hook that can force the most reserved of people to end up swaying their hips, or at the very least tapping their foot.
J Hus claims shows this year, including appearances at this year’s Reading and Leeds festivals, a date at Victoria Warehouse, as well as a feature in this year’s Warehouse Project as part of Annie Mac Presents. He also has a date at Leeds O2 Academy in October.
Kate Tempest - Europe is Lost
After a period of political uncertainty that consumed the majority of the country, Kate Tempest offers a commentary many can relate to or at the very least empathise with. Her views and personal experiences are told almost venomously through a quirky flow over repetitive and unconventional rhythms. ‘Europe is Lost’ not only encapsulates the feelings of an entire generation’s dissatisfaction with current affairs, but the accounts of other people’s lives is an eye opener and her clever lyrics have the potential to open up discourse and debate.
Kate Tempest will be performing her poetry at Electric Fields, in Drumlanrig Castle in the Scottish Dumfries and Galloway across the first weekend of September, starting Friday 1st and coming to its finale on Sunday 3rd.
The XX - On Hold
Having already been awarded the Mercury Music Prize for their debut xx, the alternative indie duo are here once more to prove that not only was it not a fluke, but that they’ve also managed to develop their sound into something layered with elements from a number of genres. ‘Hold On’ brings together their stand out ethereal vocals along with an interesting hip hop style beat, completing a sound that differs entirely from their previous releases and showcasing the duo’s versatility, while still being able to deliver the distinctive features that make them so recognisable.
The XX will be headlining Bestival in Lulworth Castle, Exeter this September.
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