It’s that time of year again, and the shortlist for this year’s Mercury Music Prize has hit, offering a wide and diverse range of UK and Irish artists the recognition they deserve. This year displays an obvious albeit deserved nod to the grime and hip hop albums that have dominated the scene, with Stormzy's hit debut Gang Signs and Prayers making the list, along with Common Sense, the afrobeat tinted contribution from fresh meat J Hus, and Yesterday’s Gone, Loyle Carner’s less than traditional incarnation of London hip hop. The list also recognises the NME favoured indie acts, including Stockport’s own Blossoms with their self titled album, grungy trio The Big Moon’s Love in the 4th Dimension, The xx’s dreamy follow up, I See You as well as Glass Animals’ How to Be a Human Being.
It seems that the real winners here are the promoters and festival bookers of the UK though, as we’ve got live performances from the majority of these acts to look forward to over the course of this year. Bestival will be hosting The xx, Blossoms and Loyle Carner - who will also perform at Manchester Ritz this October. J Hus will be taking on Leeds O2 Academy this October and the Warehouse Project in November, and Blossoms and Glass Animals will take to stages at both Reading and Leeds, with Glass Animals also offering their psych pop at Electric Fields along with Kate Tempest. The Big Moon come to The Plug in Sheffield late September.
The full list:
alt-j - 'Relaxer'
Blossoms - 'Blossoms'
Dinosaur - 'Together, As One'
Ed Sheeran - '÷'
Glass Animals - 'How to Be a Human Being'
J Hus - 'Common Sense'
Kate Tempest - 'Let Them Eat Chaos'
Loyle Carner - 'Yesterday’s Gone'
Sampha - 'Process'
Stormzy - 'Gang Signs & Prayer'
The Big Moon - 'Love in the 4th Dimension'
The xx - 'I See You'