Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Mercury shortlist shoots out

We've kind of forgotten the aim of the Mercury Prize - beyond promoting a now-defunct telecommunications company, of course - because we're sure nobody would have set out to create a prize like the one they've ended up with. That said, this year's shortlist actually functions as a useful guide to just-off-mainstream British music in the last twelve months, if you accept Adele as being, you know, slightly edgy, and with the proviso that there's no reason why Rachel Unthank and the Winterset should be locked away in some rock genre.

Once again, there is a disappointing shortage of black artists - Estelle apart - and the British Asian scene is ignored completely.

The shortlist in full:

* Adele - 19
* British Sea Power - Do You Like Rock Music?
* Burial - Untrue
* Elbow - The Seldom Seen Kid
* Estelle - Shine
* Laura Marling - Alas I Cannot Swim
* Neon Neon - Stainless Style
* Portico Quartet - Knee-Deep In The North Sea
* Rachel Unthank & The Winterset - The Bairns
* Radiohead - In Rainbows
* Robert Plant & Alison Krauss - Raising Sand
* The Last Shadow Puppets - The Age Of The Understatement

If I was a betting man, I'd be doing a blog about greyhounds. Nevertheless, given the ability of Mercury judges to have a great shortlist and still crown a Richard III, we'd guess Elbow will carry the day. We're cheering for Laura Marling, though.