Bowie's final album 'Blackstar', along with 11 other British albums released in the last year, made the shortlist announced on Thursday.
Radiohead, Skepta, The 1975 and the late David Bowie are the big names to have been shortlisted for the 2016 Hyundai Mercury Music Prize, with Adele and previous winner James Blake the notable absences.
The 12-strong shortlist, picked by a panel of music critics, industry figures and artists, was announced on Thursday morning (August 4th) on BBC Radio 6 Music. David Bowie’s 25th and final album Blackstar, released just two days before his death in January this year, is already being touted as one of the favourites to win the overall prize when the winner is announced on September 15th.
Radiohead’s recent album A Moon Shaped Pool makes the Oxford five-piece the most nominated act in Mercury Prize history. Their albums OK Computer, Amnesiac, Hail To the Thief and In Rainbows all made shortlists in previous years, and this doesn’t even count lead singer Thom Yorke’s nomination for his 2006 solo album The Eraser. However, they have not yet won the award.
The Bat For Lashes singer has teamed up with Jon Hopkins to create the tear-jerker track.
Bat For Lashes' Natasha Khan and music producer Jon Hopkins have joined their creative forces to bring the official soundtrack song for upcoming war thriller, How I Live Now. Jon Hopkins had been working on the Kevin Macdonald-directed film's soundtrack when he decided to invite the exquisite vocals of Khan.
With an opening akin to The Stone Roses' 'I Wanna Be Adored,' the track is built around a softly thrumming bassline; a beating heart-style rhythm that keeps pace whilst Khan's ever-ethereal, mournful vocals sing of being "far away" from someone.
The band are the likely winners of the Ivor Novello for Best Contemporary Song.
Mercury Music Prize winners Alt-J could well be adding an Ivor Novello award to their collection of gongs, NME announced today (April 17, 2013). The band have been nominated in the Best Contemporary Song category for their song Fitzpleasure, alongside Plan B’s Ill Manors and The Maccabees Pelican. Alt J won last year’s Mercury Music Prize for their debut album An Awesome Wave. The album has also been nominated in the Album Award category, alongside Beon Howard’s Every Kingdom and Lianne La Havas’ Is Your Love Big Enough?
The awards ceremony celebrates songwriting ability and the remainder of the categories are Best Song Musically and Lyrically, Best Contemporary Song, PRS for Music Most Performed Work, Best Original Film Score and Best Television Soundtrack.
The full list of nominees is below. The 58th annual Ivor Novello awards will take place on May 16th, 2013 at London’s Grosvenor House.
Continue reading: Will Alt J Add An Ivor Novello Award To Their Mercury Gong?
This year’s Brit Awards nominations look as though they were concocted by a group of strangers, with wildly different cultural backgrounds, on a drunken night out. Is this a sign that the mainstream music world is finally starting to accept that it’s becoming more and more acceptable to have diverse musical tastes? Or are the organisers of the BRITS simply trying to spark controversy? have they lost the plot? Or is this an honest reflection of the mindset of a 2013 British music buying public? Let’s take a look at the evidence, and scrutinise some of the more baffling categories…
British Female Solo Artist Nominees – One of the more sensitive and contentious issues, here, in the British female solo artist category. Of the five nominees, only four of them were alive this year. We understand that Amy Winehouse has a lasting legacy in British pop music. We understand that she was – and, in many ways remains - a tour de force. But, for the sake of the awards, we simply have to ask, at the risk of sounding flippant, what has Amy Winehouse done for British music in the last 12 months? Sadly, nothing. Her posthumous album (released in December 2011, we should add), Lioness: Hidden Treasures was politely and quietly denounced for being little more than cuttings from the studio floor. We simply can’t get our heads around her inclusion on this list. With Bat For Lashes throw in as the ‘alternative’ wild card, to lend a touch of outsider cool to the category, it’s between Emeli Sande, Paloma Faith and Jessie Ware to catch this one, we reckon.
Continue reading: BRIT Awards 2013 Nominees Announced: Diverse? Or Just Weird?
In 2006, Natasha Khan, aka Bat For Lashes, released her debut album Fur And Gold. However, it was not until she appeared on the (formerly less bloated and more focused) Culture Show in February 2007 that I paid her much attention. Her voice, the arrangement, her character, the performance and the overall song were all utterly individual and completely captivating; almost instantaneously substantiating the old adage that first impressions really do make the strongest of impressions. Later that same year she and her band appeared at Glastonbury, performing a stunning (televised) set drawn from the Mercury nominated album. As well as showcasing what a unique and formidably talented performer she is, this performance, for me at least, also served to qualify and validate my opinion that Natasha Khan is a truly remarkable artist.
In 2009, Khan released her second album, Two Suns, garnering further critical acclaim, another Mercury Music Prize nomination and a wider audience. Familiar themes of love, relationships, treasure, celestial bodies and dreams continued to run through her song writing but the new material definitely highlighted a more accomplished, assured Khan expressing herself with a justifiable confidence.
The latest album from Bat For Lashes, The Haunted Man, is a another move forward for Khan. It still plays on her strengths and yet again reminds us what a terrific singer-songwriter she is. This time around she has also employed the skills of some prodigious talent (Beck, Rob Ellis, Adrian Utley) as well as trusted producer David Kosten to aid and abet her to make another stunning album.
Continue reading: Bat For Lashes - Haunted Man Album Review
Albums of Note... That 'difficult second album' phase is probably even more difficult when - in between your first and second album - you have performed at the Royal wedding, had your songs splashed all over the TV, dumped one of the UK's best-known radio DJs (Greg James) and started dating one of the United States' best-known producers (Skrillex). Ellie Goulding seems to have done a solid job of navigating the pressures of retaining her identity, whilst no doubt being squeezed by her record label. Overall though, Halcyonis not quite the blast of personality that we expected from Goulding: "The most disappointing thing is that they've not even really allowed Goulding's voice to flourish. She has a vocal that's pleasant if not exactly stand out, but all life in it's been stamped out through auto-tuning and correction, the singer sounding as though she's being possessed by the spirit of nothing at all."
Tall Ships are beginning to gather serious momentum on the live circuit in the UK and their debut album, Everything Touching cements that reputation. It's by no means a perfect debut but Tall Ships are already breaking free of the 'math rock' parameters that have been loosely placed about them. "The majority of the ten tracks are instrumentally intense with sounds overlapping and complimenting each other. An intriguing debut from Tall Ships, but there's just a spark missing. They should cut down on the instrumentals and replace with some words because, when they're used, the science and instrumental beauty are amplified perfectly."
Natasha Kahn, or Bat For Lashes as she is better known, appears completely nude on the cover of her new album, The Haunted Man, (with the obvious bits covered up of course), and whilst the album has received near universal praise from critics, it has also whipped up quite a storm due to the ‘explicit’ cover.
In light of this controversy, Kahn has admitted that she herself is thoroughly shocked at the amount of criticism the album cover has garnered, citing the fact that the music industry is awash with overtly sexual representation of women, so then why should her album cover be any different.
Speaking to Spinner magazine, she went on to add, "I think it freaks people out because I've got no makeup on, there's no retouching. It's super-raw and wild and black and white. But that's what Patti Smith did, that's what PJ Harvey did, that's what all the coolest people have done, from my icons anyway."
Continue reading: Album Cover Controversy Confuses Bat For Lashes’ Natasha Kahn
Date of birth
25th October, 1979