The Nick Leeson Manganese Music Prize
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|Writer:||Darkwülf, Darren Bibby, Honch, Robin Wallace|
In response to the announcement of the shortlist for the 2012 Barclaycard Mercury Music Prize, we have created one ourselves which reflects artists and genres we feel were unfortunate to be overlooked. For our overseas readers who are unfamiliar with this highly-publicised annual event, a panel of music industry figures, journalists, musicians and knobheads decide on the cream of our musical talent, then whittle it down to 12 UK albums dating from the previous prize, before the winner is announced on the big night in October. It has been a golden ticket for some, a poisoned chalice for others. We readily accept that the prize has, in the past, brought some brilliant music into the nation's consciousness, not least last year's winner 'Let England Shake' by PJ Harvey. but we feel for all the blanket media reminders of its importance, it is a bit stale and under-representative. You can view the real 2012 shortlist here. Meanwhile, here are our 12 nominations for our own fantasy Nick Leeson Manganese Music Prize. Again, we were only allowed to select UK artists.
Darkwülf's 3 choices (shown and explained in the picture above) are:
DROKK - 'DROKK'
Holy Mountain - 'Earth Measures'
Conan - 'Monnos'
Honch's 3 choices
Demdike Stare – Elemental
Shrouded in the masterful artwork of Andy Votel, this quad fold lavish vinyl package from Burnley’s very own Demdike Stare, is without a doubt my favorite release of this year. The diversity of structures and sounds, the spectrum of timbres and the unsettling eeriness throughout 'Elemental' is a journey through your own thoughts and feelings. A sharp jagged pathway through the ether of a darkened Lancashire backstreet, with the sonic reverie of a psychedelic horror movie. You’ve seen the film Eraserhead right? Well Demdike do to your brain with audio what David Lynch did with visuals. It's proper creepy, intense and addictive.
Necro Deathmort - The Colonial Script
This bass-heavy doom duo from London mold a hard faced stomach churning mess of the blackest of electronics, reverby drums and down-tuned sub atomic riffs into the shape of a cock and fuck you right in the face. Because when you see a band described by their own label as "the aural equivalent of Satan's own crystallized jizzum" you should know that you’re going to be in with a chance of having your face turned into what looks like a plasterer’s radio. All this within the first few tracks. From then on they give you a spaff rag made from sandpaper and brillo pads to scrape away Satan’s crusty man fat and help you to your feet to retain what’s left of your dignity. Which of course they hastily remove more of with each following track.
Tall Ships – Everything's Touching
I know what you’re all thinking; ‘This album in’t out yet, whats he fuckin on with.’ Well so what, I’ve heard it and you’ll have to trust me on the fact that its worthy of such an accolade as the NLMMP. It’s a finely-honed, brilliantly recorded piece of modern guitar pop. I’ve said it before I’m going to say it again.. Tall Ships should be fucking massive. By rights they should be receiving the same acclaim as Alt-J. Let's just hope this album will be their end-of-level boss before getting up into the big leagues.
Robin Wallace's 3 choices:
Tindersticks – The Something Rain
The Fall – Ersatz GB
Beak> - >>
Stuart Staples appears to be slightly distracted; plaintive of mood with the world resting heavily upon his shoulders. The soulful world-weariness of Tindersticks, ‘The Something Rain’ making more sense as he helplessly watches The Sheffield Crooner pilfering not only his patter, but also his platitudes.
His eyes appear damp as he turns toward the window. He thinks of a dozen wicked words as he reflects on lifetime of sorrow and melancholy poured into music, overlooked in favour of a guy from The Longpigs. An awkward silence falls upon the room but is broken suddenly.
Hey there, fuck face!
The Hip Priest rests on the kitchen floor. He’s sat and drank for three decades. His face is slack. He used to be psychic, but drank his way out of it. “I’ve never felt better in my life” he says. He stares at the television, scanning the assembled throng of industry insiders and nominees. None of them have been in The Fall. Nor will they ever be. These awards mean fuck all.
The bathroom is occupied yet the door remains ajar. Darkwulf rests his elbows on his hairy thighs, gently raising onto his tiptoes; the final flurries of the Mono burger gently pebble dashing the pristine bowl....driving motorik beats carry the hot scent of lupine excreta throughout the house. “What is that?” I ask the Darkwulf. He offers his retort; “Sorry, spicy food no longer agrees with me” he mutters meekly. “No! What are these post-modern krautrock sounds that now inhabit this domicile.” He understands. “This is Beak> and they engorge the phallus with aural excitement”.
“And the winner is.....”
Fixated on the screen, we stare aghast at the pantomime unfolding.
“Is it just me or did the Mercury Award used to be a genuine alternative to the banality of mainstream pop music? What the fuck happened, Mark?”
“There’s the lay of the land, my son”.
Darren Bibby's 3 choices
There is the odd good, worthy record in there - my qualm is in the type of music that is once again not represented, namely anything approaching metal (the closest you'll get to that is Therapy?'s 'Troublegum' in 1994 or Biffy, at a push) or this time, even bold electronic music. The selections, if anything, have got progressively more conservative since the turn of the century- Autechre and Aphex Twin have received nary a nomination, EVER! The Prize's online blog says “The diminishing divide between electronic exploration and traditional guitar led Indie is a concurrent theme...” Why must this NME-friendly 'indie' playing field be so dominant (save for the token jazz / soul / folk entries, which, let's face it, never win)? Can't 'electronic exploration' be vital in itself?
Perhaps this tells us quite a bit about the comfort zones of the majority of the panel. Nothing wrong with that, but the notion that the 'taste-makers' are people who think that, say, grindcore or ambient is only discernible as a racket, beyond significant mass appeal, sits uncomfortably. It's no surprise that we question the true motives behind these closely-guarded selections/non-selections. More and more, it seems to occupy a beige media hinterland, the coffee table mesa. I suspect the type of artists I'm touting here, and indeed their fans, couldn't give a shit whether or not they're included in this kind of shortlist (by way of example, if Electric Wizard's 'Dopethrone' had stormed to victory in 2001, I can't see them stumping up the £200 nomination fee or performing 'Funeralopolis' for the assembled clitterati)– but if The Mercury Prize purports to be on the pulse of exciting popular music in Britain then it paints a pretty depressing picture, when I think the truth is a different story. Here are my nominations, some of which are anything but spring chickens; I see their current output as essential and vibrant, so view their age as an irrelevance:
Napalm Death – 'Utilitarian'
This is the problem, you confront any of this lot with something that might be uncomfortable and they'd run a mile. 'Utilitarian' subtly imbues their ferocious template with snatches of dissonant jazz, dark melody and industrial noise without ever diluting the raging politik. That's right, someone is actually saying something articulate about our current plight as nation, species and subjects. Albeit through a mouthful of corrosive gravel.
Black Moth – 'The Killing Jar'
A young band blazing a trail in the off-limits genre of heavy rock with just as much venom as their American peers. 'The Killing Jar' is such a confident, confrontational debut that it surely could displace just one of the acoustic fuckers crying about his break-up. Their riffs are weapons grade, but they have a snappy songwriting knack that makes me believe Black moth are a band who might actually benefit from this kind of exposure. 'The Killing Jar' makes me want to drink absinthe through my eyeball and pillage the nearby village of Trawden, not go down to Starbucks, plug in my laptop and 'chillax'.
Luke Haines – 9 1/2 Psychedelic Meditations on British Wrestling of the 1970s & Early 80s
Nineteen years since The Auteurs' 'New Wave' was nominated, I thought it'd be perversely apt to put forward this , given Luke Haines' likely utter indifference to this kind of sponsored gong nowadays. Haines recently wrote a piece asking what outsider art actually means, and in this context, a reasonable answer might be the kind of music made that has all the same essential ingredients as the 'insiders' (great pop songwriting, interesting arrangements), but is just that little too thorny to nestle comfortably among the showbiz suits. The heads of the table will quickly usher the kids away from these people like they would a particularly eccentric, drunk uncle who, for all his rapier wit and twisted genius, may not stand on ceremony at the dinner party and smile politely, if indeed he turns up at all. Maybe The Mercury is wary of anyone that could potentially cause da public (and potential interested parties) to drop their fork and splutter 'What the fuck was all that about?' I place Haines on a pedestal as a visionary, the Blake of British pop. He is not appreciated, but, to paraphrase the man himself, future generations will catch his fallen star. These psychedelic paeans to grotesque figures of a bygone era warp the wallpaper of your mind so quickly that there's no way any of it could be featured on one of those telecoms adverts with impeccably scruffy, kooky couples prannying about the streets like fucking 8 year olds. Which simply won't cut it in the global marketplace.
Posted: Mon 24 September 2012 Total Views: 771Views Today: 0