Rolling Stone

It’s only been a few hours since the Mercury Shortlist was announced and already a bloodthirsty cohort of baying hounds is chomping at the bit, desirous to sink their well honed canines into its juicy flesh.

Fee, Fi, Fo, Fum, they smell the blood of more than a few Englishmen, cannibalistic appetite whetted, wolverine mouths salivating.

Why? Easy! These days, all anyone has to do to stir the blood of the whack-pack is print two words. Ed Sheeran.

The sheer mention of his name is enough to set every snarky schnauzer in the extended media pack barking their sardonic heads off. Having said that, some of the other nominees haven’t gone down too well either.

The inclusion of The XX, Blossoms and Alt-J has in some quarters, sunk heavier than your proverbial ton of lead.

For those who don’t have their snouts cocked so high in the air that they can’t see the gargantuan chips on their own shoulders through their green tinted eyes, the list is a diverse and refreshing combination of contemporary pop, spoken word social commentary, 21st century alt-rock, freestyle grime cum hip hop and much more.

Additions to this year’s judging panel include Marcus Mumford, Lianne La Havas, Ella Eyre, and DJ MistaJam. Singer Jessie Ware and jazzster Jamie Cullum are also on the panel along with broadcaster Clara Amfo, and Head of Music at BBC 6 Music and Radio 2, Jeff Smith.

The Hyundai Mercury Prize Awards Show will take place at Eventim Apollo, Hammersmith on Thursday, 14th September, with most of the nominees expected to perform on the night.

This prestigious annual prize recognises the best album from the UK and Ireland, however, notwithstanding the fact Sheeran might be Ireland’s adopted ‘looper’, this year’s shortlist is decidedly short on Irish entries.

An interesting situation indeed, given that the Irish music scene, which has never been stronger, is currently undergoing something of a cross-genre, multi-cultural renaissance.

And the nominees are,

Alt-J: ‘Relaxer’
Blossoms: ‘Blossoms’
Dinosaur: ‘Together, As One’
Ed Sheeran: ‘Divide’
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 Fourth Dimension’
The xx: ‘I See You’

While one might expect hip hopper Stormzy to be immediately installed as bookies favourite, it could very well be that fellow grimer Skepta’s 2016 win with Konnichiwa might have inadvertently put paid to the Croydon native’s chances of a win!

DervSwerve’s top tips would be Dinosaur or Kate Tempest, however, the Mercury Prize has an uncanny track record of throwing up the least obvious winners!

To see you off, we’ve put together a playlist featuring sounds from the nominated albums. Enjoy. DervSwerve

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