Mercury Prize shortlist: a look at the nominees

Radio 1 DJ Alice Levine announced the nominations for The Barclaycard Mercury Prize 2014 Albums of the Year on 10 September.

With everything from stunning début efforts to interesting diversions by already famous musicians and bands, the 2014 nominee roster features electrifying newcomers like FKA Twigs alongside seasoned singers like Damon Albarn.

Chair of Judges Simon Frith said: “The 2014 Barclaycard Mercury Prize shortlist confirms that these are fascinating times for UK music.”

“There are seven outstanding début albums here, and five records by more established artists, all pursuing exciting new directions. What most impressed the judges was the inventive passion with which musicians explore music and emotional possibilities, refusing to be pinned down by rules or genre.”

We’ll be taking a closer look at the nominees ahead of the awards show on 29 October and getting our Ticketmaster music insider’s picks for the win over the next few days.

First up, a look at albums from Anna Calvi, Bombay Bicycle Club, Damon Albarn, East India Youth, FKA Twigs and GoGo Penguin.

Anna Calvi: One Breath

NME gave Calvi’s follow up album 8/10, suggesting that she’s moved away from the PJ Harvey comparisons that dogged her debut album to create something all her own: “There’s new confidence here, and a sense that she’s stretching herself musically and lyrically.”

Anna Calvi - One Breath (Official Audio)

Bombay Bicycle Club: So Long, See You Tomorrow

The Telegraph gave Bombay Bicycle Club’s So Long, See You Tomorrow rave reviews and a faultless, five star score calling it: “A dizzy delight” that will leave you “swimming blissfully into the warm waters of emotional, internationally-flavoured electronic and dance music.”

Bombay Bicycle Club - So Long, See You Tomorrow

Damon Albarn: Everyday Robots

It feels (And sounds) like Damon Albarn has been preparing for this melancholic homage to modern society his whole musical life. Pitchfork gave the album 7.0 overall, commenting that: “It is grand, but rumpled and a little isolated, too…It is sleepy music, with the looseness of reggae and the bittersweet grace of gospel and soul.”

Damon Albarn - Everyday Robots (Official Video)

East India Youth: Total Strife Forever

Total Strife Forever heralds William Doyle’s return to the music scene under his new guise as East India Youth, with an album that was three years in the making and is, according to NME (who scored it 8/10) “an exercise in Doyle using electronic sounds to express himself in a way he never could with rock music.”

East India Youth - DRIPPING DOWN (Official Video)

FKA Twigs: LP1

The artist Formerly Known as Twigs was one of 2014’s most anticipated album debutantes, and her first release of ethereal, breathy, almost choral r&b doesn’t disappoint. The Guardian gave it four stars, saying: “That FKA Twigs’ releases to date have been met with excitement rather than ennui tells you a lot about how singular the music she makes is.”

FKA twigs - Pendulum

GoGo Penguin: v2.0

This Manchester-based piano trio’s 2014 release builds on the success of their 2012 début, Fanfares, which came out in 2012. The Jazz Mann’s Ian Mann gave v2.0 four stars, saying: “v2.0 sounds like a real “band” album with a more clearly defined sound and a strong group identity that expresses a unified attitude and sense of purpose. This is a band to watch.”

GoGo Penguin - Hopopono (Official Video) [Gondwana Records]