Covering the 2009 Mercury Prize

Mercury Prize Logo

The 18th Mercury Music Prize will be announced tomorrow night on BBC 2 TV at 10.00pm. Primal Scream won the inaugral competition in 1992 and subsequent winners have included the likes of Suede, Pulp, Badly Drawn Boy and the Arctic Monkeys. Only four of the seventeen winning acts have been fronted by female singers: M People (1994); Portishead (1995); PJ Harvey (2001); and Ms Dynamite (2002). Each prize is open to albums from British and Irish acts released from June of the previous year to June of the year in question. There have been seven previous Irish nominees: U2 (1992); Therapy? (1994); Van Morrison (1995); Gemma Hayes (2002); The Thrills (2003); Snow Patrol (2004); and Fionn Regan (2007). Lisa Hannigan is the only Irish nominee this year and is one of five female singers on this year’s list along with Bat For Lashes, Florence & the Machine, La Roux and Speech Debelle. This year’s list is dominated by debut albums and only Bat For Lashes has been at this stage before for Fur and Gold in 2007. She is one of the favourites this year along with Lisa Hannigan and Florence & the Machine. Florence’s album has some great songs on it, but there’s also a bit of filler on it. I really like Glasvegas’ album and I think it has a great chance. However, I’d love to see Lisa Hannigan win for her album, Sea Sew. It’s a real grower and has taken me a while to get into it. But, it’s a very cohesive album and is one of my favourites of the last few years. You can check out tunes from eight of this year’s nominees below. La Roux features in a mashup with Hard-Fi, who appeared on 2005’s list. The rest of them sing other people’s songs including Bat For Lashes being joined by Fionn Regan on a song from Screamadelica, the first winner of the prize

01 Be My Baby (The Ronettes cover) – Glasvegas

02 Pictures of Matchstick Men (Status Quo cover) – Kasabian

03 Your Love – (Frankie Knuckles cover) – Friendly Fires

04 I’ll Be With You (Black Lips Cover) – Lumina (Faris Badwan of the Horrors)

05 Can’t Speak French (Girls Aloud cover) – Florence & the Machine

06 Higher Than the Sun (Primal Scream) – Bat for Lashes

07 Lay Me Down (The Frames cover) – Lisa Hannigan

08 Suburban Bullet – La Roux vs Hard-Fi