It's that time of year again... the UK music scene's best, brightest and hippest cram into a room to watch Jools Holland/Lauren Laverne announce the best record of the year, on musical merit alone. Whilst the 'pay to enter' scandal may have marred it's potency somewhat, it's still my favourite musical event of the year and a welcome alternative to the corporate shock factor fest we're presented by the Brits and the VMA's. With the nominee shortlist due to arrive on Wednesday, here's my look at the 12 bands I think will be nominated. Best get down the local betting shop...
SAFETY IN SOUND'S MERCURY MUSIC PRIZE SHORTLIST
Wild Beasts – Present Tense
After the great ‘Smother’ snub debacle of 2011, I have a good feeling that 2014 might finally be the year that our Kendall kings get what they deserve. Well known and respected but not necessarily the most commercially successful in this list, the prize money and media attention post-win could greatly benefit the production of their next (hopefully world dominating) record.
Chvrches – The Bones Of What You Believe
Whilst Scotland is still attached to the UK, I’m betting that Chvrches debut will be making it’s way onto the list. With Lauren Mayberry making her voice heard in the music press with THAT incredibly eloquent summary of misogyny in the music industry, here's hoping that the profile raise from winning the mercury could help elevate their platform of social consciousness and great electro-pop.
Bombay Bicycle Club – So Long, See You Tomorrow
A SIS favourite, Bombay's slow burning rise to the top has seen them finally become the mainstream radio dominating force they've always threatened to be, without compromising any of their musical integrity on the way. Their colourful, multi-tonal fourth record is a masterclass in cultural appreciation over appropriation.
Sam Smith - In The Lonely Hour
A populist choice, but a likely option for nomination, even if it doesn't win. Most likely to donate the money to charity instead of adding it their empire.
FKA Twigs – LP1
This year's potential newbie curveball choice, FKA Twigs embodies the quirky spirit that usually demands a Mercury nod. Her smoky, sultry record would be sure to be performance of the night if she were to be recognised.
Drenge – Drenge
They'd no doubt be fairly indifferent to a nomination, but the Mercury Music Prize would definitely tip the world off to one of the north's best new bands of the past two years. Drenge's debut is remarkably self-confident and would definitely add fuel to the rumour that rock music is well and truly back in vogue.
Paolo Nutini – Caustic Love
Another popular choice, but Nutini's latest record has garnered almost universal critical acclaim and definitely ticks the 'wouldn't look out of place on a Guardian readers record label' box that makes any artist a shoo-in for the prize.
Damon Albarn – Everyday Robots
It wouldn't be the MMP if there wasn't the Classic returning artist nomination, so that slot falls surely to Damon Albarn in 2014. Whilst 'Everyday Robots' was not without fault, Albarn may well fancy his chances now after rescinding Gorillaz nomination back in 2001.
Jungle - Jungle
Bringing something a little different into the mix, South London's Jungle have been taken into the hearts and minds of media types this year, and are likely to rank highly on the perpetually middle class Mercury panel. Not that I'd mind too much though - they're a genuinely promising outfit who could probably do a lot with the money.
Kate Tempest - Everybody Down
Whether her record label will want to cough up the nomination cash is another matter, but poet Kate Tempest is surely another high ranker who's crossover appeal from spoken word to music will make a great story in the gear up to election year. I call this the M.S Dynamite effect... just wait and see.
Royal Blood – Royal Blood
I’d probably rather see a nomination for Drenge’s self titled debut, but whilst Royal Blood are reining high at the top of the charts, they make a good case for the populist ‘rock’ choice and it would certainly be the cherry on top of their recent chart reign.
Temples - Sun Structures
The retro stylings of Temples fill the glam void needed for the Mercury party, and their straightforward jangly indie is a crowd pleaser that almost anyone could find some solid enjoyment in. A current way to round off this year's list.