Mercury Music Prize 2011 shortlist revealed

North West music fans will be pleased to see Manchester’s Everything Everything alongside local heroes and 2008 winners Elbow on this year’s list.

The shortlist provides a snapshot of the year in music, recognising artistic achievement across a range of genres in UK music. Check out the shortlist below or go to the Mercury Music Prize website.

Some harmless fun now. Ask Me PR wants to know who you think should win. Check out our poll at the bottom of the post;

Albums of the Year 2011

Everything Everything ‘Man Alive’

‘Man Alive’, Manchester based Everything Everything’s debut album, was produced by David Kosten. Formed in 2007, the four-piece band features members from Northumberland, Kent and Guernsey. ‘Man Alive’ was released on Geffen in August 2010 and includes the singles ‘MY KZ, UR BF’ and ‘Photoshop Handsome’.

‘An exhuberant musical adventure. A thrilling clash of electro, guitar pop, tight rhythms and smart wordplay’

Elbow ‘Build a Rocket Boys!’

‘Build a Rocket Boys!’, Elbow’s fifth album, was produced by the band’s Craig Potter. The five- piece band are from Bury and their previous album, ‘The Seldom Seen Kid’, won the Mercury Prize in 2008. ‘Build a Rocket Boys!’ was released on Fiction in March 2011 and includes the singles ‘Neat Little Rows’ and ‘Open Arms’.

‘Another compelling collection of songs from one of Britain’s greatest bands. Generous in spirit, brilliantly observed and musically uplifting’

Metronomy ‘The English Riviera’

‘The English Riviera’, Metronomy’s third album, was released by Because Music in April 2011. It was written and produced by the band’s Joseph Mount, originally from Totnes, Devon. The album, recorded in London and Paris, includes the singles ‘She Wants’, ‘The Look’ and ‘The Bay’.

‘A beautifully realised electro-pop dream about growing up on an imagined English Riviera – sparkling, sophisticated and full of intrigue’

Adele ’21’

A worldwide number one, ’21’ was released in January 2011 on XL Recordings and is the follow up to ’19’, Adele’s Mercury shortlisted debut. The majority of the album was produced by Rick Rubin in Malibu and Paul Epworth in London. ’21’ has gone 10 times platinum in the UK and features the singles ‘Rolling in the Deep’, ‘Someone Like You’ and ‘Set Fire to the Rain’.

‘An extraordinary achievement. An emotional set of remarkable love songs brilliantly performed’

Ghostpoet ‘Peanut Butter Blues & Melancholy Jam’

Ghostpoet is London born Obaro Ejimiwe. ‘Peanut Butter Blues & Melancholy Jam’, his debut album, was written whilst at university in Coventry and released on Gilles Peterson’s Brownswood Recordings in February 2011. The album includes the singles ‘Cash and Carry Me Home’ and ‘Survive It’.

‘Mesmerising homemade hip-hop: endlessly inventive beats, laid-back delivery and rueful stories. Completely engaging’

Anna Calvi ‘Anna Calvi’

Anna Calvi’s debut album was released in January 2011 on Domino Records. Recorded in France and Worcestershire, it features a guest appearance from Brian Eno. The album was produced by Anna Calvi along with Rob Ellis and Pritpal Soor. It includes the singles ‘Blackout’ and ‘Desire’.

‘Anna Calvi marks out a unique dramatic territory with powerful vocals and formidable guitar. A passionate and atmospheric debut’

Tinie Tempah ‘Disc-Overy’

‘Disc-Overy’ is Tinie Tempah’s debut album. It was recorded in London and Sweden, and released on Parlophone in October 2010. Tinie, from South East London, is the first UK rap artist to have a million-selling single in the USA, with ‘Written in the Stars’. The number one album also features the Labrinth produced singles ‘Pass Out’ and ‘Frisky’.

‘A brilliant new voice in British urban music. Witty, eclectic, charismatic – ‘Disc-Overy’ is completely irresistible’

Gwilym Simcock ‘Good Days at Schloss Elmau’

Gwilym Simcock, from Bangor, Wales, attended Trinity College and the Royal Academy of Music. Gwilym, a renowned jazz pianist, recorded the album at Schloss Elmau, Bavaria. It was released on ACT in January 2011 and co-produced with Siggi Loch.

‘On his first album as a solo performer, internationally acclaimed pianist Gwilym Simcock takes listeners on a spell-binding, lyrical and absorbing musical journey’

James Blake ‘James Blake’

James Blake’s debut album was written and recorded by the 22-year-old Goldsmiths music graduate at his home in New Cross. The album was released on Atlas/A&M in February 2011, following a series of well-received EPs, and includes the singles ‘Limit to Your Love’ and ‘The Wilhelm Scream’.

‘A strikingly original album. Late night songs, delicate sound fragments, intimate and haunting’

PJ Harvey ‘Let England Shake’

‘Let England Shake’ was recorded in a 19th century church in Dorset and features long- time collaborators Mick Harvey, John Parish and Flood. PJ Harvey is a previous winner of the Mercury Prize and this is her eighth solo album. It was released on Island Records in February 2011 and includes the singles ‘The Words that Maketh Murder’ and ‘The Glorious Land’.

‘PJ Harvey confirms her status as one of Britain’s most creative artists with another landmark album. Musical meditations on history, war and Englishness: gripping and profound’

Katy B ‘On a Mission’

‘On a Mission’ is the debut album by 22-year-old Katy B from Peckham. Katy studied music at Goldsmiths and her album, recorded in London, was released in April 2011 on Rinse/Columbia. It features the top five singles ‘Lights On’, featuring Ms Dynamite, and ‘Katy on a Mission’, produced by Benga.

‘Katy B fashions a wonderfully fresh and vivid pop album from the sounds and encounters of contemporary club culture. Immediate and exhilarating’

King Creosote & Jon Hopkins ‘Diamond Mine’

King Creosote is Kenny Anderson, a well-respected singer/songwriter from Fife and a member of the Fence Collective. Jon Hopkins, an acclaimed musician, composer and producer, has worked with Brian Eno and Coldplay. ‘Diamond Mine’ includes field recordings capturing life in Fife and was released in March 2011 by Domino Records.

‘Jon Hopkins creates the perfect soundscape for King Creosote’s beautiful songs of life in a Scottish coastal village. Gentle, evocative and moving’

Blind Atlas – “Iron Wall” documentary

Back in February, Blind Atlas held an “art happening” event upstairs at Odder Bar, Manchester. The idea was that the listeners, both established fans and those new to their work, would respond through art (drawing, mark making, sculpting) to their new single “Iron Wall”. This is the resulting documentary; produced by INTO productions, the film also features rehearsal and interview footage with the band.

Blind Atlas – Iron Wall

Release date: 29/8/2011(Fallen Swine) 

     Hailing from Denver [Colorado USA] and disparate points around the UK, Blind Atlas came together in the bohemian suburbs of south Manchester; Led by singer/guitarist Ross Thompson, the band concoct a new take on American alternative country and classic British Rock ‘n’ Roll. Blind Atlas have notched up headline slots at some of the most iconic venues in the city, as well as supporting the likes of  Blitzen Trapper, The Bees, Buffalo Tom, Liam Frost, Lucy Wainwright Roche, The Deadstring Brothers, The Features, The Acorn and The Travelling Band.

     The Earlies were at the production helm again for their 3 track EP “Iron Wall”. The title track is an epic sounding beast, throbbing with a native American rhythm and building to a soaring crescendo. This is usually the high-impact finale to their live performances:

Listen to Iron Wall by Blind Atlas:

Swapping their electric guitars for acoustic instruments, the laid-back country vibe of “Mary Anne” evokes the likes of Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris. A live favourite, this is another perfect example of the trademark Blind Atlas sound.

Listen to Mary-Anne by Blind Atlas:

“My Proud Mountains”, a cover of the Townes Van Zandt recording of 1969, is a long time favourite of the band. Blind Atlas have beautifully reworked the song, demonstrating their skillfully plaintive vocals and sparse arrangements. Nostalgic, melancholic and impossible to listen to just once.

Listen to My Proud Mountains by Blind Atlas:

Ask Me PR works the Mercury Music Prize 2010!


From M-People’s 1994 win with Elegant Slumming, Badly Drawn Boy in 2000 through to local heroes and 2008 winners Elbow, Ask Me PR have been charged with making sure all shortlisted albums and the competition itself are featured on regional radio. This is no mean feat considering that from Cornwall to Orkney, and Norwich to Aberystwyth there’s around 400 radio stations to service!

Today, this year’s nominees for ‘Album of the Year’ were announced, and competition looks to be even fiercer than ever. North West music fans will be pleased to see the inclusion of Mancunian veterans I Am Kloot on this year’s list. Check out the shortlist below or go to the Mercury Music Prize website;

All The Damn Kids – The Books Stop Here video!

Here’s the video for All the Damn Kids excellent single The Books Stop Here! directed by Sarah Keeling. See what you think. Alternatively, you can still listen to the single here or hear much more from ATDK on their myspace.

[vodpod id=ExternalVideo.936819&w=425&h=350&fv=]



Single released on 10 August 2009

travelling band 100809Initially conceived as a one-off live performance to mark the 20th anniversary of the release of The Stone Roses’ classic debut album, THE TRAVELLING BAND’s version of ‘Waterfall’ is at once disarming and enchanting in equal measure – put simply, it’s breathtaking. Replacing the liquid dynamics of the original with a stark, beautiful emphasis on the lyrics and melody, the emotional core of the song takes over. It’s an entirely new interpretation of a hugely loved classic and yet another example of the band’s perfect skill at fusing their folk, country and rock influences with their own distinctive sunshine-pop sensibility – so take a break from your day and escape to THE TRAVELLING BAND’s world.

THE CORDELS – Dance In Time

Single released on 17 August 2009

the cordels 170809THE CORDELS’ debut release sees the Warrington three-piece digging deep for their lyrical themes whilst deftly crafting an anthemic, indie-pop classic. An early demo of the track found its way to top producer, Jim Lowe [Stereophonics, Foo Fighters, The Charlatans], who immediately offered his mixing skills to polish it into the gem it is now. THE CORDELS have won airplay in some well-respected quarters. Radio 1’s Zane Lowe gives early support, as does Tom Robinson for BBC 6 Music and Loz Guest at Kerrang! Radio. THE CORDELS are drawing comparisons with the early days of that other classic three-piece, The Police, with each band member bringing a simmering passion and an effortless cool to an incredible live show.


Single released on 17 August 2009

the vanguards 170809Within months of forming THE VANGUARDS found themselves recording in The Charlatans’ studio with legendary production duo Dave Tolan and Jim Spencer (Primal Scream, The Charlatans) – the result is Regress – a gritty blast of raw energy blended with a genuine pop melody. It’s a rock/pop hit in the making. THE VANGUARDS’ style of hard edged, sub pop is garnering fans right, left and centre – so much so that Regress became Radcliffe & Maconie’s record of the week, further recognising the bands raw talent.

Listen to Regress:

MY ALBATROSS – Live and Live Lonely

Single released on 14 September 2009


my albatross 070909Comprising of an Englishman, an Irishman and a Scotsman MY ALBATROSS are certainly not joking, as their debut single, ‘Live and Live Lonely’, a refreshing wedge of indie folk, will prove. The Manchester-based three-piece use a wide range of instruments, from keys to ukuleles to sax. This, coupled with changing lead vocals and impressive harmonies, makes for breath taking performances. ‘Live and Live Lonely’ is a fine testament to what is to come from MY ALBATROSS.


SAVING AIMEE – We’re The Good Guys

Single released on 3 August 2009

saving aimee 030809Justin Hawkins (The Darkness) has hung up the spandex and joined forces with charismatic six-piece, SAVING AIMEE. The result is an energetic, highly charged and lively slice of pop-rock – ‘We’re The Good Guys’. Fresh from a sold-out UK tour, and heavily supported debut single, ‘Small Talk’ (The Box, 4Music, Zane Lowe and Kerrang! A-list rotation). It’s a riotous tune from a band that’s set to break teenage hearts everywhere!