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’

ASK ME PR work the Mercury again!

Manchester-based music pluggers Ask Me PR scoop the regional radio and TV account for the Barclaycard Mercury Prize for the 16th year running.


North west music fans may be disappointed at the absence of regional bands in this year’s Mercury music prize list of nominees, but there is one Manchester-based member of the UK music industry that’s been quietly winning with annual award since 1994. And that’s Ask Me PR!


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


Ask Me PR’s managing director, Liam Walsh: “We’re extremely proud of our long association with this prestigious competition.


There have been many highlights over the years. Apart from all the great Manchester bands that have won, seeing Antony and the Johnsons claim the prize was a very special moment.


Though it’s not all been fun, glitz and glamour. When the phenomenal PJ Harvey won and accepted her prize from NYC it was the day of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Centre. We’d heard what had happened on the way down to London and it was naturally a sombre rather than celebratory evening.”


Ask Me PR’s skill in gaining national and regional broadcast exposure for emerging pop talent is no secret among major record labels and independent music managers trying to break new acts into a highly competitive and crowded market place. The likes of The Killers, Oasis, Bjork, Moby, Doves, Prince and Badly Drawn Boy are amongst the long list of artists to have all used Ask Me’s services on their way to the big time.


Of the current crop of Ask Me artists, Liam says: “We expect great things of newcomers The Cordels, Cosmo Jarvis and Neil McSweeney.


It was a fabulous experience to have an unknown Badly Drawn Boy win his Mercury while on our rosta and of course we’d love to see history repeated with one of our new acts!”