Mercury shortlist

THE 12 album shortlist for the Mercury Prize 2009 has been revealed.
Contesting the competition this year are –

Biffy Clyro – ‘Only Revolutions’
Corinne Bailey Rae – ‘The Sea’
● Dizzee Rascal – ‘Tongue N’ Cheek’
● Kit Downes Trio – ‘Golden’
Foals – ‘Total Life Forever’
● I Am Kloot – ‘Sky At Night’
Laura Marling – ‘I Speak Because I Can’
Mumford And Sons – ‘Sigh No More’
Paul Weller – ‘Wake Up The Nation’
● Villagers – ‘Becoming A Jackal’
● Wild Beasts – ‘Two Dancers’
● The XX – ‘XX’

From the list, I’d like to see Sound Advice Album of the Year Only Revolutions walk away with the gong.
What are your thoughts? Comment below or head over to Sound Off and let me know.

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Praise Tom Jones

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NORMALLY if the thought of a grizzled old Welshman excites you, you’d probably be a grizzled old Welshwoman.
But everyone should make an exception for Tom Jones – who for the hundredth-odd time has come back with the cool once again with new album Praise And Blame.
A tour through a collection of spiritual American standards from Johnny Cash-esque confessionals like What Good Am I? to the pumped up numbers like Don’t Knock, Jones strips back his art to its most exposed, raw sound yet – Sex Bomb this ain’t.
Instead it’s something fresh, something challenging and something progressive, and I applaud Jones for doing it.

Pain Sailing

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ATTENTION Owl City fans – sort it out.
Oh, and you’d probably like to know there’s some new material coming out from Adam “Owl City” Young, under a new pseudonym, Sky Sailing.
The idea behind the name change is that An Airplane Carried Me To Bed is more acoustic and traditional than Owl City’s more emopop computerised leanings – but fear not.
Young’s vocal without the swathe of effects is still very much as annoying as before, and the music is a mushy and wet as ever.
In fact, you do well to spot daylight between the two projects output – news which will surely either delight or dismay you.

Art attack

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MUSICAL experimentalists Art Of Noise’s retrospective Influence should probably have been pluralised to Influences.
Because since forming in the 1980s the studio-dwelling group have fraternised with synthpop, hip hop, dance, jazz, rock, and seemingly anything else to hand they could sample and put to their home-made beats.
And this 39-track collection of hits, collaborations, fan favourites, movie and TV themes, remixes, B-sides and unreleased material is more than enough to sate the appetite of even the most avid fan.
Standouts for me are Rakim-collaboration Metaforce, Dragnet and The Holy Egoism Of Genius.
But with this many sonic landscapes to explore, I’ll be finding plenty more to enjoy each listen I’m sure – Art Of Noise really did make the creation of uncategorisable, eclectic noise into an art.

Infra-nomenal

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CONTEMPORARY classical composer Max Richter’s new album Infra is so good it makes me want to do a little dance.
Adapted from his score for a ballet, the album once again sees Richter’s sublime slow-burning string and piano work fused to his delicate electronic studio tampering.
With almost a minimal amount of sounds, Richter draws emotion from the listener to create a compelling ebb and flow throughout the album..
Infra is simply mesmerising, an eerie, atmospheric sound as timeless as it is futuristic.

Wave Pictures festival Q&A

WYMESWOLD’S The Wave Pictures have carried out a Q&A ahead of their appearance at this year’s Summer Sundae festival in Leicester –

Q) Summer Sundae Weekender kicks off in August. What’s your favourite thing about summer festivals?
A) Getting to see loads of your favourite bands for freeeee!
Q) What can we expect from your show?
A) Lots of sweat, a little bit of dancing and at least one check shirt.
Q) Summer Sundae is renowned for showcasing emerging talent. Which new band are you most looking forward to catching?
A) Looking forward to seeing Fool’s Gold. I’ve heard a lot of good things about them…
Q) The festival has also been graced by legends like Patti Smith, Billy Bragg and Chrissie Hynde. What’s your fondest festival memory?
A) We had such a splendid time at the first ever End of the Road festival in Dorset. Watching Josh Ritter cast the field into total silence was incredible.
Q) The festival turns 10 this year, how did you celebrate your 10th birthday?
A) I probably had some friends round to eat cake and watch a crap video.

Simpler Simon

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LIKE compatriots Turzi (see yesterday) French act Emilie Simon knows her way around a computer – and sometimes even inside of one.
Live Emilie has an experimental side – playing with a gadget known as “the arm” which locks onto her limb allowing her to tinker with her sounds.
However the established singer-songwriter’s fourth album The Big Machine – inspired by her time living in New York – sees her aiming at the mainstream, embracing the poppier elements of her electronic sound and singing in English.
And the results of her latest studio jaunt sees the talents which have seen obvious comparisons made with the vocal gymnastics of Kate Bush and the musical ambition of Tori Amos tempered by the limitations of Little Boots-style cheery electropop backing.
As a result long-time listeners may be a little turned off, but nevertheless there’s enough to like on The Big Machine in tracks such as The Way I See You and Rainbow to see her gather enough new fans to replace them.