The actual Mercury Music Prize 2011 winner will be announced tomorrow. Do enough people still care? We're not so sure. 2009 winner Speech Debelle, for example, has already been long forgotten. We're even less confident that anyone is interested about our own little version of the Mercury - taking our top twelve reviewed albums of July 2010-July 2011 and then choosing our winner (by panel vote) at the end of this week.
Our criteria largely followed the same requirements as the Mercury, with the albums having had to be released within the aforementioned one year period and by a British group/artist. We've also restricted the list only to albums that we've reviewed on FG, meaning the likes of James Blake and Tom Vek among others missed out. But they could well feature in our albums of the year list. Listen to a track from each album in the embedded playlist below.
THE FG ALTERNATIVE MERCURY 2011 SHORTLIST:
Arctic Monkeys - 'Suck It And See'
"A mature and gentler approach has revealed a romantic side to the band that they’ve previously shyed away from at times."
Bayonets - 'Bayonets'
"It skillfully blends the emo style of, well, Hundred Reasons, with some Fugazi influence and a dash of Radiohead to create a rock record resolutely contemporary and absolutely fresh"
The Chapman Family - 'Burn Your Town'
"'Burn Your Town' demonstrates what the band do best - noise and misery."
Devil Sold His Soul - 'Blessed & Cursed'
"I can’t help thinking that if they were from the USA or even Sweden then they would likely be touted as the next big thing to happen in hardcore"
The Horrors - 'Skying'
"The Horrors have matured into one of the most innovative bands alternative music has to offer"
Little Comets - 'In Search Of Elusive Little Comets'
"a unique brand of guitar pop which deserves a rich reward."
Mogwai - 'Hardcore Will Never Die'
"Radiohead or Mogwai? Well, Mogwai, obviously."
PJ Harvey - 'Let England Shake'
"Polly Jean Harvey is arguably already a national treasure with an outstanding body of work, and her new album 'Let England Shake' is a triumph on every level."
The Rock Of Travolta - 'Fine Lines'
"Intelligent and thoughtful music is not so common but it's extremely welcome, particularly when it's at times intense and soulful too."
Talons - 'Hallow Realm'
"In just eight songs Talons have created something that to be proud of, the nature of the songs takes you to another place."
Wild Beasts - 'Smother'
"an eerily therapeutic and haunting album full of love, lust and longing."
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Young Knives - 'Ornaments'
"far catchier than some of the lad-rock revival bands coming forth now could ever be."
Do let us know which album(s) you think is worthy of an accolade. (And of the real Mercury Music Prize, if you wish.) The winner will be announced later this week.