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Posts Tagged ‘Mercury Prize

A hospital for the stressed, a cathedral for the spiritual; review of @RichardHawley at Manchester Academy

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REVIEW – Richard Hawley with Lisa Hannigan, Manchester Academy, 26th September 2012.

My review of Richard Hawley‘s show at the Manchester Academy last week, is now available to view on eGigs website:

‘…forests and woods are nature’s playground for the adventurous, museum for
the curious, hospital for the stressed and cathedral for the spiritual.’ In the
same manner, the Panel could so easily have been referring to Hawley and the
cathartic properties his music bestows upon an audience.

To read the full review, please click here:

shelleyhanveywriter 🙂


Written by shelleyhanveywriter

October 1, 2012 at 10:56 am

2011 Barclaycard Mercury Prize – nominations announcement

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2011 Barclaycard Mercury Prize – nominations announcement

Lauren Laverne has officially announced the nominations for the 2011 Barclaycard Mercury Prize, at The Hospital Club in Covent Garden, London.

The nominations are:

Anna CalviAnna Calvi
ElbowBuild A Rocket Boys!
Everything EverythingMan Alive
Ghostpoet – Peanut Butter Blues and Melancholy Jam
Gwilym Simcock – Good Days At Schloss Elmau
James BlakeJames Blake
Katy BOn A Mission
King Creosote & Jon HopkinsDiamond Mine
MetronomyThe English Riviera
PJ HarveyLet England Shake
Tinie TempahDisc-Overy

Critics are citing Adele and PJ Harvey as the front-runners of the competition and debate has already centred around whether a win for Adele would have any real impact for the artist; 21  has sold over 8 million copies worldwide since its release on January 19th, 2011. The Mercury Prize has always been considered to provide a huge platform for artists who perhaps might not have otherwise gained the recognition they deserve for their work; might it be said that Adele has surpassed such a point and therefore a win for her would be unfair to the other nominees, or should it be about the best album overall; musically and lyrically?

I would personally love to see Metronomy or Everything Everything do well here, but we shall have to wait and see. The awards ceremony takes place in London on September 6th, 2011.

Good luck to everyone!


The Sunday Times – Best Rock and Pop albums of 2010

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The Sunday Times – Rock and Pop albums of 2010

For any interested parties; The Sunday Times published its list of the best Rock and Pop albums of 2010, this week. In order to view the list online the publication has now introduced a subscription-only service; but fear not my fellow pre-yuletide cash-strapped friends, for I have secured the goods and bring them to you below:

Hailed by the weekly title as ‘the most original songwriter in Britain‘ , folk and festival favourite Laura Marling tops the list with her second album ‘I Speak Because I Can.’ Justifying her billing, critics said that:

…(Marling) made a second album on which classical myth and wartime love letters served as wellsprings for lyrics of unrivalled insight and ambition. Musically, the palette was broadened to take in Americana alongside a haunting pastoralia rooted in the ancient soil of England.

It is these very hallmarks of the folk genre which fuel my love for it; particularly the ever-growing nu-folk breed of artists from across the UK. Marling’s songwriting and vocal talents cannot be denied and I like to imagine that she learnt a thing or two in this regard from one-time partner and music collaborator Charlie Fink, of Noah And The Whale. I’m sure the learning process was also a reciprocal arrangement. So, congratulations to Laura on this fine achievement which hopefully, in some way might make up for missing out on the Mercury Prize this year.

My chosen selections from the list would include: The National, Ed Harcourt, Robyn, Field Music and Marconi Union.

The rest of the list goes as follows:

Robert Plant – ‘Band of Joy

Gorillaz – ‘Plastic Beach’

Arcade Fire – ‘The Suburbs

The National – ‘High Violet

Paul Weller – ‘Wake Up the Nation

Kanye West – ‘My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

John Legend and The Roots – ‘Wake Up!’

Anais Mitchell – ‘Hadestown

Eels – ‘End Times

Robyn – ‘Body Talk Pts 1-3

Ed Harcourt – ‘Lustre

Yeasayer – ‘Odd Blood

Mavis Staples – ‘You Are Not Alone

Cee Lo Green – ‘The Lady Killer’

Phosphorescent – ‘Here’s to Taking It Easy’

Field Music – ‘Field Music

Marconi Union – ‘A Lost Connection

Take That – ‘Progress

Manic Street Preachers – ‘Postcards from a Young Man

Perhaps a few ideas for music lovers’ Christmas presents in that bunch?

shelleyhanveywriter x

Spotlight on exciting acts performing at Liverpool Music Week

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The UK’s biggest indoor winter music festival kicks off on 29th October, running through November; welcome to Liverpool Music Week.

The Scouse showcase spectacular began in 2003 and has steadily grown in reputation and stature, to become a nationally recognised event and highlight of the live music calendar. Similar to Liverpool Sound City, Liverpool Music Week features headline and big name acts, whilst also giving a performance platform for emerging talent; indeed, a number of such acts have subsequently gone on to great things after showcasing their wares at this event.

The format is a combination of free and ticketed shows at various venues across the city, including: the Stanley Theatre, O2 Academy, Mountford Hall and The Kazimier.

Headline acts this year include: iconic electronic outfit Leftfield (25th November, Mountford Hall), electronic-dance rising stars Chase & Status (13th November, O2 Academy) and highly acclaimed indie pop-rock stalwarts Efterklang (7th November, O2 Academy). Tickets are available for these shows at the following link:

10 free shows have also just been announced including: Sleigh Bells, Field Music, Egyptian Hip Hop, O Children, Chapel Club, and Los Campesinos! all taking place at MOJO between 29th October – 15th November. Also at MOJO is what will be one of the most anticipated of these free shows; Miles Kane will make his Liverpool solo debut, since his international success with The Last Shadow Puppets. More details on these can be found at:

The act I am most excited about however, visits Liverpool fresh from his much deserved Mercury Prize nomination; that act being Villagers. Conor J. O’Brien plays The Kazimier on the 11th December and I am sure that it will be a performance which people talk about long afterwards. With his hushed tones and evocative lyrical imagery, I am certain that you’ll be able to hear a pin drop as he performs tracks from his debut album ‘Becoming a Jackal.’ I will definitely be there, poised and preened ready to hear and catch said pin, before taking it home to savour the memory of being present at one of this amazing artist’s very first shows.

The North West and Liverpool particularly, is brilliant at supporting and showcasing fresh talent from the area and beyond; I think this is so important in the current climate of acts getting signed off the back of one catchy track, then getting ditched when they fail to set the radio waves alight. How is this ever going to be achieved without the support and commitment necessary from their label, their pr office, even their fans? I have recently seen several dedicated and highly talented singer-songwriters be overlooked in favour of the next big thing; should they not deliver the dividends within the allocated timeframe. We need a better and more dedicated live music scene across the UK, to provide a platform for these artists to gain a following, experiment with their sound and be given these kinds of opportunities to perform that are so often reserved for those “in the right place, at the right time.” Rant over!

So if you’re around the beautifully cultured and cosmopolitan Liverpool area in October/November, please pop by and show your support not just for the acts but also for the organisers, the tour managers, the event staff and so it goes on. I guarantee that you’ll have a great time.

Badly Drawn Boy, ‘Too Many Miracles’ – new single

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BADLY DRAWN BOY, aka Damon Gough, releases his new single ‘Too Many Miracles’ on October 3rd, 2010.

The single is the first to be taken from his forthcoming new album ‘It’s What I’m Thinking Part 1 – Photographing Snowflakes’, which is due for release the same week.

I’ve always been a big fan of Badly Drawn Boy, ever since hearing the delightful sounds showcased on the 2002 feature film ‘About A Boy’; Gough was asked to compose and perform the entire soundtrack and you’ll not be hard pushed to work out why. Tracks such as ‘Something to Talk About’ and ‘Silent Sigh’ sound just as relevant and heartfelt as they did back then; was it ever a question as to whether 2000’s Mercury Prize-winning  ‘The Hour Of Bewilderbeast’ could be equalled?

Gough clearly doesn’t like to be typecast, preferring to diversify with his musical offerings; dipping in to small screen black comedy soundtracks (‘Is There Nothing We Could Do?‘ from ‘The Fattest Man in Britain’) whilst being selective as to which live performances he would commit to. He is also cited as one of Q magazine’s ’50 Bands to See Before You Die’…having a reviewing spot for his show at the RNCM in Manchester next month, I’m hoping this isn’t a sign of my days on this mortal plain being numbered!

This quintessentially quirky track and video uses the changing seasons as a metaphor about a seemingly failed relationship; “the age of romance is dead and gone…”, sides are taken, yet he finds himself “ready to be in love again” by the stories end. The message of the track appearing to be that whilst everything inside you is changing, you can always rely on the seasons to come and go without effort; eventually reconciling you with your spirit, your hope for better things in the coming year.

Badly Drawn Boy embarks on a full UK tour in October (

Tuesday 5th – London, Rough Trade

Wednesday 13th – Stockton, Arc Theatre

Friday 15th – Nottingham, Albert Hall

Saturday 16th – Scarborough, Spa Theatre

Sunday 17th – Holmfirth, Picturedrome

Monday 18th – Birmingham, Town Hall

Wednesday 20th – Glasgow, Old Fruit Market

Thursday 21st – Manchester, RNCM

Friday 22nd – Manchester, RNCM (new date)

Monday 25th – Bristol, St Georges

Tuesday 26th – Brighton, Duke of York’s

Wednesday 27th – London, Bloomsbury Theatre

Thursday 28th – London, Bloomsbury Theatre

Written by shelleyhanveywriter

September 21, 2010 at 4:47 pm

Conor J. O’Brien (Villagers) – talks about and performs tracks from debut album ‘Becoming A Jackal.’

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Conor J.O'Brien, of Villagers

Having listened to Villagers’ Mercury Music Prize-nominated, debut album ‘Becoming A Jackal’ quite a few times this week; I was very keen to learn more about singer and creative driving force, Conor J. O’Brien. Luckily enough, I was forwarded a link by a very kind Alicia, at Baeblemusic, to a recent interview and performing session that O’Brien did in The Creative Little Garden in New York.

During the session, O’Brien offers some insight in to his approach to songwriting and the inspiration for particular tracks on the album; as far-reaching as metaphors for life and death, to analysing the profile and poise of travellers on everyone’s favourite mode of public transport, the common bus. He also performs several tracks from the album, including new single ‘Twenty Seven Strangers’, ‘The Pact (I’ll Be Your Fever), and ‘Set The Tigers Free.’

O’Brien speaks about songwriting as a fluid and primitive process; whereby if the writer thinks about the subject or structure too much, they lose the ability to capture the real essence of what they’re trying to say. I can relate to this having completed my degree in the grandiously-titled programme ‘Imaginative Writing, Literature, Life and Thought’; quite often I would turn up to class not feeling especially imaginative or philosophical – it wasn’t easy therefore having to write a 50-line stanza with the theme of ‘Evolution’ in a poorly ventilated classroom at 9am on a Monday morning, against the clock. Somehow I doubt the Bard had to endure such trials in his rise to creative glory…

Villagers are performing at several festivals in the coming weeks, including Leeds and Reading, Electric Picnic and Bestival. I think after their Mercury Music Prize nomination, the crowds will definitely swell in number for this band and rightly so. I look forward to seeing O’Brien and his cohort perform live in the coming months. Ireland has yet again produced another fine creative and songwriting talent.

To view the full session, click below.

Written by shelleyhanveywriter

July 23, 2010 at 11:48 am

2010 Barclaycard Mercury Prize shortlist; hooray for Folk!

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2010 Barclaycard Mercury Prize – shortlist announced today (July 20th, 2010)

Well the Mercury Prize shortlist has been announced today and I am delighted to see 3 folk artists/bands in the line-up; those being Laura Marling’s ‘I Speak Because I Can’, Villagers’ ‘Becoming a Jackal’ and Mumford & Sons’ ‘Sigh No More.’ The full list is below:

Biffy Clyro, ‘Only Revolutions’

I Am Kloot, ‘Sky At Night’

Dizzee Rascal, ‘Tongue N’ Cheek’

Paul Weller, ‘Wake Up the Nation’

Corinne Bailey Rae, ‘The Sea’

The xx, ‘xx’

Villagers, ‘Becoming a Jackal’

Kit Downes Trio, ‘Golden’

Foals, ‘Total Life Forever’

Laura Marling ‘I Speak Because I Can’

Wild Beasts, ‘Two Dancers’

Mumford & Sons, ‘Sigh No More’

With a talent for poetry and lyricism far beyond her tender 20 years; Laura Marling is well respected in both folk and wider contemporary circles. This, her second album, was released in March 2010 and peaked at number 4 in the Official UK Chart and number 1 on the iTunes UK Chart. The album has produced two singles thus far; those being ‘Goodbye England (Covered in Snow) and ‘Devil’s Spoke.’ These just happen to also be two of my favourite tracks from a genuinely striking and sublime record.

Villagers are an Irish indie-folk band, hailing from Malahide in Dublin. This, their debut album, was released in May 2010 and immediately topped the Irish Albums Chart and the Irish Indie Albums Chart. Lead singer Conor J. O’Brien is widely respected and lauded for his songwriting, musicality and influence amongst his peers. O’Brien’s music has been described as drawing inspiration from dark imagery and by romanticising the mundane aspects of life. Definitely a wordsmith to note for the future.

I think most people will have heard of Mumford & Sons at this point; regardless of whether they happen to be a fan of folk music. This, their debut studio album, was released in October 2009, peaking at number 6 in the Official UK Charts in July 2010. The album has since been certified Platinum in the UK and has produced the following hit singles, ‘Little Lion Man’, ‘Winter Winds’, ‘The Cave’ and ‘Roll Away Your Stone.’ Continuously sold out shows confirm the band’s popularity both at home and abroad. I would be surprised if this band weren’t judged to be in the top 3 of those shortlisted; but then again, I fear other factors come in to play with these commercial prize-giving ceremonies; I still haven’t got over Lisa Hannigan not walking away with the award for ‘Sea Sew’ last year.

Still, us folk fans can dream and hope, hope and dream; I think these three are worthy winners but would like to have also seen Richard Hawley’s ‘Truelove’s Gutter’ and Noah and the Whale’s ‘The First Days of Spring’ nominated. But, you can’t have everything.

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