Staff Picks // Mercury Music Prize 2013

The Barclaycard Mercury Prize nominees will be announced at 5:30pm GMT and will be presented by Lauren Laverne. The staff here at It’s All Indie are putting together our personal picks for nominees. 

'Once I Was An Eagle' - Laura Marling

My choice is "Once I Was An Eagle" by Laura Marling. The album was released on 27 May and reached number 3 on the UK charts and number 49 on the Billboard 200 in the US. Marling is a Hampshire born singer-songwriter who recently moved to Los Angeles.

This is by far Marling’s strongest album to date, which is amazing when you consider that she’s 23 and this is already her fourth album. "Once I Was An Eagle" is a folk album that’s for everyone, not just folk fans, and I mean that in the best possible way. I was never a huge fan of folk but yet I’ve loved Laura Marling for a few years now. She delivers haunting vocals that get under your skin, and the intensity with which she plays guitar at times is just enthralling.

When I say she’s a folk artist, I don’t necessarily mean it in the same sense many people may think of today, of the sounds of artists such as The Lumineers or Mumford and Sons. I think she’s more of a folk musician in the singer-songwriter tradition, hearkening back to artists such as Bob Dylan and Woody Guthrie. It’s a sometimes less commercial but more personal, gripping style of songwriting that I find compelling as a listener.

Some of the standout tracks for me include “I Was An Eagle,” “Master Hunter” and “Breathe.” "Once I Was An Eagle" is an extraordinarily solid album, and if you don’t own it already I’d highly suggest that you reconsider. Marling’s talents as a singer-songwriter only continue to improve, and I’d love to see this album nominated for the Barclaycard Mercury Prize.


'Bad Blood' - Bastille

I'd love to see Bastille's "Bad Blood" nominated because I think it is something completely new on the market. They mix great tunes ("Things We Lost in the Fire" or "Daniel in the Den") with interesting and intelligent lyrics ("Pompeii", "Icarus" and "Laura Palmer"). I really like the way their songs are composed with all this background choir and electronic intros and how this establishes some kind of "indietronic" in the charts. However, they don't use guitars at all and still manage to have really catchy songs which is an evidence of high quality (I love the acoustic versions, though).


'If You Wait' by London Grammar

This needs to be a nominated for the Mercury Music Prize just because of what it has done to the music scene since the trio came to light. Their music is an extremely fresh take on modern movements in the industry and I don't think there's a band better than them to win this award to show just what they're doing with their music. If You Wait has only been out a few days but has already taken so many people by surprise and is proving that they are probably one of the biggest 'Sounds of 2013'. They are bringing even more variety to British culture once again.


'Arc' - Everything Everything

I was stunned when I saw 'Arc' at number three in the album charts on it's week of release as they joined the likes of the Les Miserables OST and Emeli Sande in the rundown. 'Arc' was a hugely successful album for a band as intricate as Everything Everything. Presenting the perfect balance between a high calibre of musicianship with an understanding of commercial song craft, the album opens with the tribal 'Cough Cough', a song pieced together after the events of the 2011 London riots, with frontman Jonathon Higgs bellowing his high falsetto with 'and that eureka moment hits you like a cop car'. 
In comparison to debut 'Man Alive', the band have come on in leaps and bounds with a fresh maturity and outlook. Their debut was also nominated for the Mercury Music Prize but the Manchester quartest are just as worthy on their second effort as they were on their first.
Key tracks for me are 'Choice Mountain'; a fresh electro-indie effort, 'The Peaks'; an ambient build of harmonic layers and timbres, 'Duet'; written in the perspective of walking through the end of the world and finally 'Kemosabe'; a stomping electronic single which you'll know all the notes to... maybe not the lyrics.

Other albums I'd love to see nominated;
'Settle' by Disclosure
'The Raven That Refused To Sing (and Other Stories) by Steven Wilson
'Body Music' by AlunaGeorge
'Amok' by Atoms For Peace
'The North Borders' by Bonobo
'Overgrown' by James Blake
'Sing To The Moon' by Laura Mvula
'Holy Fire' by Foals
'Anything In Return' by Toro y Moi


Tune in at 5:30pm at and watch the live stream.