Whoever ends up with the 20 grand cheque, the Mercury Prize is always guaranteed to set tongues and fingertips ablaze. Regardless of your own opinion, their 12 act shortlist normally ends up being a 50/50 split of the bleeding obvious and "the uhm-yeah-i-think-I've-heard-of-them-before."
Bearing all this in mind, here's the acts I reckon her from Kenickie will be gushing about on a London stage next year. As you'll see, it's a mix of people for whom the hype wheel is already spinning, and others who are just damn good.
George The Poet
George's E.P The Chicken And The Egg is an absurdly mature mediation on the peaks and perils of lust and sexual responsibility in 2014. Bearing in mind he's only 23, bastard, the seven mini-operas on the record suggest he's a fully formed artist with a blessedly non-preachy social conscience.
More is to come in 2015 and along with Kate Tempest (favourite in this year's contest), George is at the forefront of a new wave of spoken words artists moving into the space winched open by Scroobius Pip.
All the chat about these guys seems to be about how their Lake District home is reflected in the spatial qualities of their music. Now I don't know about that, but there is more than a bit of the Olafur Arnalds/Asgeir in the soundscapes, and those two are from the wylds of Iceland so maybe there's summat in it. Either way, Aquilo make outrageously pretty tunes.
Conveniently, they've just announced a new E.P today, Human, the title track of which is right here. Nice, that.
The Mobo-nominated South Londoner arrived in the grandest possible way this year with his massive version of Dizzee's 'Sitting Here'. Considering its popularity, hip-hop and grime was under-represented this year on the shortlist, so expect this to be balanced up next.
We published this decent piece on these a couple weeks back. New Order influences are present and correct, whilst it's all imbued with the a wreck-head's red eyed vulnerability that made Mike Skinner so appealing.
Rag N' Bone Man
With a bear-ish frame, mega tats and ginger beard twinned up with a blues-indebted voice that casts him as a genuine Missisipi throwback, he's the perfect gnarly soul for the post Sam Smith world. Big, universal hip-hop. Check out The E.P from 2013.
The dark horse.
Bit/quite lightweight but if I was a betting man- I'm not but bear with- I'd say he'll be Critic's Choice at the Brits, go number one and be the guy soundtracking next year's John Lewis ad.
Public Service Broadcasting
Not many bands would hold their two comeback gigs at The National Space Centre (in Leicester, apparently), much less sell them out in under a day. Then again, most bands ain't P.S.B. Would genuinely fill the innovation qouta with their upcoming new RaceFor Space L.P, which will use archive footage and propaganda to tell the story of the big U.S.A vs U.S.S.R space face-off, '57 through '72. Obviously.
There was talk of a mini-indie revival last year, what with the Libs gigs at Hyde Park and 10 year anniversaries of the so-called golden era (it was ace, to be fair).
These four-two sets of brothers-all 16-21- sound like the band that could be the new breed. Think Libertines, The View with vocals by him from Los Campesinos! Fuck, it's just like being back at Blow Up. Not overly surprising to discover they are managed by Gary Powell, Libs' resident topless and mega buff drum guy, who discovered them in a support slot at Hyde Park.
Apparently they've got an album coming out and if they do they'll be nominated. End of. Mercury darlings.
If you like your ear drums the way they are, then maybe give Girl Band a miss. Feedback and distortion are paramount, making the Dublin band otally compelling in that way that watching Dale Winton being tickled to death would be. Think about that. Then listen to 'Lawman'. It's fucking great.
Your guess is as good as mine.
Also in the mix - Slaves, Ivy And Gold, Stormzy, Florence, Jack Penate, Subculture Sage
Follow David- @Gobshout