Schmercury Awards 2010: Shortlist announced


Not one to be left out of all this Mercury spoofing, FFS is delighted to announce this year’s Schmercury Awards shortlist. We had such a hard time whittling all the fantastic albums released this year down to just 12 that we had to have a sit down with some tea and Belle & Sebastian to calm our nerves. However, it is done, and here – in alphabetical order – are our finalists.

  • Broadcast 2000 – Broadcast 2000
    Gemma Hampson said: “This album is a hit waiting in the wings. It’s eclectic enough to be accepted by some of the alt-folk fanatics, different enough to be listened to by those dipping a toe into the more avant-garde acoustic and commercial enough to be played all over every radio station and snapped up by the masses.”
    (Spotify, MySpace, FFS Review)
  • Caitlin Rose – Own Side Now
    Helen True said: “Caitlin Rose is a young, fresh, twenty-something who knows her way around country music backwards and upside-down. There’s nothing remotely cheesy or outdated about her lyrics, and yet they fit beautifully over what is undeniably very traditional country music.  She writes witty words packed with verve and intelligence, all set alight when she sings with the most gorgeous Tennessee drawl.
    (Spotify, MySpace, FFS Review)
  • Cocos Lovers – Johannes
    Alice Knapp said: “Kentish folk stalwarts Cocos Lovers’ latest album, Johannes, captures all the beauty of their live singing. The clear-toned guitars, flickering mandolin and chorus vocals are filled with British tradition. At the same time, other worldwide musical references can be heard in the use of upbeats, hand drums, accordions and operatic vocal cords.”
    (Spotify, MySpace, FFS Review)
  • Field Music – Measure
    Liane Escorza said: “A kaleidoscope of textures and a versatile canvas of sounds… it opens up shyly, gets confident and alert on its own toes and then bursts into wings of indulgence… a brilliant surge of compelling music and a jungle of brilliant surprises.”
    (Spotify, MySpace, FFS Review)
  • Local Natives – Gorilla Manor
    Lynn Roberts said: “Mixing Beach Boys’ sunny Californian harmonies and Simon & Garfunkel’s syncopated rhythms with a raucous, upbeat and infectious dollup of youthful energy, Local Natives’ soaring vocals and everyday, truthful lyrics make Gorilla Manor a true delight… and what’s more, one you can dance to.”
    (Spotify, MySpace, FFS Interview)
  • Laura Marling – I Speak Because I Can
    Lynn Roberts said: “The most surprising aspect of I Speak Because I Can is just how robust the once painfully shy Laura now sounds. With rousingly primal tracks like opener Devil’s Spoke, she has extended her repertoire from the meeker sounds of Alas I Cannot Swim. In fact, this LP is in danger of totally overshadowing her Mercury-nominated debut.”
    (Spotify, MySpace, FFS Review)
  • Midlake – The Courage of Others
    Stephen Thomas said: “Present on Courage is the sort of sweeping majesty that was a staple ingredient of the folk scene in the early seventies. With this album Midlake have realised their position in the world, and in the music industry – and it’s right at the top of the pile.”
    (Spotify, MySpace, FFS Review)
  • Anais Mitchell – Hadestown
    Lynn Roberts said: “It’s been all I could do to tear myself away from Anais Mitchell’s concept album/folk opera Hadestown. A modern retelling of Orpheus and Eurydice, it features guest vocals from Justin Vernon of Bon Iver and Ben Knox Milller from the Low Anthem as well as Greg Brown and Ani DeFranco. It’s definitely one of the best things I’ve heard all year.”
    (Spotify, MySpace, FFS Review)
  • Mountain Man – Made the Harbor
    Ali Mason said: “Bluegrass-tinged folk songs bringing to mind the vast sweeping landscapes of the United States, from the New England hills through the Rockies and the Deep South and beyond, as they sing about buffalos and herons and rivers and bees. What marks it out more than the complex, three-part harmonies which flit so gracefully on the air is the sense of stillness and calm which pervades. A perfectly-formed work of understated joy.”
    (Spotify, MySpace, FFS Review)
  • Noah & the Whale – The First Days of Spring
    Lois Jeary said: “A lifetime of heartbreak away from the whistling and clapping of their twee-folk debut, the album is Charlie Fink’s brutal confession on the state of his heart following his relationship with Laura Marling. But with the imagery of approaching “blue skies” recurring throughout, the lingering impression left by this beautiful album is not of desolation, but of the broken heart’s cautious optimism at the freedom to pursue new possibilities and loves.”
    (Spotify, MySpace, FFS Review)
  • Peggy Sue – Fossils & Other Phantoms
    Mary Machin said: “Peggy Sue have concocted a heady mixture of blues, rock and doo-wap with their debut. Fossils is a flawlessly contained world all of its own. Its remarkable coherance makes it a body of work to be cherished for years to come.”
    (Spotify, MySpace, FFS Review)
  • Sea of Bees – Songs for the Ravens
    Nikki Dodds said: “This sweet and complex record presents a hybrid of tunes all tied together via the lazy warmth of Baenziger’s voice. It is interesting and moreish as you witness the tracks tumble between dark and light.”
    (Spotify, MySpace, FFS Review)

Like last year — when The Leisure Society’s debut album The Sleeper won the first FFS Schmercury Poll after a battle with Camera Obscura’s My Maudlin Career — we’ve refused to be constrained by geography as the Mercury Prize is, and so this list features our favourite records from around the world.

Have yourselves a listen, and then vote for your pick of the bunch below (you can vote once a day, if you’re keen). But whichever wins, know that we recommend all of these records very highly indeed and urge you to seek out the ones you haven’t heard. Because there’re few things nicer than discovering another brilliant album.

28 comments for “Schmercury Awards 2010: Shortlist announced

  1. 7 August 2010 at 7:05 pm

    ‘Hadestown’ please! Although Caitlin Rose would be absolutely lovely too.

    • Rav
      27 August 2010 at 4:50 pm

      BROADCAST 2000 all the way folkers!

  2. chris
    7 August 2010 at 7:30 pm

    Um, not to be a pedant but the mercury’s are all British nominated bands, so Local Natives, Midlake and a few of the others wouldn’t have been nominated anyway.

    • Lynn
      Lynn Roberts
      7 August 2010 at 7:33 pm

      We know!(See story)
      We decided we didn’t want to stick to the UK cos there’s too much good music coming from the US to ignore!

  3. 14 August 2010 at 10:01 am

    Cocos Lovers are the best:)

    • 25 August 2010 at 10:29 pm

      I agree Jon.

      • 25 August 2010 at 10:51 pm

        COCOS LOVERS! Brilliant record, but they’re also fantastic live, whether they’re performing at our local Astor Thursday nights, busking in the streets or playing at festivals, pubs, London venues. Vote for them.

        • mattShallow
          2 September 2010 at 1:21 pm

          Cocos lovers album is really beautiful.My favourite album and band of 2010

          • 6 September 2010 at 10:33 am

            Cocos Lovers every time. Fantastic album that’s played on a daily basis both at home and in the pub.

          • Lynda Froud
            6 September 2010 at 11:05 pm

            Cocos Lovers are amazing live and their album is my favourite album of the year.

  4. Tobias
    15 August 2010 at 8:55 pm

    mountain man has to win.

  5. 15 August 2010 at 10:23 pm

    but laura marling too
    and mountain man too
    ihih :)

  6. Matt LOTF
    17 August 2010 at 10:57 am

    Cocos Lovers won my vote.. The sort of grass roots, British music them credit-card wielding companies should really be supporting!

    All hail the schmercurys!

  7. Leona Sock
    19 August 2010 at 11:14 am

    Broadcast 2000 is stunning!!!

    I found this remix of ‘Rouse Your Bones’ on a music blog, it’s a free download as well!!

  8. Sammy Seahorse
    25 August 2010 at 8:28 pm

    Caitlin Rose for me but there’s a lot of wonderful albums on that list.

    Honourable mentions for Broadcast 2000 & Laura Marling

    Don’t think I really get the new Midlake album, and Noah & The Whale could do with cheering up a bit

  9. 25 August 2010 at 9:13 pm

    Caitlin for me though peggy Sue and Local Natives would both run it close along with Laura Marling

  10. 25 August 2010 at 11:54 pm

    Noah and the Whale all the way. I adore both of their albums, for very similar and very different reasons. Charlie Fink is the man :)

  11. Jeffrey Coolio Grimes
    26 August 2010 at 6:24 pm

    Hi and yes. My name is JCG!

    For me Cocos Lovers deserve this hands down. Thank you please.

    This is the tight of album that I can really meditate to. Perhaps I may have a craven a also to this. Either way, with or without smoke i always love it.

    Thanks guy and gals. I love you all



  12. Orlando
    27 August 2010 at 3:51 am

    Cocos Lovers. x

  13. Ollie
    28 August 2010 at 12:11 am

    A lot of great bands on the list, but Cocos Lovers totally blew me away at Green Man. Got the album and can’t stop listening to it.

  14. Jasmine
    28 August 2010 at 7:08 pm

    hmm i do really Caitlin Rose. the anais mitchell album is also very good. and broadcast 2000 (seen em live too – awesome people!). agreed that the Cocos Lovers album rules. musn’t forget about Laura Marling but she’s probably gonna get the normal prize anyway :p. difficult choice though!

  15. Martin D
    30 August 2010 at 8:41 pm

    Love this band. Discovered them by accident one day in Norwich and bought their album. Been recommending them since and trying to see them live but never quite making it…..

  16. 31 August 2010 at 1:41 pm

    Enthusiastic vote over here for Field Music; best LP of the year by a mile.

  17. Mischa
    2 September 2010 at 1:34 pm

    Cocos Lovers! How can you not? They are truly remarkable, sincere and totally lovely. xx

  18. Nicky
    2 September 2010 at 6:38 pm

    Uplifting spirited music …..Cocos Lovers.Johannes is splendid indeed! Looking forward to the next album .Much love my loveliesx

  19. Peter
    3 September 2010 at 10:42 am

    This is the most stunning debut album of the year – it combines a rootsy folk sound with hints of sea shanties and a whiff of Africa.
    The enthusiasm and mood is infectious and the voices and harmonies heavenly.
    This is a feelgood record with memorable lyrics and melodies that will stay with you and hooks, like The Howling Wind, which will become the soundtrack to your life for weeks.
    If Johannes doesn’t win, they’ve been robbed!

  20. Peter
    3 September 2010 at 10:44 am

    Cocos Lovers that is…JOHANNES

  21. scout
    8 September 2010 at 8:09 pm

    laura marling was robbed of a mercury last night, so she most definitely deserves a schmercury.

Comments are closed.