Scottish Album of the Year contenders unveiled

Young Fathers. Picture: John Devlin
Young Fathers. Picture: John Devlin
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YOUNG Fathers, Primal Scream, Chvrches, Admiral Fallow and Django Django will go head-to-head for the Scottish music industry’s most prestigious honour.

Singer-songwriters Iain Morrison, Emma Pollock, Steve Mason and Rachel Sermanni were also named as contenders for the Scottish Album of the Year Award.

Organisers announced a 20-strong longlist for the £20,000 prize, which is now in its fifth year and will be presented next month.

The ceremony, which has been staged in Glasgow in previous years, will be moving this year and next to Paisley Town Hall to help raise the profile of its UK City of Culture bid.

Other nominees include experimental composer Anna Meredith, a classically-trained musician who has embraced pop, electronica and techno, hip hop outfit Hector Bizerk, and the DJ and producer Hudson Mohawke, who has previously worked with Kanye West and Drake.

The 2014 Mercury Prize winners Young Fathers are among the former winners of the “SAY Award.” along with Kathryn Joseph, RM Hubbert, and Bill Wells & Aidan Moffat.

They will be up against one of last year’s Mercury Prize nominees, musician and composer C Duncan, for the prize, which is organised by the Scottish Music Industry Association.

Also in the line-up are the classical ensemble Dunedin Consort, the Celtic piper Jarlath Henderson and multi award-winning trad music trio Lau. Glasgow band Franz Ferdinand are nominated for their acclaimed collaboration with the American pop-rock outfit Sparks.

Music fans will be able to stream one of the 20 nominated albums each day from the award website from Monday.

Caroline Cooper, manager of the SMIA, said: “Now established as one of the most significant music prizes in the UK, the SAY Award highlights the exceptional breadth of music being produced in Scotland.”

Leonie Bell, director of arts at Creative Scotland, one of the backers of the SAY Award, said: “For the fifth year, this longlist once again proves the outstanding quality and range of music produced in Scotland from electronic and indie to hip-hop and piping.

“Having firmly established itself as one of the most important events in the Scottish music industry calendar, the award is a fantastic way of supporting and raising the profile of these talented musicians in Scotland.

Paisley is hoping a rich musical heritage will bolster its UK City of Culture bid, with Gerry Rafferty and Paolo Nutini among the big names to emerge from the Renfrewshire town.

Jean Cameron, director of Paisley’s bid, said: “Paisley has earned itself a reputation as a hub of creativity over the centuries, having produced so much great music. So it is fitting the town should be the home of the SAY Award for the next two years.”

COMMENT

THe rude health and rich diversity of Scottish music is celebrated on this year’s longlist for the coveted SAY Award, with arguably the most eclectic choice of nominees since the first awards in 2012.

Classical, hip-hop, folk, electronica as well as the perennially popular indie/alternative axis are all represented across the 20 albums which have made the initial cut. Established names such as Primal Scream and Emma Pollock will vie for inclusion on the 10-strong shortlist, to be announced on 16 June, alongside debuting artists and some returning nominees, including one previous winner.

Edinburgh’s Young Fathers first took the prize in 2014, were in with a shout last year and continue to outflank most of their peers creatively, so their second full-length album White Men Are Black Men Too must be a strong contender. It is also no surprise to find Glasgow trio Chvrches back on the list for their bold and brazen electro pop album Every Open Eye.

Django Django, Lau, Auntie Flo, Miaoux Miaoux, Steve Mason and Admiral Fallow will also be dusting off their dinner jackets for a return to the SAY fray, as will Hector Bizerk, whose Waltz of Modern Psychiatry was originally written as the soundtrack to Birds of Paradise theatre production Crazy Jane, about Moulin Rouge dancer Jane Avril.

House and electronica nominees include Graeme Clark, aka The Revenge, and Hudson Mohawke, favoured collaborator of Kanye West and Mark Ronson.

FFS also keep up those transatlantic relations, being a glorious collision of art pop stylists Franz Ferdinand and Sparks.

Meanwhile, back in his Glasgow bedroom, C Duncan recorded his debut album Architect for a mere £50. He would be my punt to take the trophy, but other fresh beguiling voices include Jarlath Henderson and Rachel Sermanni, and young composers Iain Morrison and Anna Meredith, working in the folk and contemporary realms respectively, while Dunedin Consort’s recording of Bach’s Magnificat & Christmas Cantata ensures a classical presence in the room. FIONA SHEPHERD