Awards Top Stories

Mercury and Popjustice prizes presented

By | Published on Friday 2 November 2012

Mercury Prize

The sometimes contrary judging panel of the Mercury Prize last night decided to hand their award, and the accompanying £20,000 cheque, to the band who were favourites to win even before this year’s shortlist was published in September, the Infectious-signed opinion dividers Alt-J. Although actually formed five years ago, the keyboard shortcut of a band only really came to wider attention at the start of this year, having signed to Korda Marshall’s Infectious Records in 2011.

It’s their debut album ‘An Awesome Wave’, released back in May, that gets the Mercury seal of approval and, if past experience is anything to go by (Speech Debelle excluded), that record should now score a not insignificant uplift in sales. Even if the whole Mercury Prize palaver seems to have generated slightly less hype this year, mainly by moving from its traditional “we’re just back from summer, LET’S DO THIS” early-September slot into “oh, another fucking awards show” November.

Commenting on the winning record, Mercury panel chair Simon Frith told CMU: “Alt-J’s ‘An Awesome Wave’ combines unexpected shards of sound with mesmerising rhythms, compelling melodies and intriguing songs. A tantalising and delightful album”.

Insisting they were ill-prepared to deliver a winners’ speech, on stage the band delivered a simple thank you to “everyone in Team Alt-J”, and “to our parents… thanks for not making us get jobs!” Meanwhile backstage frontman Joe Newman told the BBC: “The Mercury Awards puts us in the hall of fame for sure, because it’s such a well respected award”.

While much of the music industry partied at Camden’s Roundhouse on Barclaycard’s, well, Barclaycard, a slightly smaller gathering of 55 pop pundits elsewhere in London decided the winner of Popjustice’s Twenty Quid Music Prize, the annual award presented on Mercurys night by Peter Robinson’s popular pop website to what his panel believe has been the best pop song of the last year (or slightly more than the last year this time, given the shift in the Mercurys date). And the winner of that more modest honour was Will Young for his track ‘Jealousy’.

The Mercury’s awards show will be broadcast tonight on Channel 4 in that prime time slot of 11.35pm, and Will Young’s ‘Jealousy’ will be broadcast right now, here: