Welcome to the bloggy home of Noah Brier. I'm the co-founder of Percolate and general internet tinkerer. This site is about media, culture, technology, and randomness. It's been around since 2004 (I'm pretty sure). Feel free to get in touch. Get in touch.

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Mercury Prize Shortlist

For those not aware, the Mercury Prize goes to the UK album of the year. The prize was awarded to Dizzee Rascal – ‘Boy In Da Corner’ in 2003. Here’s this year’s list:

Amy Winhouse – ‘Frank’
Basement Jaxx – ‘Kish Kash’
Belle & Sebastian – ‘Dear Catastrophe Waitress’
Franz Ferdinand – ‘Franz Ferdinand’
Jamelia – ‘Thank You’
Joss Stone – ‘The Soul Sessions’
Keane – ‘Hopes and Fears’
Robert Wyatt – ‘Cuckooland’
Snow Patrol – ‘Final Straw’
The Streets – ‘A Grand Don’t Come for Free
Ty – ‘Upwards’
The Zutons – ‘Who Killed……The Zutons’

Of these I’ve listened to Basement Jaxx, Belle & Sebastian, Franz Ferdinand, Keane, Snow Patrol and The Streets. So automatically I’ve got to cut the list in half. Out of those I was least impressed by Snow Patrol. Their album wanders with a few standout singles (I love “Chocolate”). It seems to try to hard to be Emo and comes out sounding boring and generic. Not very impressive. Keane I only listened to two or three times. I should probably give it some more time, I enjoyed it, but it’s never something I feel like listening. So we’re down to four. These four are legit:

Basement Jaxx – ‘Kish Kash’: This is what electronic music is supposed to be. It’s funky and fun. With some interesting guests including J.C. Chasez, MeShell Ndegeocello and, my personal favorite, Dizzee Rascal (if your a Dizzee fan and haven’t heard “Lucky Star” off ‘Kish Kash,’ do yourself a favor).
Best song: “Lucky Star (featuring Dizzee Rascal)”

Belle & Sebastian – ‘Dear Catastrophe Waitress’: I didn’t love this at first, then I tried listening to it again during the springtime and I got it. It’s very pop (‘If You’re Feeling Sinister’ fans beware). Just a good album for a sunny day.
Best song: “Dear Catastrophe Waitress” (though “I’m a Cuckoo” and “If She Wants Me” have also been my favorite song on this album at one point or another)

Franz Ferdinand – ‘Franz Ferdinand’: Everyone’s heard this by now. It’s a fantastic album. Not much more to say.
Best song: “Take Me Out” (with “Michael” a close second)

The Streets – ‘A Grand Don’t Come for Free’: I love The Streets. I thought ‘Original Pirate Material’ was the best album of 2002 (and one of the best hip-hop albums of the last 5 years easily). This album is a serious shift away from Mike Skinner’s original sound. The entire album is a narrative of losing a grand (as the title would suggest). This is much less accessible than his first album, but after a few listens I was rewarded with a very well put together complete album (which is rare). Skinner has slowed down many of his beats, which I am okay with, but it also means that it’s a little bit harder to walk around and listen to it without feeling a bit depressed (I do most of my music listening on the move). Skinner was also fantastic live, which gives him points in my book.
Best Song: “Could Well Be In”

My winner: Franz Ferdinand – ‘Franz Ferdinand’ defeats ‘A Grand Don’t Come for Free’ by a hair, just because it’s a little more upbeat and fun and that’s what I feel like listening to more often.

July 21, 2004