Cowshed announces list of finalists for prestigious Welsh Music Prize
Welsh Music Prize returns to celebrate the best album by a Welsh artist in 2017
The shortlist of the seventh Welsh Music Prize has today (20 Sept) been revealed and once again the 12 albums show the scope of the music being produced by artists from Wales – from alternative Welsh folk to ambient techno, doom metal to R&B.
Created by BBC Radio 1 DJ, Huw Stephens and music promoter, John Rostron, previous winners of the Welsh Music Prize have included Gruff Rhys (2011), Future of the Left (2012), Georgia Ruth (2013), Joanna Gruesome (2014), Gwenno (2015) and Meilyr Jones (2016).
Welsh Music Prize winners and nominees have gone on to achieve subsequent success due to the prize’s industry recognition, not only in Wales but on a UK and international platform.
The winner, to be announced at ceremony at Milk and Sugar in the Old Library in Cardiff on Friday 20 October, will be chosen by a panel of the following industry experts – Kelly Kiley (Rough Trade Records), Will Hodgkinson (Chief rock and pop critics, the Times), Jude Rogers (writer and critic), Elan Evans (DJ), Gethin Griffiths (Editor, Son Am Sin blog), Romesh Dodangoda (producer and mixer), Nici Beech (Galeri Caernarfon Artistic Director), Sam Lewis (Editor, Let it Happen blog) and Sophie Smith (Outpost Coffee)
This year’s nominees are…
BABY QUEENS – BABY QUEENS (Strangetown)
Cardiff’s all-girl R&B group Baby Queens has turned heads of late with their soulful singing and trip-hop inspired self-titled album, produced by Super Furry Animals’ Cian Ciaran.
BENDITH – BENDITH (Agati Records)
The hotly anticipated collaboration between much loved Welsh bands Colorama (Carwyn Ellis) and Plu does not disappoint. The beguiling mix of styles has created a dreamlike alternative folk sound that undeniably compels the listener to share in the unusual but charming musical vision.
COTTON WOLF – LIFE IN ANALOGUE (Bubblewrap)
Energetic and fiercely innovative, Llion Robertson and Seb Goldfinch’s debut under the Cotton Wolf moniker is a mixture of hard, squelchy distorted beats, euphoric synths and the occasional chilled ambient moment.
THE GENTLE GOOD – RUINS / ADFEILION (Bubblewrap)
The Gentle Good have a real talent for finding beauty in some of the darkest corners of history. The immersive and compelling ‘Ruins / Adfeilion’ is steeped in some of the more somber tales from the folk traditions of Gareth Bonello’s beloved Wales, but is still a thoughtful and ultimately forward-looking album that showcases Gareth’s creative vision beautifully.
GEORGIA RUTH – FOSSIL SCALE (Navigator Records)
Georgia Ruth’s latest release, Fossil Scale, has seen the Aberystwyth native ditch the harp in lieu of pianos, guitars and percussion to create an album with real beauty. Her last album ’Week of the Pines’ won the Welsh Music Prize in 2013.
GRUFF RHYS – SET FIRE TO THE STARS (Finders Keepers)
Gruff Rhys is a versatile artist. From his work with alt-rock legends Super Furry Animals to a concept album about Welsh explorer John Evans, the Pembrokeshire native has worn many hats over the years and he’s worn them well. An elegant and sophisticated release, the mostly instrumental ‘Set Fire to the Stars’ is testament to Rhys’ enduring talent and the soundtrack for the film of the same title starring Elijah Wood and Celyn Jones. This is the first soundtrack to be nominated for the prize.
H HAWKLINE – I ROMANTICIZE (Heavenly Recordings)
The melodic sound of Huw Evans’ voice allows the Cardiffian to avoid the often stunting formulas of indie rock. His latest release as H Hawkline, ‘I Romantacize’ stands as testament to the nuance and charm of his southern Welsh drawl.
HMS MORRIS – INTERIOR DESIGN (Waco Gwenci)
HMS Morris are one of the most colourful bands on Wales’ music scene. The blend of cinematic electro pop and the quirky vocals of lead singer, Heledd Watkins on the latest album ‘Interior Design’ creates a sound that you won’t forget in a hurry.
KELLY LEE OWENS – KELLY LEE OWENS (Smalltown Supersound)
Originally from Bagillt in north Wales, Kelly Lee Owens was living in a record shop in London when she befriended fellow producer and DJ, Daniel Avery. There she was encouraged to follow her ‘pipedream’ – as she called it – of producing her own music. The result is an album gorgeously blending beautiful vocals and warm, ambient techno.
MAMMOTH WEED WIZARD BASTARD – Y PROFFWYD DWYLL (New Heavy Sounds)
Experimental and ambitious, Wrexham based four-piece Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard have a vision for the crowded doom genre. Their latest release ’Y Proffwyd Dwyll’ i.e. ‘The False Prophet’ in Old North Welsh, is a dark, heavy, yet extraordinary journey which shows the full scope of the bands’ talents.
SWEET BABOO – WILD IMAGINATION (Moshi Moshi Records)
North Wales’ Stephen Black returned as his Sweet Baboo nom de guerre in 2016, with a whimsical indie pop outing called ‘Wild Imagination’. His seventh outing as Baboo, the album is a warm and affectionate tonic for the tumultuous times Stephen saw all around him while making the album.
TOBY HAY – THE GATHERING (Cambrian Records)
Poster boy of Mid Wales’ Cambrian Records, Toby Hay delivered a stunning album this March. From the glittering and joyous track ‘Starlings’ to the nostalgic and introspective ‘Mayfair at Rhayader 1927’, Hay’s guitar playing stands as a testament to the spectrum of moods one can evoke through one instrument.
Huw Stephens, Welsh Music Prize said: “It’s been a strong year for albums in Wales. This shortlist reflects that and we can’t wait to find out which album the judges choose. The Welsh Music Prize has really grown in stature over the years and now we see international press and the music industry recognizing the title as an important and respected accolade.”
This year’s event is supported by PPL, PRS for Music, Stereoboard and Tiny Rebel.
For more information about the Welsh Music Prize go to welshmusicprize.com or follow @welshmusicprize