Since its conception in 2011, the Welsh Music Prize has become one of the fastest-growing music prizes in the UK. Created by Radio 1 DJ Huw Stephens, the awards originally ran in association with Sŵn MusicFestival; both events celebrate the diverse range of fantastic music from Welsh artists around the world. With the prize being awarded to the best Welsh album of the year, previous years have seen internationally successful bands such as Catfish and the Bottlemen and Manic Street Preachers being nominated.
This year’s nominations see an eclectic mixture of stunning albums. From the tranquil dream pop of The Anchoress, to the upbeat-indie of Sŵnami, to Skindred’s unique brand of heavy metal, every genre is represented. The full list of nominees is as follows:
9Bach – ‘Anian’
With one disc of English-language spoken word, and another disc of Welsh-language folk with a middle-eastern vibe, this unique album gives a beautiful critique on modern life.
Alun Gaffey – ‘Alun Gaffey’
Combining synth, funk, and psychedelic music, this experimental Welsh-language album sees Gaffey create a fresh and unique sound.
Cate Le Bon – ‘Crab Day’
Cate Le Bon’s fourth album is a quirky and emotive exploration of distorted reality; a perfectly chaotic collection.
Climbing Trees – ‘Borders’
Uplifting riffs and beautifully arranged piano contrast perfectly, showing that Climbing Trees have mastered the genre of easy-listening indiepop.
Datblygu – ‘Porwr Trallod’
Experimental rockers Datblygu combine often clunky and distorted music with a mixture of spoken word and often monotonous vocals, creating a new take on the grunge genre.
Combining pop with a tone of classical music, this emotional and often cynical album shows Meilyr Jonesreinventing himself, and doing a fantastic job of it.
Plu – ‘Tir A Golau’
Relaxed folk and perfectly harmonised vocals come together to give an enchanting and almost hypnotic work of art.
Right Hand Left Hand – ‘Right Hand Left Hand’
Relaxed synth and harsh guitar perfectly contrast, producing a sound that’s reminiscent of post-rock. Alternativerock at its best.
Simon Love – ‘It Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time’
The retro vibes of Simon Love’s music perfectly compliment his dangerously witty lyrics and infectious riffs.
Skindred – ‘Volume’
Fantastically heavy riffs and unexpectedly catchy melodies, Skindred prove that they are just as relevant now as when they formed.
Sŵnami – ‘Sŵnami’
Welsh-speaking quintet Sŵnami’s up-beat indie riffs and smooth vocals have already seen the band win the prestigious ‘Welsh Album of the Year’, with their perfect brand of cheerful pop.
The Anchoress – ‘Confessions Of A Romance Novelist’
This album of dream-pop is a combination of sharp, often extremely heartfelt lyrics, and haunting instrumentals. Both beautiful and macabre.
Due to take place at The Depot, Cardiff, on Thursday 24th November, the evening was due to feature live music from each of the acts nominated. However, due to recent noise complaints to the venue, this is no longer possible. Instead the event will be invite-only, and feature no live performances. In a statement released by the Welsh Music Prize, they explained that
‘We are taking the step to reduce our noise output by reverting to an invite-only event without live performances’
‘Due to a small number of noise complaints in recent months at The Depot, we do not want to proceed with a full programme of amplified live music as originally intended.’
‘We have big plans for next year and we are sorry for any disappointment caused.’
A statement was also released by venue owned Nick Saunders, saying that he wanted to ‘ensure the local residents enjoy The Depot as much as we do.’
Despite the changes to the event, this is still due to be one of the biggest nights of 2016 for the Welsh music scene.
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