For this – the very first LOUD WOMEN ‘Her’cury Music Award – we’ve honoured most of the criteria of our rival, the so-called “Mercury” prize: that is, albums by British-based musicians released between 30th July 2016 and 21st July 2017 (sorry to Deux Furieuses and Crumbs, respectively).
With TWO differences: our ‘Her’cury prize doesn’t care about record formats or industry distribution, and these artists are all LOUD, all female-fronted or female-driven, or just plain all-female. From a pool of thirty options, our scientific poll of the LOUD WOMEN Team has produced this shortlist of 12, given below in alphabetical order.The winner of the ‘Her’cury Music Award will be announced at lunchtime on Thursday 14 September.
Actual Crimes – ‘Ceramic Cat Traces‘
Swansong album from Kirsty (Cat Apostrophe) Fife, Aaron Batley and Ruth Mair. Tense post-hardcore melodies in the music and subtle political undertones in the words, topped with the prolific perzine-ster’s borderline-breakdown vocals.
Desperate Journalist – ‘Grow Up’
Second album from the runaway success story of the London indie scene, pushing all your Britpop/postpunk/pop-goth/80s-indie buttons at once. Soaring vocals, chiming guitars, proper songs and all’s right/wrong with the world.
The Empty Page – ‘Unfolding’
Powerful debut from female-fronted Manc pop-grunge alt-rockers, who contributed key track ‘Deeply Unlovable’ to LOUD WOMEN’s debut compilation album.
Honeyblood – ‘Babes Never Die’
Brilliant hook-laden grunge pop from this Glasgow duo, with every song a winner; proving that the ‘difficult second album’ is just a problem for other people.
The Menstrual Cramps – ‘We’re Not Ovaryacting’
The Menstruals (well, we can’t really nickname them ‘The Cramps’) hit the ground running earlier this year with this impressive digital debut and a ridiculously-confident live debut on International Womens’ Day for Who Runs the World/LOUD WOMEN.
Nolay – ‘This Woman’
Latest album from the Unorthodox Daughter, and impossible to number because so many of Nolay’s releases have been mixtapes straight from the underground. No pop-grime crossover, no compromise, and no holds barred. Nolay’s definitive feminist statement.
Oh! Gunquit – ‘Lightning Likes Me’
Second album from criminally-underrated, slightly-uncategorisable (although we’re about to have a go), new-wave surf-garage trash-punks!
Pet Crow – A Simple Guide to Small and Medium Pond Life
Impressively-tuneful debut album from Derby male/female 4-piece, released on vinyl by LIINES’ label Reckless Yes. Dancey, surfy, garagey indie punk fronted by Danielle Cotterill’s powerful vocals.
Petrol Girls – ‘Talk of Violence’
Debut full-length release from probably the most powerful feminist band in the UK, known to leave audiences genuinely shocked-and-awed with a combination of rock hooks, hardcore assault and uncompromising lyrics. One of two shortlisted bands with a track on the LOUD WOMEN Volume One compilation album.
Sacred Paws – ‘Strike a Match’
Definitive musical statement from Rachel Aggs (Trash Kit, Golden Grrrls, Covergirl, Shopping) – possibly the UK’s greatest guitarist – combining what used to be called ‘world music’ with Postcard Records-esque post-punk funk. Scottish Album of the Year, and now LOUD WOMEN ‘Her’cury shortlist!
The Tuts – ‘Update Your Brain’
Widely-acclaimed and long-awaited debut from one of the hardest-working DIY bands in the business, released a decade after they first formed at school. Standout newer tracks ‘Con Man’ and ‘1982’ bring the best punk-pop hooks and ‘Give Us Something Worth Voting For’ delivers the clearest message.
The Wharves – ‘Electa’
Second album from this all-female melodic post-everything powerhouse follows 2014’s ‘At Bay’, showcasing more of their tightly rhythmic and skilfully harmonic repertoire. https://gringorecords.bandcamp.com/album/electa
¡Ay Carmela! – ‘Working Weeks’
Bamboo – ‘Live at Café Oto’
Deerful – ‘Peach’
Ex People – ‘Bird’
The Franklys – ‘Are You Listening?’
Feature – ‘Banishing Ritual’
Hands Off Gretel – ‘Burn the Beauty Queen’
Kamikaze Girls – ‘Seafoam’
Little Simz – ‘Stillness in Wonderland’
Grace Petrie – ‘Heart First Aid Kit’
Porridge Radio – ‘Rice, Pasta and Other Fillers’
Rattle – ‘Rattle’
Ravioli Me Away – ‘Living is a Myth’
Skinny Girl Diet – ‘Heavyflow’
Slowcoaches – ‘Nothing Gives’
Teen Canteen – ‘Say It All With a Kiss’
Kate Tempest – ‘Let Them Eat Chaos’
Young Romance – ‘Another’s Blood’
The winner will be announced at lunchtime on Thursday 14 September.
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