Following a year where artists have had their ability to perform live restricted, the shortlist for the Welsh Music Prize has been announced.
In all, 15 albums have been shortlisted in what is the prize’s 10th year. Nominees include Ani Glass, Gruff Rhys, Georgia Ruth, Don Leisure and Yr Ods.
Last year’s winner was Welsh-language post-punk trio Adwaith with their album Melyn.
The 2020 winner will be announced on 19 November.
The Welsh Music Prize was co-founded in 2011 by BBC presenter Huw Stephens and music consultant John Rostron, with the winning album selected by a panel of music industry expert judges.
Mr Rostron said: “The entire live music sector has been decimated this year, and for artists that means their opportunity to perform live, earn income and grow their fanbase has been halted.
“But Covid-19 hasn’t quashed our appetite for listening to and discovering new music.
“Streaming and buying new records has been a lifeline for performers to reach audiences, and for us all to stay in good health with a daily dose of great new songs.”
Others to triumph in the past include Boy Azooga in 2018 and Gwenno in 2015, who have both gone on to tour globally.
Ani Glass – Mirores
Ani Glass (Cardiff-based electronic pop musician Ani Saunders) will hope to follow in the footsteps of sister Gwenno, in taking the prize. She sings in Welsh, Cornish and English, and won the album of the year prize at the National Eisteddfod.
Colorama – Chaos Wonderland
Their seventh studio album, it reflects on the beauty and the chaos of the world frontman Carwyn Ellis saw while touring with The Pretenders.
Cotton Wolf – Ofni
Super producer Llion Robertson and classically-trained composer Seb Goldfinch combine to showcase a bolder production with faster tempos and purer electronic sounds.
Deyha – Care City
A smooth hybrid of spoken word, rap and soul, Deyah covers topics from isolation to addiction and healing in this powerful self-produced album.
Don Leisure – Steel Zakuski
Don Leisure is a familiar name in the world of beat-driven, post-hip hop, electronic-based music. Steel Zakuski uses samples from a discovered series of rock, pop, rare groove and disco records from the USSR, predominately recorded in the late 70s and early 80s.
Georgia Ruth – Mai
Everything about this previous Welsh Music Prize winner’s latest album Mai is magical. From the location it was recorded in Aberystwyth’s iconic Joseph Parry Hall, to the themes of new motherhood.
Gruff Rhys – Pang!
Recorded over 18 months, Pang! features musicians from across the globe, with Gruff’s Welsh language lyrics, bass from South African electronic artist Muzi and drums by Welsh-American Kliph Scurlock.
Islet – Eyelet
With themes of death and rebirth presented in pysch pop, Eyelet is a glimpse into the colourful world of Islet.
Keys – Bring Me The Head of Jerry Garcia
The first release from the Cardiff band in five years, and a perfect blend of psychedelic garage goodness.
Kidsmoke – A Vision In The Dark
The debut album of Wrexham’s shimmering indie-pop quartet, Kidsmoke, encapsulating the feeling of summer, but with a new and distinctive twist.
Los Blancos – Sbwriel Gwyn
The much-talked-about debut album is a proudly Welsh album that conveys the band’s recent experiences from heartache, rural isolation, friendship, alcohol and a love song to a dog. Sbwriel Gwyn is Welsh for “white trash” which is how the band affectionately refer to one another.
Luke’s music is about everything from mental health to drug use. He burst onto the local underground scene in Cardiff with his debut single ‘Lost’ in 2018 which has amassed more than 14,000 views on YouTube.
Right Hand Left Hand – Zone Rouge
The album tells the story of humanity’s contempt for the earth, air and people, with each of its 11 tracks referring to a location on Earth where something bad has happened.
Silent Forum – Everything Solved At Once
Silent Forum’s long-awaited debut album is a black-comedy concept album about life on the fringes of the Welsh music industry. Frontman Richard Wiggins writes with a self-deprecating sense of humour and a sharp eye for catchy one-liners.
Yr Ods – Iaith y Nefoedd
The third album from Cardiff five-piece Yr Ods is a multi-medium, Welsh-language concept album created in partnership with Welsh author Llwyd Owen. Iaith y Nefoedd means ‘Language of Heaven’ and the album creates a Welsh world inspired by real life cults such as Heaven’s Gate and Jonestown.
The band stays true to their pop melodies, but with a darker sound than their previous work.
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