The Dead Albatross Music Prize 2015 – Shortlist

…and on the evening of nominations, Murdoc Niccals did speak unto to the Mercury crowd, and thusly said “Mercury award? Sounds a bit heavy, man! Y’know sorta like carrying a dead albatross round your neck for eternity” and the Dead Albatross was born…

Yep, our favourite time of year again, Dead Albatross Music Prize 2015 is just around the corner. Stoked to be sitting on the panel once again, which gets larger and more impressive with each time around, and I don’t mind saying that that shit has been stressful the last few years, so much good music.

For those new to it, the Dead Albatross is an annual music award for the best album releases to come out of the UK for the year. Now in it’s third year (with Ibibio Sound Machine taking out 2014 and Ela Orleans in 2013) the awards have shook any alt-Mercury Music Prize affiliations, and are partnering with Norman Records and Reel Rebels for 2015.

The shortlist goes out, the panel lives with the records for about a month and a half, and then the voted are tallied culminating in a few hours worth of radio covering the nominees and ending with the winner. Check out the previous years below.

Dead Albatross 2014:
Dead Albatross 2013:

Once again Paul Ackroyd aka Kamikaze has sifted through mounds of recommendations to put together a shortlist – last count was about 450 albums representing the best of British and Irish underground music.

This year there has also seen the addition of a second category, specifically for reissues that dropped during the 12 months alongside the new stuff.

Happy to own up to the fact that none of my recommendations made the shortlist, and most of the twenty-one strong list is new to me, meaning the next month or so living with these albums is all the better.

So on to the shortlist!

New Albums
A Middle Sex – Soul Sways West [The Audacious Art Experiment]
Annabel (Lee) – By The Sea (And Other Solitary Places) – [If Music/Ninja Tune]
Laura Cannell – Beneath Swooping Talons – [Front & Follow]
Cathode Ray Eyes – Eyes In The Melancholy Palm [Cardinal Fuzz]
Crying Lion -The Golden Boat [Honest Jon’s Records]
Cut Hands – Festival of the Dead [Blackest Ever Black]
Defenders Of Style – The Death of Meaning [Self Release]
Orlando Julius & The Heliocentrics – Jaiyede Afro [Strut]
Liberez – All Tense Now Lax [Night School]
Lost Wax – The Poacher [Chocolate Monk]
LV & Josh Idehen – Islands [Keysound]
Perfume Advert – +200 Gamma [Opal Tapes]
Ramsom Badbonez – Silva Surfa [Boot]
Roger Robinson -Dis Side Ah Town [Jahtari]
Sarpanitum – Blessed By My Brothers [Willowtip]
Sloath – Deep Mountain [Riot Season]
The Fear Ratio – Refuge Of A Twisted Soul [Skam]
The Mouse Outfit – Step Steadier [HHV.DE]
Twisted – Utopia [Specialist Subject]
Michael Valentine West – Code 17 Abstraction [Ana Ott]
Bourbonese Qualk – Bourbonese Qualk 1983-1987 [Mannequin]
Ginger Johnson & His African Messengers – African Party [Freestyle]
Muslimgauze – Minaret Speaker [Staalplaat]
Singers & Players – War of Words [On U-Sound]
Various Artist – A New Life [Jazzman]

The Dead Albatross Music Prize, champion of the UK underground, returns for its third outing. Last year Ibibio Sound Machine scooped the hallowed albatross carcass, and Ela Orleans in 2013. Meet the motley crew who will be battling it out for this year’s prize…

Alongside the new albums, we have also introduced a reissue/archive/compilation/retrospective category to help reflect the astonishing amount of great music we would never have heard were it not for labels hunting down these forgotten gems.

You will be able to stream all 25 albums on the shortlist via this website very soon, and we invite you to come and join in the fun. We already have a massive panel of music lovers living with these albums, but if you think you have what it takes to be a music judge please get in touch with us via – we’d love to hear from you!

We have teamed up with Norman Records again this time round, and Reel Rebels Radio will be the official station of the prize, so keep an eye on this site and our twitter page for more from those!

For press, interviews, and general contact :, @funfairbonanza + #deadalbatross

Happy listening, enjoy the musical journey, and welcome aboard the good ship Albatross x