Barclaycard Mercury Prize Recommends brings you some of the week's most interesting online music from around the world...


This week a special edition of Recommends celebrates the recently announced 2014 Barclaycard Mercury Prize 'Albums of the Year' shortlist. As ever the list champions creativity from across the UK with an incredible range of styles represented by each of the twelve acts and artists. You can catch the Launch TV coverage, hosted by Nick Grimshaw, on 4oD now.

Tracks: Anna Calvi, Kate Tempest, GoGo Penguin


Videos: Damon Albarn, Bombay Bicycle Club, Royal Blood


Albums: Nick Mulvey, Young Fathers, East India Youth


Live: FKA Twigs, Polar Bear, Jungle

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    2014 'Albums of the Year' Announcement

    The 2014 Barclaycard Mercury Prize 'Albums of the Year' were announced this week at a very special event at The Hospital Club in London's Covent Garden. Host Alice Levine ran through the twelve albums shortlisted for the Prize, then welcomed both Kate Tempest and Nick Mulvey to the stage for a pair of intimate performances. You can catch the Launch TV coverage, hosted by Nick Grimshaw, on 4oD now.

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    VIP Awards Show Package Competition

    Though the dust may still be settling from the announcement of the 2014 Barclaycard Mercury Prize ‘Albums of the Year’ shortlist, thoughts begin to turn to the Awards Show. The big night is set for Wednesday 29th October, and you could be part of the action. A VIP package including balcony tickets and a luxury stay at the St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel is up for grabs, visit the Mercury Prize website or Facebook page to enter.

  • Anna Calvi

    Papi Pacify

    FKA Twigs Cover

    Whilst dazzling debuts dominate the 2014 Barclaycard Mercury Prize 'Albums of the Year', Anna Calvi is one of a handful of artists making the return journey after first being recognised for her stunning self-titled set in 2011. The dark theatrics that coloured her debut are pronounced on sophomore offering One Breath, a beguiling album that marks Anna out as one of Britain's boldest songwriters. She looks to another of her fellow 'Albums of the Year' artists, FKA Twigs, for this stunning rendition of Papi Pacify.

  • Kate Tempest

    The Beigeness

    Big Dada

    Kate Tempest's oratory output has always drawn equally from the differing disciplines of Hip Hop and Spoken Word, and whilst it was her work within the latter that first saw her rise to prominence it's the former that initially inspired her to pick up a microphone and has since continued to inform her engrossing urban narratives. The lyrical South Londoner combines both backgrounds on her ingenious debut album Everybody Down, a complex character-driven opus that unfolds over a steady flow of heavyweight beats.

  • GoGo Penguin


    Gondwana Records

    A fresh generation of Jazz players are breathing new life into the piano trio, taking stylistic cues from forbears like Brad Mehldau and the late Esbjörn Svensson whilst incorporating other musical elements that reach far past the boundaries of Jazz in its most traditional setting. Few embody this amalgam of influences more absolutely than Manchester's GoGo Penguin, who captivate on their stunning sophomore v2.0. The set closes with Hopopono, a beautifully paced piece sure to tug on even the most hardened of heartstrings.

  • Damon Albarn

    Back and Forth with Richard Russell

    Over the past fifteen years Damon Albarn has headed up an incredible number of projects with a cast of musicians from every corner of the globe. All of these endeavours have in some way coloured his first ever solo album Everyday Robots, though it's the storied songwriter's own life that serves as the set's chief inspiration. Albarn recently sat down with producer Richard Russell, the pair explaining how they first met and how the album came to life.

  • Bombay Bicycle Club

    Live At Brixton Academy

    The boys from Bombay Bicycle Club have crammed plenty into a relatively short career, their first three perfectly formed albums all arriving in annual succession and latest long player So Long, See You Tomorrow entering the UK Albums Chart at number one. The lads celebrated this landmark with a sold-out show at Brixton Academy shortly after the album's release, and are now streaming the full footage from the gig on their website.

  • Royal Blood

    The Making Of…

    In little more than a year Royal Blood have gone from playing basement venues in Brighton to selling out concert halls across the country and topping the album charts with their dynamic self-titled debut, a stratospheric rise that the duo discuss during this series of short Making Of clips. They also show the cameras around Rockfield Studios, the legendary residential recording complex in Monmouthshire where they committed the album to tape.

  • Nick Mulvey

    First Mind


    Pursuing a primary passion for songwriting might have first felt like a huge departure from the worldly Jazz Nick Mulvey once created with Portico Quartet, but even the most fleeting of listens to his spellbinding debut First Mind should show the leap wasn't so large after all. African inspired polyrhythms and Minimalist arrangements, elements integral to Nick's work on the hang, are just as prominent on a charming collection of songs brought to life by the young troubadour's effortless and unaffected vocal delivery.

  • Young Fathers


    Big Dada

    To label Young Fathers a Hip Hop trio would be somewhat unjust, as whilst that's ostensibly what they are there's an unapologetic streak of experimentalism that runs through the centre of their music which lifts them clear of the usual trappings of Rap. Drawing on their African roots, Scottish upbringings, indigenous Electronica and a shared passion for experimental American Rap, Alloysious, Kayus and Graham channel a carefully considered confluence of outernational sounds on their shuddering debut Dead.

  • East India Youth

    Total Strife Forever

    Stolen Recordings

    A wave of emotion has crashed over the world of electronic music in recent years with an increasing number of artists placing as much import on soulful songwriting as the digital interfaces that power their creative process. As East India Youth, William Doyle typifies this integration of traditional technique with ultra-modern production, his consuming debut album - the Foals referencing Total Strife Forever - a breathless bricolage of post-everything Electronica, moving Modern Classical and orchestrally inclined outsider Pop.

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    FKA Twigs

    Hackney Empire, London

    Wednesday 8th October

    Striking, seductive and entirely of the moment, FKA Twigs has fast attracted the attention of music fans, fashionistas and trendsetters alike with her hypnotic reassessment of 21st Century R&B. A succession of EPs and singles, all of which have come accompanied by their own gorgeously realised visuals, have led up to the recent release of her celebrated debut album, the sensuously paced and self-effacingly entitled LP1.

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    Polar Bear

    Millenium Hall, Sheffield

    Thursday 13th November

    Few countries can boast a Jazz scene as inventive as that of the UK's, which for many decades has been driven by a collective urge to move the music forwards. In recent years Polar Bear have been at the white heat of this progression, inspiring everyone close by with their own ongoing evolution and setting new precedents with each successive album. The journey continues with their fifth album, the brilliantly impulsive In Each And Every One.

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    Shepherd's Bush Empire, London

    Thursday 30th October

    A run of brilliantly conceived videos and a tight-lipped publicity policy meant the music was allowed to speak for itself when Jungle first appeared on the scene a matter of months ago, and from the outset there were plenty of people willing to listen. Now recognised as Josh Lloyd-Watson and Tom McFarland, Jungle have capitalised on the early attention with their eponymous debut, a thrilling slice of ultra-modern Soul music.