Earlier this week, Mercury Prize announced the shortlist of nominees up for this year’s best UK or Irish album. Among the contenders? David Bowie, Arctic Monkeys, and Disclosure. Among the noticeably absent? My Bloody Valentine, who returned earlier this year with the brilliant m b v, their first album in 22 years.
In an interview with The Guardian, My Bloody Valentine frontman Kevin Shields accused Mercury of “banning” the band due to their decision to release m b v independently of major distributors. “We’re banned by them, and do you know why? Because we’re not on Amazon or iTunes. That’s one of the qualifying criteria. You have to have major distribution or be on iTunes or Amazon,” Shields said.
As The Guardian notes, Shield’s claims are legitimate. The Mercury Prize website notes that nominated albums have “a digital and physical distribution deal in place in the UK”. As of today, m b v is only available digitally through the band’s website.
Shields continued: “We released our record, mbv, independently. It’s interesting to learn that to be as independent as we are is … virtually illegal. It’s not a real record. Our album’s not a real album because it’s independent. The corporate-ness has got to such a point where we’ve essentially been told that we don’t exist. So, technically, that album doesn’t exist. OK? It’s not allowed to exist according to the Mercury prize.”
Despite his criticisms, Shields indicated that the snub may lead to m b v being available on iTunes, “just to see what happens,” he explained. However, Shields ended his rant by saying, “God help” whoever wins, adding that every act who’s won the prize “suffered” in the aftermath. “Seriously… there are sinister forces at work.”
If its any consolation, Kevin, you’re still eligible for the Consequence of Sound Year-End list, and based on our five-star review of the album, I imagine you’re going to place pretty well.
Here’s one of the many songs from m b v: