A little late, but much earlier than my usual tardy bandwaggon jumping, are my thoughts on the Mercury Music Prize.

I’ve been a fan for a few years simply because it’s a great excuse to listen to music I wouldn’t normally come across.  Plus, my favourite never, ever wins — except when PJ Harvey’s superlative Stories From The City … picked up the gong — and that tends to be cue for much shouting at the telly and for me and the missus to do our impression of The Review Show.  Lightning wasn’t to strike for a second time this year.  There were a few that I favoured above the eventual winner, but one stood out for me.

In amongst the Cumbrian folk, jazz, bedroom electronica and, em, Elbow, is this little gem; Laura Marling.  Her album, Alas I Cannot Swim, is beautiful in a depressing-and-I-want-to-kill-myself sort of way, but there are times when that’s precisely what I want to listen to.  I think Eamonn Holmes, arbiter of taste such as he is, called No Suprises by Radiohead “music to slit your wrists to.”  This isn’t quite as bad.  More like, music to scratch yourself until you bleed to.

Anyway, here’s one of her more upbeat offerings as a tasty sampler.  Enjoy.  Maybe cut your nails first.

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