The Mercury Prize is the best metal of prize. Much better than the Wrought Iron Prize, the Tin Prize and the Ytterbium Prize. Yes, I just looked that up.
In advance of the Mercury shortlist being announced later this week, my friends at Picky Bastards have cobbled together a pretty impressive alternative list of Mercury Prize nominations
FKA Twigs is hailed as a genius, there's praise for the warm analogue tones of Michael Kiwanuka, and Ghostpoet offers a "masterclass in restraint". One album is called an "uncompromising, apocalyptic triumph" but you'll have to read the article to find out which album it is.
I've also made a suggestion: 808 State's Transmission Suite. "808 State’s first album for 17 years wasn’t just a triumph in techno," I write. "It was a brilliantly realised celebration of old electronics." Have a read of all of our alternative Mercury albums here.
While you read that, I'm going to learn about ytterbium. It's named after Ytterby in Sweden, which is a bunch of houses built on a haunted mine. Apparently Ytterbium has a "molar heat capacity" , which I can only assume is to do with setting your teeth on fire. You shouldn't put ytterbium in your eyes, which, to be fair, you can say about most things.
Have you finished reading that Mercury piece? Good. I can stop reading about ytterbium now: it's really dull.
While I'm lazily researching things, here's something else. Wikipedia tells me the Mercury Prize is named after their original telecommunications company sponsor Mercury Communications. When Technics took over as sponsor in 1998, they kept the Mercury name, even though the Technics Prize would have loads more cred because of the whole turntable thing.
Maybe the Technics Prize can be a dance music version of the Mercury, which would make me very happy. Someone set that up, please, thank you.