The prestigious and highly-coveted Australian Music Prize has unveiled its official shortlist today. Beginning with an 85-album Longlist made up of Australia’s strongest and most beloved records for the year, the prize’s shortlist is now down to just 9 of Australia’s most important releases of 2018.
2018’s shortlist once again sees the true artist breadth of Australian music; from Gurrumul’s posthumous orchestral release ‘Djarimirri’ to Courtney Barnett’s indie pop tome ‘Tell Me How You Really Feel’ to The Presets’ self-described “Pub Rock Techno” album ‘Hi Viz’. Then there’s Abbe May’s sexy funk on ‘Fruit’, Dead Can Dance’s art-rock masterpiece ‘Dionysus’, dream-pop songwriter Laura Jean’s ‘Devotion’ and the baroque-folk of Grand Salvo and their record ‘Sea Glass’. The instrumental jazz stylings of Sam Anning’s ‘Across A Field As Vast as One’ and rock of Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever’s ‘Hope Downs’ rounds out perhaps the most eclectic list in the Australian Music Prize’s 14 year history.
“As each year starts to tick by you think it’ll be easier than the last to settle on the nine. Then the excellent albums start to stack up and the judging panel is again faced with a Herculean task of collectively agreeing – and 2018 was no different,” said judge and journalist Kate Hennessy.
“Even as people who listen constantly to Australian music, the judges are always surprised by new discoveries, which are by no means always new artists, either. This discovery is one of the prize’s most rewarding and important roles. We are all really proud of the breadth of Australian music evidenced by this year’s shortlist.“
The AMP Shortlist transcends genre, popularity and politics, with 21 judges – including artists, journalists, retailers, programmers and more – selecting the best Australian albums of the year based solely on artistic merit. The AMP Shortlist proves the virility and importance of the album format as it continues to boldly wave the flag as an artistic counterpoint to on-demand single track consumption.
“Looking at the Shortlist as a judge, what’s thrilling isn’t just that there were more than 400 albums from which to choose and somehow we got it down to 9, but that the best of 2018 had such breadth as well as depth. Said Australian Music Prize judge Bernard Zuel. “From neo-classical intersecting with traditional indigenous and a record which captured the sounds of the world as heard through Australian ears to electronica with a hard edge, jazz and rock, there was so much to sink teeth into. How good is it that artists still see what an album can do?“
With past winners including The Drones, A.B. Original, Courtney Barnett, Sampa the Great, Lisa Mitchell and The Jezabels, the Australian Music Prize awards the year’s best album $30,000 courtesy of its principal partner PPCA and is respected along with global contemporaries including the UK’s Mercury Prize and Canada’s Polaris Prize.
Dan Rosen, Chief Executive PPCA said “On behalf of PPCA, I would like to congratulate the nine artists that have made it through to the shortlist of the 14th Australian Music Prize. All of them have produced remarkable albums. We look forward to presenting the winner with their $30,000 prize money in March.”
The judges will meet in Melbourne on March 7th to decide upon a winner of the 14th Annual Australian Music Prize.