As some of you may remember, I followed last year's Welsh Music Prize very closely. Some might say too closely; I dedicated an entire blog post to each nominee, listening to all 12 albums in turn and deciding, over the course of several weeks, which act I was rooting for. You can relive the whole saga here if you're so inclined.
I'd dearly like to do it all again this year, but I've got a bit of a problem. The WMP folks haven't revealed their 2014 shortlist yet - the announcement is slated for next Tuesday - but there are two albums that are almost certain to be included:
Left: American Interior by Gruff Rhys. Right: Futurology by the Manic Street Preachers.
Now, the whole reason I embarked upon my great WMP adventure last year was because I'd only heard one of the twelve album's on the 2013 shortlist (Praxis Makes Perfect by Neon Neon). I felt kind of bad for ignoring all of this (presumably) excellent Welsh music - music made, more or less, on my own doorstep - and so I bought and blogged about each album as an act of penance.
But if Gruff Rhys and the Manics both make this year's shortlist - and they surely will, given the glowing reception that both albums received - I'll have heard more than one of the nominated albums, and the whole thing will be a little less meaningful for it. There could be others, too - it will be a travesty if Quiet Marauder's MEN isn't included on the shortlist, and I'm pretty sure that Andrew Paul Regan's very good Dinas Powys album is eligible, too. If all four of these albums get the nod, I'll already be familiar with a quarter of the shortlist, and while I suppose I can still blog about those records that I already own, it won't be an epic voyage of discovery like last time. Besides, I'm not sure I can muster yet another blog about MEN.
Oh well. All I can do at this point is wait and see - the shortlist will be announced on Tuesday, so I'll make a decision once I know which albums are up for the gong. In the meantime, here's a choice cut from last year's shortlist: