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GIT Award 2016 Nominees
Adam Lowerson , April 20th, 2016 14:51

12 nominees for the award, which will be handed out next month, have been announced

The GIT Award 2016 has announced its shortlist for this year’s prize, which will be awarded at an event at Liverpool’s Constellations on May 14. The 12 artists nominated are Bill Ryder-Jones, Stealing Sheep, Hooton Tennis Club, Dragged Into Sunlight, TVAM, Trudy, L U M E N, RongoRongo, The Vryll Society, Mugstar, Clean Cut Kid and MiC Lowry.

The annual prize is awarded to Merseyside’s artist of the year, and is decided by a panel of judges which this year includes ex-Cocteau Twins member and Bella Union founder Simon Raymonde, Rich Walker of 4AD Records and founder of Heavenly Recordings, Jeff Barrett. They’re joined by a number of other high profile national judges: Dot Levine of VEVO, BBC 6Music’s Gideon Coe, The Unsigned Guide editor Louise Dodgson, Amazing Radio DJ Jon Hillcock, and tQ editor, John Doran.

Lauren Jones of the Music Manual, Simon Pursehouse of Sentric Music, Shell Zenner of Amazing Radio, editor of Liverpool monthly music mag Bido Lito!, Chris Torpey, Liverpool Music Week’s Mike Deane, LIMF curator Yaw Owuso, EVOL promoter Steve Miller, and founder of the GIT Award, Peter Guy make up the selection of Merseyside-based judges.

The GIT Award, which is now in its fifth year, has gained national coverage and acclaim, receiving support from the likes of BBC 6Music, the Quietus and Yoko Ono, with the latter offering the winner of the 2014 award, Baltic Fleet, the opportunity to perform at her Meltdown Festival. Described by some as the Scouse Mercury Prize, the award has become a symbol of Liverpool music’s rejuvenation over recent years, with several of its shortlisted artists and winners going on to achieve national success and critical acclaim.

Liverpool’s music scene is enjoying somewhat of a purple patch, and is beginning to shake the assumptions that Merseyside music is all jangly guitars and skiffle rhythms, with everyone sounding like the Beatles or the La’s, and the diversity in this year’s shortlist is a sign of this. With artists as varied as psychedelic veterans Mugstar to the R&B soul of teenage pop starlets MiC Lowry, from the established names like Bill Ryder-Jones to the raw potential of L U M E N, it’s impossible to pigeonhole the Liverpool sound.

Although it’s been a while since the shores of the Mersey have produced a chart success, there are a number of exciting acts beginning to establish themselves as major players on the UK music scene. Last year’s winners All We Are’s self-titled debut LP released on Domino offshoot Double Six Records propelled them into the national spotlight, while nominees Stealing Sheep have continued to spread their wings with their record Not Real and audio/visual event series Mythopoeia gaining them a slot at David Byrne’s Meltdown Festival.

Despite the city losing its musical epicentre in the Kazimier at the beginning of 2016, the music scene continues to thrive with new and exciting artists, who are capturing industry eyes across the country. Låpsley, having released her debut album on XL Records, is flying the flag for Liverpool pop while acts such as the Vryll Society, the Night Café and Trudy are building considerable followings across the indie world.

There is much for the city to be proud of at the moment, and the 12 acts shortlisted for the GIT Award act only as a snapshot of a hugely diverse, creative and fascinating scene. And although they’ve been selected by the panel of industry judges as the strongest from this year in Merseyside music, they should be used as a starting point for the discovery of a whole wave of great new music from the city. The GIT Award is a mirror to something much bigger. The window to a buzzing community of talented and ambitious people, taking inspiration from others around them and doing their own thing. Liverpool is not so much a music scene but a collection of mini scenes, happenings and movements, all adding to what makes Liverpool a great city of music. Clean Cut Kid

Though Clean Cut Kid’s success appeared to spring out of nowhere, the reality is quite the opposite. Performing and writing under a number of guises, husband and wife duo Mike and Evelyn Halls finally found the winning formula with bandmates Saul Godman and Ross Higginson and released the soulful pop-infused ‘Vitamin C’ and ‘Twenty Years From Now’ to rapturous reception. Grabbing the attention of Radio 1, they were quickly snapped up by Polydor Records before going on to summer performances at Latitude Festival, Secret Garden Party plus headlining the BBC Introducing Stage at Reading Festival as well as support slots with the likes of Years and Years, Shura and Rat Boy. Having played New York’s CMJ and SXSW in Austin, Texas they’re ready to make the summer festival season their own.

Dragged Into Sunlight

At the forefront of Liverpool’s metal scene, Dragged Into Sunlight are a mysterious, balaclava clad four piece who specialise in what they describe as extreme metal. Known for performing with their backs to their audience, and having released tracks such as ‘Lashed To The Grinder And Stoned To Death’, the band made up of members named only by letters, T, A, C and J, are not for the faint-hearted. Their 2015 collaborated album with Gnaw Their Tongues, NV, was released on Prosthetic Records and gained widespread critical acclaim from the likes of Metalhammer and tQ. Having devastated crowds at Damnation Festival and Maryland Deathfest, Dragged Into Sunlight have spent much of 2016 on tour across Europe and the USA pulverising critics and fans alike with their sludge and black metal combination.

Hooton Tennis Club

Nominated for the GIT Award for the second year in a row, Ellesmere Port’s Hooton Tennis Club have enjoyed a huge 12 months since their signing to Heavenly Recordings in early 2015. Since the release of their first single on the label in ‘Jasper’, which gained them recognition from the likes of BBC 6 Music’s Lauren Laverne who named it one of her favourite tracks of the year, Ryan Murphy, James Madden, Callum McFadden and Harry Chalmers haven’t looked back. Their debut record Highest Point In Cliff Town was later released to high acclaim from across the music press before the four-piece embarked on a UK, European and US tour, culminating in one of the final shows at the Kazimier. 2016 kicked off in similar style with Hooton Tennis Club performing at SXSW Festival in Austin, Texas and a raft of summer festival dates already lined up.

L U M E N

Championed by Radio 1’s Huw Stephens and having supported acts such as Frankie and the Heartstrings, 17-year old songwriter Liam Brown is the latest exciting prospect from the LIMF Academy. Having only first emerged late in to 2015, L U M E N is a throwback to 1980s indie icons such as the Cure, a sound which is showcased on his debut track ‘What Will Life Make Of You’. The Aintree-born solo artist has only a handful of live shows under his belt so far but has very much caught the eye of the music world, and has gained slots opening for fellow GIT Award nominees Clean Cut Kid.

MiC LOWRY

Mentored by Liverpool soul star Esco Williams, MiC Lowry are fast becoming Liverpool's next big pop sensations. Since forming in 2011, teenagers Ben Sharples, Kaine Ofoeme, Akia Jones, Delleile Ankrah and Michael Welch have followed in the footsteps of their mentor by winning the MOBO UnSung prize for emerging artists in 2015 and collaborated with grime star Wiley on their hit track ‘Super Model’ (300,000 YouTube plays). Their slick R&B tunes and smooth harmonies have captured the hearts of 130,000 Facebook fans and rising while 2016 looks set to be a big year for the five-piece with a slot supporting Little Mix to look forward to.

Mugstar

Psychedelic explorers Mugstar are one of Liverpool’s finest exports from the last decade. In their 13 year career the four piece made up of Pete Smyth, Neil Murphy, Jason Stoll and Steve Ashton have toured across the world, released a split single with Mudhoney and recorded the last ever Peel Session, shortly before the legendary DJ’s death. Now their recent eighth studio album, Magnetic Seasons, released on Mogwai’s Rock Action label, has gained plaudits from tQ, Piccadilly Records and Louder Than War and has been described as one of their best records yet. The krautrock-inspired foursome have since performed on Marc Riley’s BBC 6Music show and are embarking on a European tour.

RongoRongo

It wasn’t long after their first ever live performance that Liverpool’s RongoRongo were featured in NME’s Radar section, pinpointing them as a new band to keep a keen eye on. Their debut EP, Automatic Hypnotist, released on the burgeoning Merseyside label War Room Records was lauded by Q Magazine, while single ‘Faster’ was named New Track of The Day by NME. The sinister rock and rollers, made up of Jonny Davis Le Brun, Our Keith, Mick Chrysalid, Philip Chrysalid, Sam Gill and Alex Walker are set to perform at this year’s FestEVOL alongside Steve Mason and Juliette and the Licks.

Bill Ryder-Jones

Widely regarded as one of Merseyside’s strongest musical artists, Bill Ryder-Jones released his fourth album, West Kirby County Primary, on Domino Records in 2015 going on to be named as the sixth best record of the year by Mojo Magazine while featuring prominently in best of lists in NME and Q Magazine. The last 12 months saw Ryder-Jones spread his wings even further, collaborating with the Immix Ensemble on a specially commissioned composition exploring his struggles with mental health. In 2015, he was also awarded backing from the PRS Momentum Fund, and recently released a stunning orchestral arrangement titled ‘No Worst, There Is None’. Bill Ryder-Jones is a founding member of Wirral band The Coral, and released five records with the band before leaving in 2007. He has collaborated with the likes of Arctic Monkeys and Graham Coxon. He is currently touring the UK on a sell-out headline tour.

Stealing Sheep

Rebecca Hawley, Emily Lansley and Lucy Mercer follow in a long and illustrious line of great psychedelic pop acts to emerge from the shores of the river Mersey. Their second album, Not Real, released on Heavenly Recordings early in 2015 capped off what was a huge year for the trio, which saw them perform at David Byrne’s Meltdown Festival, Green Man and End of the Road, as well as touring with Maximo Park and Django Django and featuring in the In Dreams: David Lynch Revisited show. November saw the third instalment of Mythopoeia, Stealing Sheep’s audio/visual immersive experience where they performed their composition and dance performance ‘LEGS’.

Trudy

Trudy are a rabble rousing trio, Oliver Taylor, Lewis Rollinson and Brad Mullins, who make 1950s rockabilly-infused mutant guitar pop. The band, who study at LIPA, have been taken under the production wing of Bill Ryder-Jones while supporting the likes of Hooton Tennis Club at the Kazimier and recently performing at the GIT Award Launch. Their latest track, ‘Behave’, was produced by Spring King’s Tarek Musa and 2016 has seen them launch their own headline tour while supporting the likes of Kidwave, Yuck and Bill Ryder-Jones across the UK.

TVAM

TVAM is one man, Joe Oxley. Taking influence from a lifetime of repeats, reruns and reboots, he crafted his own low-budget, high-risk concept. A world in which broadcast becomes performance. Sonic references straddle the spectrum of influence - think Boards of Canada's irresistible nostalgia, think Suicide's deconstructed rock 'n' roll, think My Bloody Valentine's infinite noise. After gaining the attention of Clash, Lauren Laverne and Gideon Coe with the single ‘PORSCHE MAJEURE', TVAM will release GAS & AIR on Static Caravan this month.

The Vryll Society

Having released music under a number of different names, Serotonin and the Dirty Rivers, and built a solid following on the Liverpool live scene, the six piece relaunched as The Vryll Society back in 2014 and haven't looked back. Their debut EP Pangea, released on the rejuvenated Deltasonic Records, showcased the band’s talent for epic, psych-rock voyages and has gained them attention from the likes of Radio X and NME while netting a UK tour support slot alongside Blossoms. The band also performed at the GIT Award 2015 at the Kazimier in tribute to the late Deltasonic founder Alan Wills.

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