The Scottish Album of the Year (SAY) award longlist was announced this week and while I’m not its biggest fan there are definitely albums worth your attention. Truth be told the older established artists have produced the best albums and therein lies the quandary for the judges.
Do they give the award to Franz Ferdinand or Mogwai, who will be pleased to win but won’t really be affected by the prize, or do they give it to a relative newcomer who will at least reap some benefit – if not as much as might be hoped ?
All of these artists have music industry connections and it is unlikely that the 100 people entrusted to choose the bands that made the longlist will ever listen to the hundreds of albums and then vote for something not already known to them. Many will just vote for their friends and their favoured genre which while understandable makes it impossible for any outstanding album by an artist not connected to progress.
Because of the background of the 100 chosen, dance and folk albums are always over-represented – a bias initially put in to stop the award being swamped by indie guitar bands but in some years it has meant well received albums from indie bands not even making the long list.
You can listen to and find out more about each album on the SAY Award Longlist by visiting sayaward.com where there will be two featured albums every day from Monday, August 6. One of the albums shortlisted will be chosen by public vote.
In previous years the albums had physical releases with distribution and shops were encouraged to highlight all the albums on the long list with point of sale provided. This has not been the case more recently and I was surprised to hear HMV and FOPP thanked for their support last year when I had seen nothing in Edinburgh.
This is not really the shops’ fault as the dance albums have no potential to cross over, the folk albums, while niche, can only benefit a little and the bigger indie albums are known to people already. This just leaves a handful of albums that might see a small boost in sales.
Waterstones on Princes Street has just started to stock a selection of albums by Scottish artists on vinyl and CD curated by myself so it will be interesting to test the theory that good albums, well presented can still reach a new audience beyond any established fan base.
The SAY longlist in full
Adam Holmes and The Embers: Midnight Milk
BABE: Kiss & Tell
Best Girl Athlete: Best Girl Athlete
Blue Rose Code: The Water of Leith
Catholic Action: In Memory Of
Chris Stout and Catriona McKay: Bare Knuckle
Elephant Sessions: All We Have Is Now
Franz Ferdinand: Always Ascending
Golden Teacher: No Luscious Life
Happy Meals (now known as Free Love): Full Ashram Devotional Ceremony (Volumes IV - VI)
Karine Polwart with Pippa Murphy: A Pocket of Wind Resistance
Kobi Onyame: Gold
Martha Ffion: Sunday Best
Mogwai: Every Country’s Sun
Neon Waltz: Strange Hymns
Out Lines: Conflats
Pronto Mama: Any Joy
Siobhan Wilson: There Are No Saints
The Spook School: Could It Be Different
Young Fathers: Cocoa Sugar