First Finalists For 2012’s Best Australian Album Unveiled

When it comes to Australia’s most coveted – and lucrative – music accolade, the Australian Music Prize (AMP), unless you are part of the three party circle jerk comprising the local music industry, local music media and the Australian blogging community, you may not care – or even know – that the award exists. But for those parties with a vested interest in the industry award once comparable to the UK’s Mercury Prize, the AMP is surrounded by more contention, criticism and conspiracy theories than a post-chess Bobby Fischer.

Today the newly re-branded The Coopers AMP announced a change in the ‘Long List’ process that has been previously employed to deduce which Australian album releases would vie to be shortlisted for the Prize. Instead of the requiring bands and artists to submit their albums with an entry fee, the fee has been removed (opening the competition up to a greater breadth of acts) and a judging panel will select and invite albums to be part of the Long List.

The first 26 albums invited as Official Entrants to The 8th Australian Music Prize was revealed with several more to follow. These are the albums in contention so far:

Alpine – A Is For Alpine
Bearhug – Bill, Dance, Shiner
Bushwalking – First Time
Catcall – The Warmest Place
Charge Group – Charge Group
Children Collide – Monument
Deep Sea Arcade – Outlands
Dirty Three – Towards The Low Sun
DZ Deathrays – Bloodstreams
Emma Russack – Sounds Of Our City
Forty Thousand Sisters – Goodbye Broken Sled
Grand Salvo – Slay Me In My Sleep
Hermitude – Hyper-Paradise
Hilltop Hoods – Drinking From The Sun
House Vs Hurricane – Crooked Teeth
Jess Ribeiro & The Bone Collectors – My Little River
Liz Stringer – Warm In The Darkness
Made In Japan – Sights & Sounds
Missy Higgins – The Ol’ Razzle Dazzle
Ollo – Ape Delay
Pond – Beard, Wives, Denim
The Bamboos – Medicine Man
The Hello Morning – The Hello Morning
The Maple Trail – Cable Mount Warning
Tim Hart – Milling The Wind
Xavier Rudd – Spirit Bird

This new structure for deducing The Coopers AMP long list is a fantastic update because it means albums that might not have received as much high profile press, radio play or commercial attention as others, will not be overlooked.

Last year the credibility of the Prize came under criticism when judge Andrew Mast controversially quit, claiming the shortlist did not reflect the breadth or quality of Australian music released in 2011.

The majority of 2012 judges have taken part on the panel in previous years: Chris Berkley, Deborah Conway, Dave Faulkner, Tim Freedman, Mike Glynn, Chris Johnston, Shannon Logan, Christopher Powell and Bernard Zuel – together with first time judge, Sam Lockwood, a member of last year’s winners, The Jezabels.

Watch this space for more finalists, and hit the comment section to share your thoughts on the updated AMP structure.