Local Current Blog

Today’s Music News: Mercury Prize nominees include Damon Albarn, Jungle, and FKA twigs

Jungle perform in the Current's studios. Photo by Nate Ryan/MPR.

The shortlist for this year’s Mercury Prize—a prestigious annual award for best album by a UK or Irish artist—includes Damon Albarn‘s Everyday Robots (read Mark Wheat’s review), Jungle‘s self-titled album (read David Safar’s review, and hear Jungle perform live in our studios), and FKA twigs‘s LP1. The winning album will be announced on Oct. 30.

Vampire Weekend‘s Rostam Batmanglij has written an original score for a new production of the 1996 play This Is Our Youth. The current production—which stars Michael Cera, Kieran Culkin, and Internet it-girl Tavi Gevinson—opens today on Broadway after a run in Chicago. A track from the score is streaming on Pitchfork.

Nas recently launched his own label, Mass Appeal Records, but he’s confirmed plans to release one more album with Def Jam Recordings before his contract expires. (Billboard)

Pharrell has joined the chorus of those calling upon President Obama to visit Ferguson, Missouri. (Rolling Stone)

Saturday Night Live announced the first two hosts and musical guests of its fall season. The season will kick off on Sept. 27 with host Chris Pratt and musical guest Ariana Grande—who recently announced a spring tour that will stop at the Xcel Energy Center on March 1. The SNL season will continue on Oct. 4 with host Sarah Silverman and musical guests Maroon 5. (Billboard) With their NBC ban lifted, will the Replacements again play SNL? Stay tuned.

The Invictus Games—a Paralympic-style multi-sport event for wounded service members from around the world—opened last night in London with a song by Coldplay‘s Chris Martin: “Invictus,” based on a 19th century poem and arranged for choir and orchestra. The games will close on Sunday with performances by artists including the Foo Fighters, Ryan Adams, Kaiser Chiefs, Ellie Goulding, James Blunt, and the Military Wives Choir. (NME)

After a summer of shenanigans, the once-adored Justin Bieber may have hit a new low: when he stripped down to his skivvies at a Fashion Rocks event on Tuesday night, the crowd actually booed. (Billboard)