The list of shortlisted finalists for the 8th annual Australian Music Prize (AMP) was announced at AMP Alive, a free live music event held in Melbourne’s Federation Square that wrapped moments ago, for the 9 Australian artists in the running to be recognised  for the $30,000 cash prize (courtesy of PPCA) for the Australian music prize.

Hosted by Australian musician/singer/songwriter/coach and occasional actress, Clare Bowditch, along with Jebediah frontman/Bob Evans linchpin Kevin Mitchell, the Coopers AMP alive event saw the final list of nominees announced in-between live performances from five of the nine nominees. With sets from Urthboy, Hermitude, Grand Salvo, Jess Ribeirio & The Bone Collectors, and ‘special guests’ Daily Meds.

The full list of albums up for the 8th Australian Music Prize (in no particular order) are Flume’s self-titled debut, Tame Imapala’s world-conquering Lonerism, Urthboy’s latest Smokey’s Haunt, soul hop duo Hermitude’s HyperParadise, The Presets long-awaited Pacifica, Grand Salvo’s Slay Me In My Sleep, Liz Stringer’s Warm In The Darkness, Daily Meds’ eponymous album, and Jess Ribeirio & The Bone Collectors for My Little River.

The final pool of nominees was selected by a judging panel charged with selecting the Australian Album of the Year from a ‘Long List’ of more than 300 entrants that was whittled down to a final list of 71 selections, and now the final nine shortlisted artist albums for the highly revered and hotly contest Coopers 8th Australian Music Prize.

Scott Murphy, Founder and Prize Director commended the panel  for their selections: “Hats off to the judges – for the past 6 months they have been giving up their free time to listen, listen and listen. They chose a whopping 71 albums to form the Longlist – clearly showing that the judges thought 2012 was a great year for great Australian music.”

“Although it was a big commitment of their time and passion, the feedback from the judges favours the new entry/judging system that we put into place in 2012,” said Murphy, referring to the significant changes made to the selection process this year. Including removing the entry fee and automatically considering ALL Australian releases for the prize, while setting up a new platform for digital submissions rather than the previously restrictive ‘CDs only’ policy.“Hats off to the judges – for the past 6 months they have been giving up their free time to listen, listen and listen.” – Scott Murphy, Founder & Amp Prize Director

Mr. Murphy also noted that “there were in fact many more titles that [the judges] were individually passionate about but that obviously couldn’t be squeeze in.” Listing that the artists narrowly missing the final cut were “Alpine, Berahug, Bored Nothing, Dirty Three, Pataphysics and Sarah Blasko.”

The 21-year-old Sydney beatmaker behind Flume, Harley Streten, is a favourite to take home the AMP, with his ARIA chart-smashing self-titled debut already earning the producer/performer critical adulation (including Tone Deaf), and led to an international signings in the US and UK.

Having finished a swift run of live dates overseas (in Europe, Berlin, Paris, and a sold out show at London’s XOYO) Flume’s nomination comes as he begins his tour with Laneway Festival 2013, which kicked off today in Brisbane; his busy 2013 schedule also taking in Groovin’ The Moo, Golden Plains, and a visit to SXSW 2013, as one of 40 acts flying the flag for Australia at the Austin, Texas industry conference.

Kevin Parker and the psychedelic Perth cosmonauts of Tame Impala are also strong contenders for the AMP, with Lonerism conquering a swathe of hearts and ears in 2012. Earning Gold status, receiving glowing reviews from music media all year (including Tone Deaf), as well as experiencing enormous commercial sales to match in America and the UK – who’s tastemakers, NME named it as the best record of the year and put the band up for four awards in major categories in its annual awards.

Already an award-winner in the Best Independent Dance/Electronica Album category at the AIR Awards, as well as earning an nods from the ARIA and Triple J; Hermitude’s HyperParadise could see the AMP added to its list of accolades.“Having an electronic instrumental album against all those pop records kind of blew us away. We were all really happy” – Hermitude

Angus Stuart aka Elgusto told Tone Deaf in a recent interview that he and musical partner in crime Luke Dubs, were “super stoked” of learning of their nomination. “Luke and I were really happy that we got shortlisted,” he enthuses. “Having an electronic instrumental album against all those pop records kind of blew us away. We were all really happy, we went to bed that night with smiles on our faces.”

The pair’s album was released through independent Aussie label Elefant Traks, who’s label boss just so happens to be Urthboy (or Mr. Tim Levinson to his roster) for his latest hip-hop masterpiece Smokey’s Haunt. 

The talented emcee telling Tone Deaf in a recent interview that the album’s title was inspired by “thinking of this gathering place… where people come together, and in my music I think of it as a meeting place.” Explaining, “people come to the gigs and we share an experience, and music accompanies so much of our lives. A meeting place is somewhere that good and bad happens.”

The inaugural AMP winner was The Drones, for Wait Long By The River And The Bodies of You Enemies Will Float By in 2005. Other previous prize recipients include Augie March (for Moo, You Bloody Choir in 2006), Lisa Mitchell (for Wonder in 2009) and The Jezabels in 2010, who took home the $30,000 AMP prize in 2010 for their full-length debut Prisoner.

The band’s drummer, Sam Lockwood, is also on the panel of judges for this year’s award, alongside Chris Berkley, Deborah Conway, Hoodoo Guru Dave Faulkner, Tim Freedman (The Whitlams), Mike Glynn, Chris Johnston, Shannon Logan, Christopher Powell and Bernard Zuel.

The judges will be back to work later this month, when they will decided the who will receive the $30,000 prize money courtesy of principal partner PPCA, will be crowned the winner of The Coopers AMP on March 7th.

The 8th Australian Music Prize Shortlisted Album Artists

For more information, head to the newly opened website

Flume – Flume
Tame Impala – Lonerism
The Presets – Pacifica
Grand Salvo – Slay Me In My Sleep
Jess Ribeirio & The Bone Collectors – My Little River
Liz Stringer – Warm In the Darkness

Daily Meds – Happy Daze
Hermitude – HyperParadise
Urthboy – Smokey’s Haunt

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