This past week the UK’s Barclaycard Mercury Music Prize announced their shortlist for Albums of the Year. Included this year were artists like James Blake, Disclosure, Foals and Savages, but surprisingly absent from the list was My Bloody Valentine’s critically-acclaimed comeback album, mbv, their first in almost 22 years.
This omittance however was not lost on My Bloody Valentine’s Kevin Shields who, in speaking exclusively with The Guardian, slammed the award, accusing them of “banning” his band. “We’re banned by them, and do you know why? Because we’re not on Amazon or iTunes. That’s one of the qualifying criteria. You have to have major distribution or be on iTunes or Amazon,” he told the publication. Which may actually be the case; My Bloody Valentine self-released their album and only sold digital copies on their website. Shields went on to tell The Guardian:
We released our record, mbv, independently. It’s interesting to learn that to be as independent as we are is … virtually illegal. It’s not a real record. Our album’s not a real album because it’s independent. The corporate-ness has got to such a point where we’ve essentially been told that we don’t exist. So, technically, that album doesn’t exist. OK? It’s not allowed to exist according to the Mercury prize.
It’s a pretty mind-blowing concept when you think about it, considering that directly or indirectly, My Bloody Valentine probably influenced those that were actually nominated, yet they’re excluded based just upon their choice of distribution. Shields concluded the interview by saying “God help” whoever does win, claiming that “there are sinister forces at work.”