Alt-J win 2012 Mercury Music Prize for An Awesome Wave

Four-piece electronic indie band beat off competition from Plan B, Jessie Ware and The Maccabees to take the prestigious award

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Indie band Alt-J have won the coveted Barclaycard Mercury Music Prize for their debut studio album, An Awesome Wave.


The four-piece electronic folk band were handed music’s most prestigious prize last night at an event in Camden’s Roundhouse, North London.

The boys: Joe Newman, Gwil Sainsbury, Thom Green and Gus Unger-Hamilton met at the University of Leeds in 2007, before signing a record deal in 2011. Their talent proved the bookmakers right, beating the likes of Plan B, Jessie Ware and The Maccabees to the award and the £20,000 winner’s cheque.

The band also beat Pulp’s Richard Hawley, who missed out on the award for a second time, having lost out in 2006 to the Arctic Monkeys.

Front man Newman stated: “It was definitely a pressure for us because there are so many strong contenders this year. We just felt lucky to be amongst such good quality artists really.”

The 21-year-old Mercury prize is voted for by a panel of music industry executives and experts. Previous recipients have included Elbow, Arctic Monkeys, The xx and last year’s winner PJ Harvey.

However, this year’s list failed to recognise commercially successful musicians, such as Coldplay, Florence + The Machine and especially Emeli Sande, who has enjoyed huge popularity following her performance at the Olympics opening and closing ceremonies.

Here’s Alt-J’s Something Good, taken from the album An Awesome Wave:


Highlights of the 2012 awards will be shown tonight at 11:35 on Channel 4