Melbourne-based “psycho-blues” band the Drones’ second album was tonight (March 8) declared the winner of the inaugural BigPond Australian Music Prize, held at the Museum Of Contemporary Art in Sydney.
“Wait Long By the River and the Bodies Of Your Enemies Will Float By” (In-Fidelity/Shock) beat out more than 200 albums to win the competition.
A 61-strong panel of retailers, media and musicians judged it the most creative album of 2005.
The band received a cash prize of A$25,000 ($18,500), from the Phonographic Performance Company of Australia.
Drones guitarist and singer Gareth Liddiard said, “We played in Sydney last week and both of our guitars totally died,” he said. “The guts fell out of mine and Rui (Pereira)’s neck snapped off.
“We’ve done over 100 shows in the last four months and we have some nasty debts. We have another world tour starting in May. That’s after we do two tours of Australia. We can’t get jobs because we tour so much. Food is a luxury item right now. We burn through money so it’s safe to say that the 25G’s will not go to waste.”
The eight albums shortlisted for the prize included mainstream crossover acts Ben Lee’s “Awake Is The New Sleep” (Five Fingers/Inertia) and power rock trio Wolfmother’s eponymous Modular/Universal album. Others shortlisted were atmospheric alt-rockers the Devastations’ “Coal” (In-Fidelity), folk-rock veterans the Go-Betweens’ “Oceans Apart” (LoMax/EMI), guitar band the Mess Hall’s “Notes From The Ceiling” (Shock), roots trio Tex, Don & Charlie’s “All Is Forgiven” (Universal) and hip hop experimentalists TZU’s “Smiling At Strangers” (Liberation/Warner).
Formed in 2000, the Drones’ debut album “Here Come The Lies” was released two years later through Spook.
The AMP winning set has sold 18,000 units since its release locally in April 2005, according to Shock Records.
Bruce Milne, director of Melbourne-based In-Fidelity, which licensed the album, attributed sales to the strength of its live shows and support from youth radio network Triple J and college radio.
Milne is considering a fresh marketing campaign for the album.
The album was released late 2005 in the United States, the United Kingdom and Europe through All Tomorrow’s Parties Recordings.
The Drones toured those territories in the early part of this year. After their current Australian tour winds up in April, the act plans to spend the summer in the northern hemisphere.