TV On The Radio won the 2004 Shortlist Music Prize last night (Nov. 15) in Los Angeles. The New York-based act was honored for its Touch & Go album “Desperate Youth, Bloodthirsty Babes” at the fourth annual concert/ceremony at the Avalon Theater, which featured performances by three of the 10 finalists.
“We are not the next Damien Rice,” TV On The Radio’s Kyp Malone told Billboard.com, referring to the singer/songwriter who won the award in 2003. “Seriously, this was a great honor. We didn’t even expect to be nominated, let alone win. None of us expected this to happen, and we’re really happy to be here.”
A soulful mix of rock, blues and dance, “Desperate Youth, Bloodthirsty Babes” peaked in March at No. 15 on Billboard’s Top Heatseakers chart.
In a 30-minute set to close the concert, TV On The Radio played a number of cuts from the album, including “Dreams” and “Staring at the Sun.” The latter best exemplified the act’s tuneful experimentation, with gospel-worthy call and response vocals and a wall of guitars that reached rave-like hysterics.
TV On The Radio received a $10,000 cash prize presented by XM Satellite Radio. The show was broadcast live on XM and will be televised Nov. 20 on MTV2. Other performing Shortlist finalists included Josh Homme’s Eagles Of Death Metal, hip-hopper Dizzee Rascal and lighthearted pianist Nelly McKay.
Styled as a U.S. equivalent to Britain’s Mercury Music Prize, the Shortlist honors cutting-edge performers whose latest albums, released between July 1, 2003, and June 30, 2004, had sold fewer than 500,000 copies at the time of their nomination. The nominees and winner are selected by a panel of “listmakers,” which this year included Ahmir “?uestlove” Thompson, Chris Carrabba, the Dixie Chicks, Jim Jarmusch, John Mayer, Norah Jones and System Of A Down’s Serj Tankian.
This year’s affair featured half as many performers as the 2003 event, which producers said was directly related to the fact that last year’s show ran almost five hours. In contrast, the 2004 edition was professional and sterile, with even the tension-filled songs of U.K. rapper Dizzee Rascal failing to energize the rather sparse crowd.
There were a number of notable no-shows, including finalists Wilco, Franz Ferdinand, Loretta Lynn and Air. Other than a star performer, this year’s show lacked the spontaneity of past Shortlist events. In 2002, Iggy Pop and the Hives treated concertgoers to a performance, while last year was marked by a rant against Clear Channel by Bright Eyes frontman Conor Oberst.
In addition to Rice, past winners of the Shortlist prize are N.E.R.D. (2002) and Sigur Ros (2001).