Alt-J (or ∆, if you prefer) were announced today as the winners of the 2012 Mercury Prize for their excellent debut effort, An Awesome Wave. It's not the first time a debut has won the prize-- in fact, it seems to happen more often than not (The xx, Antony & the Johnsons, and Franz Ferdinand are all recent examples). Alt-J's already anticipated Portland date December 5th at the Star Theater just got a little hotter.
To refresh, the award is given annually by musicians, executives, and journalists, among others, who choose the best release of the year from a UK or Ireland-based musician. PJ Harvey's Let England Shake was last year's winner.
Here's the 2012 shortlist of releases Alt-J beat out for the prize:
Ben Howard - Every Kingdom
Django Django - Django Django
Field Music - Plumb
Jessie Ware - Devotion
Lianne La Havas - Is Your Love Big Enough?
Michael Kiwanuka - Home Again
The Maccabees - Given to the Wild
Plan B - lll Manors
Richard Hawley - Standing at the Sky’s Edge
Roller Trio - Roller Trio
Sam Lee - Ground of its Own