This year’s ceremony, which will be broadcast live Feb. 20 on ITV from London’s O2 Arena, is rife with connections to our fair city. Jack White is among the nominees for Best International Male, Taylor Swift is in the running for Best International Female, and transplants The Black Keys and honorary Nashvillians Alabama Shakes are contenders for Best International Group.
In another nod to our rising profile, many of the nominees in the domestic categories will soon spend or have already spent some time here. The xx, a low-key trio who made a huge stateside breakthrough in 2010, are among the Best British Group nominees. Their latest album, Coexist, was recently named the best-selling vinyl record in the UK for 2012 (edging out the reissue of Ziggy Stardust and Jack White’s Blunderbuss), and they will be at the Mother Church on Jan. 31. Purveyors of angular Anglo indie pop Alt-J are nominated for Best British Group, Best British Breakthrough Act and Best British Album; they will be at Mercy Lounge on March 18. Current world-champion boy band One Direction is also vying for Best British Group, and they will be at Bridgestone Arena on June 19 (bet my 13-year-old niece is already offering 10,000 years’ worth of bathroom cleaning to get tix for that one). Folktastic quartet Mumford and Sons, who did a fabled three-night stand at Ryman Auditorium last March, are up for Best British Group, Best Live Act and Best British Album, as well as the Global Success category.
In other news, local synth-pop pros and Prince impersonators Wild Cub were asked in November by Spinner to cover “Running,” a hit for Jessie Ware, current nominee for British Breakthrough Act and Best British Female Solo Artist. Scottish songbird Emile Sande and the Mumfords each picked up four nominations; If either of them wins all four awards, they will tie the record for most BRITs in a given year, set by Blur in 1995. Though they will perform at the show, The Rolling Stones will not be receiving their long-awaited Outstanding Contribution (aka Lifetime Achievement) Award, but not because they were snubbed in favor of The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band or Atomic Rooster — the category has simply been omitted this year.
I may have a face for radio, but it’d be Anarchy in the UK if I ever got my DJ spot: I often goof up and call the popular fraternal folksters Sanford and Sons. On that bombshell, or maybe just because it’s Friday and it would do us all some good to hear it, let’s go out on the theme from Sanford and Son, Quincy Jones’ “The Streetbeater.”