Friday, March 31, 2006

Sufjan Stevens Wins First New Pantheon Award

Sufjan Stevens is the first artist to win the New Pantheon award. He garnered the win for his acclaimed album Illinois, one of my favorites of 2005. The New Pantheon is the hopeful replacement for the Shortlist award. Both try to emulate the UK success of the Mercury Prize. All of them feature a list of acclaimed albums that haven't broken through commercially. Nominated by a rotating panel of artists, the list is announced and then a month or two later a winner is named. In the UK, winning the Mercury can be a real career boost, just like winning the Booker Prize can help a novel sell hundreds of thousands of copies. If the New Pantheon hopes to gain that stature, picking an album like Illinois is certainly the right way to start. Go the New Pantheon website to check out the award and the other albums nominated, most of which are very good too.

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