The prestigious SoundMerch Australian Music Prize (The AMP) is back for its 16th year running. And its official shortlist has just been revealed.

The shortlist, which is comprised of just nine albums originally started off as a not-so-short list of 88 albums in total.

Given the seemingly endless talent of musicians in Australia, buckling down to refine the list was no easy feat, as the prize represents both a wide and diverse pool of talent from all around the country.

To narrow down the search to just nine albums, the judges (who double as music industry experts) deliberated on which artists’ creativity had produced some of the best Australian releases of the year.

To be considered, the artist’s music and creativity must’ve not only resulted in one of the best albums of the year, but also needed to have had a significant impact on the home turf in Australia, as well as internationally, too.

That meaning of course, that the artist needed to have garnered acclaim from both devoted fans and round up new ones too.

The prize is inspired by the UK’s coveted Mercury Prize, having previously paid recognition to works from artists including Sampa The Great, Gurrumul, The Drones, Courtney Barnett, A.B. Original, and Eddy Current Suppression Ring.

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And the winner of the prize this year will join that stellar lineup and be in very, very good company.

The 2020 shortlist celebrates an absolutely incredible collection of debut releases including Miiesha’s soulful Nyaaringu and Ziggy Ramo’s powerful Black Thoughts. Tame Impala’s fourth studio album and career-defining touchstone The Slow Rush is in the mix, as well as Fanny Lumsden’s Fallow. Last but not least, the shortlist includes The Avalanches’ expansive third record, We Will Always Love You.

See below for the complete list of finalists.

The SoundMerch Australian Music Prize Finalists
Alice Ivy – Don’t Sleep
The Avalanches – We Will Always Love You
Blake Scott – Niscitam
Emma Donovan and The Putbacks – Crossover
Fanny Lumsden – Fallow
Gordon Koang – Unity
Miiesha – Nyaaringu
Tame Impala – The Slow Rush
Ziggy Ramo – Black Thoughts