Jezabels win AMP prize

Sydney disco-pop four-piece The Jezabels won the 7th Australian Music Prize (AMP) $30,000 prize with their album Prisoner.

After developing their songwriting through three EPs, Prisoner combined an epic drive with elegance led by singer Hayley Mary. Prisoner, released independently in Australia, debut at No. 2 on the Australian Recording Industry Association. The act, currently on tour through Europe, will return to Australia in June to play its largest run of venues, booked through Frontier Touring.

The 40-strong judging panel of label executives, media and retailers chose Prisoner over releases by hit maker Gotye, Magic Dirt singer Adalita, blues rocker Abbie May, folk rockers Boy & Bear, indigenous singer songwriter Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu, soul singer Kimbra, defunct rock band The Middle East and melodramatic troubadour Jack Ladder & The Dreamlanders.

This year’s AMP ran into its first controversy when some of the 40-strong judges criticised the list of finalists as being too influenced by popularity rather than creativity.

AMP director Scott Murphy said it was important that such debate be held to “uphold the AMP’s values.” Others like Dave Faulkner of the Hoodoo Gurus, who was one of the judges, said the controversy was petty.

Prisoner will be released in the United States through Play It Again Sam April 4, which issued it in the UK March 5.