Australian Music prize: RVG beat Troye Sivan and Genesis Owusu to $30,000 award | Australian music #Australian #Music #prize #RVG #beat #Troye #Sivan #Genesis #Owusu #award #Australian #music

Melbourne alternative band RVG has won the $30,000 Australian Music prize (AMP) for their third album Brain Worms, beating shortlisted artists including Troye Sivan and 2021 winner Genesis Owusu.

Inspired by the UK’s Mercury prize, the AMP focuses “entirely on artistic merit” and aims to “discover, reward and promote new Australian music of excellence”.

The prize – now in its 19th year – is considered Australia’s most prestigious music award and is judged by a panel of artists, music retailers and journalists. Previous winners include Courtney Barnett, the Avalanches and Sampa the Great.

A representative from RVG’s label Our Golden Friend accepted the award on their behalf, in a ceremony held on Wednesday afternoon in Sydney.

The band, who have been an underground Melbourne mainstay for the better part of a decade, were unable to attend as they were flying back from a European tour.

“Who I am in music means being subjected to an insane amount of bullshit, and a lot of the songs on this album began as a targeted reaction to the kind of situations that most bands/artists would never have to go through,” said frontwoman Romy Vager in a statement.

“So to win this award goes a long way and makes me feel less insane and alone in what I do.”

Vager has previously spoken about feeling out of place in the cloistered Melbourne music scene as a trans artist.

“As a trans person, as someone who’s not very socially good at talking to people, it’s been very difficult for me to get through it,” she told Guardian Australia in 2020. “I felt like I haven’t fit.”

Difficult feelings – grief, rage and a swell of contemporary existential crises – are the bedrock of RVG’s record Brain Worms, though they’re often flecked with absurdity and wry humour.

“Their songs remain short and sharp, cutting immediately to the heart of the matter,” wrote Guardian critic Giselle Au-Nhien Nguyen in a review that also praised Vager’s “prose, largely unadorned” and her “knack for esoteric storytelling”.

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Also shortlisted for this year’s award alongside Sivan’s Something to Give Each Other and Owusu’s Struggler were Light, Dark, Light Again by Angie McMahon; Painting of My Time by Floodlights; Positive Spin by Gretta Ray; I Am the River, The River is Me by Jen Cloher; Oro, Plata, Mata by Mo’Ju; and Fatalism by Polaris.

The shortlist was assembled from over 450 eligible 2023 albums released between 1 January and 27 October. A judging panel of over 30 then picked 107 albums as official nominations before whittling down the selection to a top nine.

“This band took a huge financial and personal risk in making this record, it almost didn’t happen,” said AMP judge and fellow musician Alice Ivy.

“You can feel the catharsis and honesty yet a sense of humour amongst the pain. It’s a timeless album that myself and my fellow judges spoke so passionately about in a tense meeting.”

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