Elton John, Elijah Wood, Beck, Margaret Cho, John Legend, Ben Gibbard (Death Cab For Cutie), Keith Urban, Ric Ocasek, Shirley Manson, Chester Bennington and Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park, Suzanne Vega, Dave Matthews and Keith Urban, and other esteemed artists will choose the ten finalists for the inaugural New Pantheon Music Prize. New Pantheon Founder Tom Sarig, was Co-Founder of the Shortlist Music Prize in 2001, which, for four years, honored the year's most artistic albums. Tom Sarig says "With the launch of New Pantheon, we are currently in the planning stages, with an expansive mission and plan, of what promises to be the most exciting and significant event and award designed to honor the most artistic and creative records of the year." The concept behind the New Pantheon is to honor the most creative and artistic records of the year. Unique to any award which has come before, the award is decided by a specially selected Panel of respected musical figures (the 'Nominators'). The expressed goal of the New Pantheon is accruing audiences for what's next and what's best in current music.

Founder Tom Sarig states "New Pantheon stands for the minority of exceptional artists whose music enlightens, entertains and challenges, and New Pantheon not only subscribes to the belief that there's a bigger potential audience for creative and interesting music, but we plan to provide a unique, as-yet attempted platform of exposure and support for these best artists and albums of the year."

Nominations for the inaugural New Pantheon are being submitted now and the full list of all nominations will be announced on November 28th. The Nominators will then determine 10 Finalists for the New Pantheon's inaugural Music Prize, to be announced in mid-December. New Pantheon will culminate in a Concert Event in Los Angeles in early February 2006--a few days before the Grammy Awards happen in Los Angeles, at which a Prize winner will be decided and announced. New Pantheon is in discussion with a variety of brand sponsors regarding partnerships and presentation of this inaugural Concert.

New Pantheon will announce alliances with a variety of television, radio, and internet broadcasting partners on a variety of initiatives to promote and support the nominees in the coming weeks. New Pantheon is launching a new comprehensive website at which will feature RSS feeds from nominees' sites, a blog user interface, and interactive samplings of nominees' music and video. The New Pantheon website will enable browsing of the nominations by Nominator. New Pantheon nominees will be also featured in a variety of internet programming initiatives on or associated with the website.

The New Pantheon Music Prize is exclusively decided by panel of Nominators, consisting of respected music figures--artists, and journalists primarily who have demonstrated a track record for championing the best new music.

New Pantheon founder Tom Sarig says "While I am so proud of all we achieved with the Shortlist, and would not in any way want to devalue all of the success we had, we (the Shortlist Co-founders) decided to go our own ways. In looking forward, I could not be more excited about this new unique entity and endeavor New Pantheon--the New Pantheon will cut bolder strokes and be more comprehensive in our initiatives to champion the finest contemporary music has to offer."

Each panelist began the process by nominating seven albums. Here's the long list of what they collectively picked:

Amadou & Mariam - Dimanche a Bamako (Nonesuch)
American Analog Set - Set Free (Arts & Crafts)
Andrew Bird - Andrew Bird & the Mysterious Production of Eggs (Righteous Babe)
Animal Collective - Feels (Fat Cat)
Antony and the Johnsons - I am a Bird Now (Secretly Canadian)
Aqualung - Strange and Beautiful (Red Ink)
Arcade Fire - Funeral (Merge)
The Ark - State of the Ark (EMI)
Atmosphere - You Can't Imagine How Much Fun We're Having (Rhymesayers)
Bettye LaVette - I've Got My Own Hell to Raise (Anti)
Björk - Medulla (Elektra)
Blackalicious - The Craft (Epitaph)
Bloc Party - Silent Alarm (Vice)
Boards of Canada - The Campfire Headphase (Warp)
Brazilian Girls - Brazilian Girls (Verve)
Brian Wilson - SMiLE (Nonesuch)
Bright Eyes - I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning (Saddle Creek)
The Bravery - The Bravery (Island)
Broadcast - Tender Buttons (Warp)
Broken Social Scene - Broken Social Scene (Arts & Crafts)
Chad VanGaalen - Infiniheart (Sub Pop)
Charlie Haden - Not in Our Name (Verve)
Clinic - Winchester Cathedral (Domino)
Damian Marley - Welcome to Jamrock (Universal)
Danger Doom - The Mouse and the Mask (Epitaph)
The Dears - No Cities Left (Spin Art)
Death Cab for Cutie - Plans (Atlantic)
The Decemberists - Picaresque (Kill Rock Stars)
Deerhoof - The Runners Four (Kill Rock Stars)
Devendra Banhart - Nino Rojo (Young God)
Elliott Smith - From a Basement on the Hill (Anti)
Emiliana Torrini - Fisherman's Woman (Rough Trade)
Explosions in the Sky - How Strange, Innocence (Temporary Residence)
The Faint - Wet From Birth (Saddle Creek)
Fantomas - Suspended Animation (Ipecac)
Feist - Let It Die (Interscope)
Fiona Apple - Extraordinary Machine (Sony)
The Futureheads - The Futureheads (Sire/679)
The Go! Team - Thunder, Lightning, Strike (Sony)
Gogol Bordello - Gypsy Punks: Underdog World Strike (Side One Dummy)
Inara George - All Rise (Everloving)
Jamie Lidell - Multiply (Warp)
Jamiroquai - Dynamite (Sony)
John Vanderslice - Pixel Revolt (Barsuk)
Kaiser Chiefs - Employment (Universal)
Kasabian - Kasabian (RCA)
Keren Ann - Nolita (Blue Note)
Kings of Leon - Aha Shake Heartbreak (RCA)
Langhorne Slim - When the Sun's Gone Down (Narnack)
Laura Veirs - Year of Meteors (Nonesuch)
LCD Soundsystem - LCD Soundsystem (Capitol)
Le Tigre - This Island (Universal)
Leela James - A Change Is Gonna Come (Warner Brothers)
The Like - Are You Thinking What I'm Thinking? (Geffen)
M.I.A. - Arular (XL/Beggars)
M83 - Before the Dawn Heals Us (Mute)
Maria Taylor - 11:11 (Saddle Creek)
The Mars Volta - Frances the Mute (Universal)
Mary Gauthier - Mercy Now (Lost Highway)
Matt Costa - Songs We Sing (Venerable Media)
Matisyahu - Live at Stubb's (Sony/Or Music)
MF Doom - MM..Food? (Rhymesayers)
Mia Doi Todd - Manzanita (Plug Research)
Mike Doughty - Haughty Melodic (ATO)
My Morning Jacket - Z (ATO)
Mylo - Destroy Rock & Roll (Breast Fed)
Nada Surf - The Weight Is a Gift (Barsuk)
The New Pornographers - Twin Cinema (Matador)
Pinback - Summer in Abaddon (Touch & Go)
Quasimoto - The Further Adventures of Lord Quas (Stones Throw)
Ray LaMontagne - Trouble (RCA)
Rilo Kiley - More Adventurous (Brute/Beaute)
Rogue Wave - Descended Like Vultures (Sub Pop)
Roisin Murphy - Ruby Blue (Echo)
Scissor Sisters - Scissor Sisters (Universal)
Seu Jorge - Cru (Wrasse Records)
Sleater-Kinney - The Woods (Sub Pop)
Sons and Daughters - The Repulsion Box (Domino)
Spoon - Gimme Fiction (Merge)
Stars - Set Yourself on Fire (Arts & Crafts)
Sufjan Stevens - Illinois (Asthmatic Kitty)
Thrice - Vheissu (Island)
Tim Robinson - Money in the Woods (CD Baby)
Tom Vek - We Have Sound (Star Time)
William Bolcom - Songs of Innocence and of Experience (Naxos)
Wolf Parade - Apologies to the Queen Mary (Sub Pop)
Z-Trip - Shifting Gears (Hollywood)

The list above will be worked down to 10 finalists, and the winner will be announced at a celebratory concert taking place on February 6 in Los Angeles.

[Published on: 12/9/05]

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