Mercury Prize Shortlist Revealed

Mercury Prize Shortlist Revealed
The nominees for the 2008 Nationwide Mercury Music Prize were announced this morning, not surprisingly led by Radiohead's innovative In Rainbows (though my prediction is for a Burial victory). The annual honour is awarded for the best album from the United Kingdom or Ireland, and includes a cheque worth £20,000 ($40,000 CAD).

Previous winners of the prize include Dizzee Rascal, Primal Scream, Antony and the Johnsons, and last year's winner, Klaxons.

The Nationwide Mercury Prize Winner will be announced at the awards night on September 9.

Here is the shortlist complete with descriptions courtesy of the Mercury folks:

Adele - 19
'19' is the debut album from 19-year-old Londoner Adele Adkins. The album, on XL Recordings, went to number one on its release in January 2008 and has since gone platinum in the UK. '19' features the hit singles 'Hometown Glory', 'Chasing Pavements' and 'Cold Shoulder'.

'Heartfelt songs from an engaging new voice – vulnerable, powerful and distinctive.' The Judging Panel

British Sea Power - Do You Like Rock Music?
British Sea Power is a four-piece band comprising brothers Yan and Hamilton Wilkinson, along with Matthew Wood and Martin Noble. Formed in 2000 in Cumbria, the band are now based in Brighton. Their third album for Rough Trade, 'Do You Like Rock Music? features the singles 'No Lucifer' and 'Waving Flags'.

'Who wouldn't like rock music when it is as joyfully eccentric, noisy and exciting as this?' The Judging Panel

Burial - Untrue
'Untrue', released in November 2007 on Kode9's Hyperdub label, is the second album from South London artist Burial and follows his eponymous debut in May 2006. Burial is a pioneering dubstep maestro who prefers to remain anonymous...

'Untrue' is a subtle, original metropolitan soundscape - restless, alarming and alluring.' The Judging Panel

Elbow - The Seldom Seen Kid
'The Seldom Seen Kid' is Elbow's fourth album since the band formed in Bury in 1991. Recorded at the band's own studio in Salford and produced by Elbow's Craig Potter, it was released in March 2008 on Fiction Records. The album includes the track 'The Fix' which features Richard Hawley.

'An epic rock record - triumphant, heartbreaking, unerringly melodic and life-affirming.' The Judging Panel

Estelle - Shine
'Shine' is 28-year-old Londoner Estelle Swaray's second album and was recorded with John Legend as executive producer. 'Shine' also features contributions from artists such as Kanye West and Wyclef Jean. The album includes the single 'American Boy', which was a hit on both sides of the Atlantic.

'The amazing Estelle stamps her vivid personality on a refreshing variety of musical moods - radiant, contemporary soul music.' The Judging Panel

Laura Marling - Alas I Cannot Swim
Reading's Laura Marling, 18, released her debut album 'Alas I Cannot Swim' on Virgin Records in February 2008. She learned to play guitar at an early age and her talents have led to recent collaborations with The Rakes and tours with Rufus Wainwright and Devendra Banhart.

'Beautiful composed and emotionally compelling tales of fear and romance.' The Judging Panel

Neon Neon - Stainless Style
Neon Neon features Gruff Rhys from Super Furry Animals and producer Boom Bip. Guests on the album include Welsh singer Cate Le Bon. 'Stainless Style', released in March 2008 on Lex Records, is a conceptual album based around the controversial life of automobile mogul John DeLorean.

'Chrome-plated electro-rock - a thrilling musical ride.' The Judging Panel

Portico Quartet - Knee Deep in the North Sea
Formed in 2005, the four-piece group, all in their early 20s, were discovered after regularly busking outside the National Theatre in London and signed to The Vortex label in 2007. Portico Quartet make unique use of the hang, a recently-invented Swiss percussion instrument which underpins the album's double bass and saxophone-driven melodies.

'Exuberant, hypnotic acoustic music - an unusual new jazz sound.' The Judging Panel

Rachel Unthank & The Winterset - The Bairns
Sisters Rachel and Becky Unthank grew up in the North-East of England and were born into a family tradition of sea and border songs. They formed their band in 2004, releasing a debut album 'The Cruel Sister' a year later. 'The Bairns' is their second album and includes the group's own compositions as well as arrangements of traditional songs.

'Contemporary folk music at its most magical and mysterious - enchanting and uplifting.' The Judging Panel

Radiohead - In Rainbows
'In Rainbows' is the seventh studio album by the Oxford-based five-piece. The number one album was originally released as a download in October 2007 and later as a CD through XL Recordings. It was produced by Nigel Godrich and features the singles 'Jigsaw Falling Into Place' and 'Nude'.

'Music that is adventurous, challenging and hugely enjoyable. A gripping new chapter in the remarkable Radiohead story.' The Judging Panel

Robert Plant and Alison Krauss - Raising Sand
Released in October 2007, 'Raising Sand' is a collaboration between Led Zeppelin vocalist Robert Plant and multi Grammy Award-winning country singer Alison Krauss. The album - instigated by Plant - has gone platinum in the UK.

'An intimate set of timeless songs and a totally seductive celebration of the art of the vocal duet.' The Judging Panel

The Last Shadow Puppets - The Age of the Understatement
Alex Turner from Sheffield's Arctic Monkeys and Miles Kane from Wirral-based band The Rascals, both aged 22, have collaborated to form The Last Shadow Puppets. 'The Age Of The Understatement' was produced by James Ford, who also worked on the Arctic Monkeys last album. This album, released by Domino, reached number one on its release in April 2008.

'Dramatic vignettes of modern love - superbly crafted and brilliantly arranged.' The Judging Panel