Let's be frank: it hasn't been the greatest year for British music. Sure, a few releases have been excellent, but, generally, 2012's gold medal would go to another country. The nominations for the Mercury prize for best album (one released between July 12, 2011 and September 10 this year) will be announced next Wednesday and the annual buzz has already started, stoked by the release of the bookies' odds. Rustie, Alt-J, Actress, Nathan Fake, Kindness, The Invisible, Micachu & The Shapes and Lone are albums I believe SHOULD be nominated. It's often very hard to call the shortlist but Reviews Editor Tom Howard and I have looked into the NME office crystal ball and come up with a quick guide to artists who could be (probably, possibly, maybe) in the top twelve.
The musical equivalent of a yappy, grinning poodle festooned with ribbons, jewels and hair dyed in rainbow stripes. It would be hard to ignore Django Django's ludicrously upbeat psychedelic pop that brightened up January and evenings at dingy venues ever since. (LJ)
Because they recently recorded a session for the Mercurys at the Hospital Club. They don't call me Sherlock for nothing. (LJ)
Not only have they put out an unusually stunning debut, this foursome are the nicest lads in music. Each member brings something special to the group which puts them skies ahead of their rivals. I will listen to 'Tessellate' forever. (LJ)
"WTF am I doing on a wet rock?" folk's darling is clearly asking above. Promoting your lovely album with its cracking opener 'The Muse', that's what. (LJ)
Probably the best Christmas concept album since 'Snoop Dogg Presents Christmas in Tha Dogg House'. (LJ)
Adam Bainbridge could win a Mercury for his funky dance moves alone. And his locks. But seriously: he deserves recognition for the detail and hard work put into his debut. (LJ)
Because the Glaswegian released the only album this year that sounds like it could be the national anthem for Mars. (TH)
There’s just something about her, isn’t there? The way she mixes her old-fashioned vocals with hip production, and her constant surprise that anyone gives a shit. (TH)
Man who wears dinosaur outfits in Maximum Fun Dance Music Record shocker. Mainly because a lot of it seems to be influenced by Baby D’s ‘Let Me Be Your Fantasy’. (TH)
No one sounds like The xx. And no one ever will sound like The xx. And if anyone ever does sound like The xx, people will say, “they’re just copying The xx”. (TH)
Their big ‘step up’. The moment they became a properly massive and important band, every bit as amazing as The Horrors or Arcade Fire. (TH)
Surprisingly high in the odds is a record by "the male Robyn from the Welsh valleys via East London" according to one fan. Could be this year's curveball. (LJ)
Hot Chip, Richard Hawley, Lianne La Havas, Bombay Bicycle Club, Graham Coxon, Florence & The Machine, Orbital, Ed Sheeran are other likely nominees. Who do you think deserves to be shortlisted?