RACE FOR THE PRIZE!

The nominees are announced in what looks like the closest race for years...

Snow Patrol, Streets and Jamelia are amongst the nominations for this year’s MERCURY MUSIC PRIZE, NME.COM can reveal.

A panel of judges drawn from the music industry have chosen their 12 ‘albums of the year’, with the overall winner announced on September 7.

This year’s shortlist also features albums from the likes of Belle And Sebastian, Streets and Snow Patrol.

Simon Frith, Chair of Judges said: “This is an exceptional year, most dramatically illustrated by the emergence of several new and varied bands together with outstanding work by three powerful female singers. The shortlist also recognises the continued good health of the gloriously eclectic world that is British and Irish music.”

This year’s shortlist is:

Basement Jaxx – ‘Kish Kash’

Belle & Sebastian – ‘Dear Catastrophe Waitress’

Franz Ferdinand – ‘Franz Ferdinand’

Jamelia – ‘Thank You’

Keane – ‘Hopes And Fears’

Snow Patrol – ‘Final Straw’

Joss Stone – ‘The Soul Sessions’

The Streets – ‘A Grand Don’t Come For Free’

Ty – ‘Upwards’

Amy Winehouse – ‘Frank’

Robert Wyatt – ‘Cuckooland’

The Zutons – ‘Who Killed…The Zutons’

Speaking following the nominations, Keane’s Tim Rice-Oxley said it was “nice” to be nominated, but wasn’t hopeful of a win.

He told NME.COM: “It’s incredible to be nominated among the best 12 British albums of the year.  It’s particularly good because we haven’t been nominated for anything before.”

Bookmakers are looking to Keane and Jamelia as joint favourites to win the award, with odds of 3-1.

Other odds see Winehouse, [/a] and [a]Snow Patrol at 6-1 to win and Streets, Basement Jaxx and Joss Stone at 10-1.

The other nominated artists are 12-1 to win the award.

Graham Sharpe from William Hill said: “It’s a very close year, with superb albums from UK artists representing a range of musical genres. This is reflected in the closeness of the odds we’ve given – every album here could be a winner.”

The shortlist has been welcomed by the independent labels. Five of the nominated acts are via indies – Basement Jaxx, Belle & Sebastian, Franz Ferdinand, Ty and Robert Wyatt.

Alison Wenham, Chairman & Chief Executive of the Association of Independent Music (AIM) said: “Once again the independent record sector in the UK has demonstrated the vital role it plays in discovering, nurturing and promoting new music. The impressive representation of the indies at this year’s Mercury Prize highlights the sector’s continuing success in breaking new talent.”

Previous winners have had varying degrees of success after winning the Mercury Music Prize. The award helped recent winners like Ms Dynamite reach mainstream appeal, but earlier winners such as Talvin Singh and Roni Size didn’t quite manage to cross over in the same way.

The previous winners are:1992 – Primal Scream ‘Screamadelica’

1993 – Suede: ‘Suede’

1994 – M People: ‘Elegant Slumming’

1995 – Portishead: ‘Dummy’

1996 – Pulp: ‘Different Class’

1997 – Roni Size: ‘New Forms’

1998 – Gomez: ‘Bring It On’

1999 – Talvin Singh: ‘OK’

2000 – Badly Drawn Boy: ‘The Hour Of Bewilderbeast’

2001 – PJ Harvey: ‘Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea’

2002 – Ms Dynamite: ‘A Little Deeper’

2003 – Dizzee Rascal – ‘Boy In Da Corner’

What do you think of the shortlist? Who’s missing? Send all your comments to news@nme.com