Listen now and find out more about and listen to this year's shortlist
NME.COM has compiled a who’s-who guide to all the acts nominated this year with links to listen to their music. See below for the full rundown.
Bat For Lashes
Bat For Lashes, aka Natasha Khan, was nominated for the Mercury Prize in 2007 for her debut album ‘Fur And Gold’ – her second nomination is for its follow-up, ‘Two Suns’. Influenced by Bjork and Steve Reich, ex-teacher Khan is known for her hippyish image and spectacular costumes when playing live.
Listen at: Myspace.com/batforlashes
Florence And The Machine
Fronted by former art student Florence Welch, Florence And The Machine are a loose collective led by the irrepressible singer. Having already bagged the Critics Choice at this year’s BRIT Awards plus the coveted opening slot on the Shockwaves NME Awards Tour, Welch has been tipped for success all year. The singer recently released her debut ‘Lungs’, which is currently at Number Two in the UK albums chart.
Listen at: Myspace.com/florenceandthemachine
The St Albans band are nominated for their self-titled debut album, which was released last year. The trio have blended indie, disco and Brazilian samba influences and have already proved a hit at the festivals this summer. The band formed in 2006 after the members returned from university and played on this year’s Shockwaves NME Awards Tour. They are set to release a brand new single, ‘Kiss Of Life’, and an expanded edition of the nominated record on August 31.
Listen at: Myspace.com/friendlyfires
Glaswegian four-piece Glasvegas, led by bequiffed singer/guitarist James Allan, released their self-titled debut album of shimmery, epic The Jesus And Mary Chain-influenced rock last year. Allan, a former professional footballer, is known for his distinctive voice – he bears his thick accent proudly. The band headlined the Shockwaves NME Awards Tour earlier this year and, like The Horrors, dress exclusively in black.
Listen at: Myspace.com/glasvegas
Black-clad London band The Horrors, led by lanky singer Faris Badwan, changed their sound from clattery punk rock to a more My Bloody Valentine-influenced experimental tip for second album ‘Primary Colours’, which bagged them their Mercury nomination. As well as their own music the band regularly release mix tapes online, while Badwan briefly became a tabloid figure due to a past relationship with Peaches Geldof.
Listen at: Myspace.com/thehorrors
The Invisible began as the solo project of jazz musician Dave Okumu before developing into a full band ahead of their self-titled debut album, which was released in March this year following a string of low-key single releases. The band have seen their indie/post-rock music remixed by the likes of Micachu and Hot Chip – they have supported the latter band as well as Foals in the past.
Listen at: Myspace.com/theinvisiblethree
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‘West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum’
The Leicester band have received a nomination for the prize with their third album, which was co-produced in San Francisco with Gorillaz collaborator Dan The Automator. The album, written by guitarist Sergio Pizzorno, was inspired by the great concept albums of the late ’60s and early ’70s like The Pretty Things‘ ‘SF Sorrow. The band were formed in 1999 in their home city of Leicester, and are named after Charles Manson‘s getaway driver Linda Kasabian, who was allegedly too scared to participate in the Sharon Tate murders. Kasabian recently toured with Oasis on their UK stadium shows, and are currently playing their own headline dates.
Listen at: Kasabian.co.uk
Electro duo La Roux are nominated for their self-titled debut album, which was released at the end of June. Though dominated by singer Elly Jackson and her distinctive quiff, the group also features composer and producer Ben Langmaid, who, similar to Goldfrapp‘s William Gregory, prefers to stay in the background. The duo have already enjoyed two smash hit singles, ‘In For The Kill’ – the Skream remix of which also found popularity – which went to Number Two in the UK charts, and ‘Bulletproof’, which went one better. La Roux headlined this year’s Samsung NME Radar Tour, while Jackson has gained some extra fame when it was discovered her mother is actress Trudie Goodwin, who stared as June Ackland in police TV drama ‘The Bill’.
Listen at: Myspace.com/larouxuk
Already widely tipped to pick up the Barclaycard Mercury Prize‘s so-called “jazz spot”, the five-piece were formed in 2003, and are considered to be at the forefront of the British Jazz scene. Led by band leader and drummer Mark Holub, ‘Sensible Shoes’ is Led Bib‘s fourth album, and was inspired by “Tom And Jerry chases and calypso cheek”, along with more traditional jazz structures.
Listen at: Myspace.com/ledbib
Dublin-based singer/songwriter Hannigan first came to prominence in the shadow of Damien Rice, contributing the mellifluous female vocals on his albums ‘O’ and ‘9’. In 2008 she released her debut solo album ‘Sea Sew’ – a hushed, cello-augmented affair that has drawn comparisons with Suzanne Vega. True to quirky form, Hannigan knitted the needlework featured on the album’s sleeve herself.
Listen at: Myspace.com/lisahannigan
South London rapper Speech Debelle is known for her warm, neurotic, wild-child raps, often scribbled down on nightbuses and trains. Her sweet-voiced, jazzy hip-hop has been given a warm, old-school feel by producer Wayne Lotek, also producer for Speech‘s labelmate Roots Manuva. ‘Speech Therapy’ is her debut album.
Listen at: Myspace.com/speechdebellemusic
Sweet Billy Pilgrim
‘Twice Born Men’
London trio Sweet Billy Pilgrim formed in 2003 and feature, as well as a guitarist and a percussionist, a banjo player. They record their music in lo-fi fashion – with ‘Twice Born Men’ their second full-length album.
Listen at: Myspace.com/sweetbillypilgrim
Last year’s Barclaycard Mercury Prize was won by Elbow.
Who do you think has missed out on this year’s Barclaycard Mercury Prize? Have your say at the NME office blog now.