Nationwide Mercury Prize shortlist – your guide to the nominees

Who's who on the 2008 shortlist?

The winner of this year’s Nationwide Mercury Prize is set to be revealed tonight (September 9).

Here’s NME.COM‘s brief guide to who’s who on the shortlist.

Adele – Soul star Adele broke through at the beginning of this year, racking up a Number One record with debut album ’19’. The Londoner also received the first ever Critic’s Choice BRIT Award this year too.


British Sea Power – The Brighton based four-piece gained a nod with their third album ‘Do You Like Rock Music?’, and have been critics’ favourites since the release of their debut record ‘The Decline Of British Sea Power’ five years ago. They are known for their devoted fans and enigmatic live shows, which often see band members climbing scaffolding round a stage decorated with foliage, birds or flags.

Burial – This London-based dubstep artist has received a nomination for his second album ‘Untrue’. Initially releasing his records anonymously, the producer revealed himself as south Londoner Will Bevan after the nomination. Having seen ‘Untrue’ hailed as a critical success last year, he has also remixed the likes of Bloc Party and Thom Yorke.

Elbow – Epic rockers Elbow are up for a Mercury nod with album ‘The Seldom Seen Kid’. The Manchester band’s fourth record was delayed for nearly two years as the band swapped record labels but they made up for lost time with the acclaimed release that includes a guest spot from former Mercury nominee Richard Hawley.

EstelleLondon hip-hop lass Estelle cracked the UK and the US this year with her American-influenced second album ‘Shine’. Teaming up with Kanye West, Mark Ronson and John Legend, she scored a Number One with the first single from the record, ‘American Boy’. Featuring the aforementioned West, the track is regularly covered by Jay-Z live.

Laura Marling – The Reading-born teen sensation has been building up a huge folk following since the release of her first studio album ‘Alas, I Cannot Swim’ in February. The waif-like musician also sings with Noah And The Whale and guested on Mystery Jets‘ recent album ‘Twenty One’.

The Last Shadow PuppetsArctic MonkeysAlex Turner has now notched up a hat-trick of Mercury nominations, with his collaboration with The Rascals singer Miles Kane following nods in 2006 and 2007 for his main band. ‘The Age Of The Understatement’ boasts a Scott Walker vibe, with lush strings from Arcade Fire collaborator Owen Pallett and production from Simian Mobile Disco‘s James Ford, who also handled drums on the record. The duo are heading out on their debut tour later this year complete with an orchestra.


Neon Neon – The side project of Super Furry Animals frontman Gruff Rhys. The Welshman teamed up with producer Boom Bip in 2006 to start work on the album, ‘Stainless Style’, a 1980s-influenced concept album about the playboy designer John DeLorean, the man responsible for the DeLorean car featured in the ‘Back To The Future’ movies.

Portico Quartet – The London-based jazz quartet’s debut album ‘Knee-Deep In The North Sea’ has been nominated for the prize this year. Renowned for busking in unusual places, from churches to galleries, the foursome are booked up to play festivals this year with their hooky jazz sound.

Rachel Unthank And The Winterset – The folk four-piece from Northumberland are already a critics’ favourite, and are up for the prize with their second album ‘The Bairns’. The band are playing all over Europe and America for the next few months.

Robert Plant and Alison Krauss – The Led Zeppelin frontman’s collaboration with bluegrass country singer Krauss, ‘Raising Sand’, hit high in the charts both in the UK and USA. The highly-hyped team has proved popular with both fans and critics.

Radiohead – The Oxford quintet’s seventh album, ‘In Rainbows’, caused a storm last year after the group told fans they could decide how much they wanted to pay for it as a download. The iconic Oxford band’s album later hit the top of the charts after its retail release and has been praised by critics worldwide. The nomination marks frontman Thom Yorke‘s fifth Mercury nomination, four with Radiohead and once for his solo album ‘The Eraser’. He also featured on three tracks on the 2001 Mercury Prize-winning album, PJ Harvey‘s ‘Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea’.

You can also read NME.COM‘s reaction to the Nationwide Mercury Music Prize nominations – and have your say on the who the judges left out – over on the NME Office Blog.