Mercury Prize 2009: nominees?

UPDATE: The Mercury nominees have been announced.  We predicted eight out of 12; that's not to say we agree with the list, just that much of it was maybe, just maybe, quite predictable.

Interestingly (for those interested in such things), they're split equally between major label and indie releases, with six apiece. The most nominated major, Columbia, scores a pair of nods with Kasabian and Glasvegas, while frontrunning indie XL sees The Horrors and Friendly Fires join the race for the prize, which will be awarded on 22nd September.

Click the links to read our reviews of the albums set to suddenly make quite a lot more money, which are:


SPEECH DEBELLE: Speech Therapy

KASABIAN: West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum

FRIENDLY FIRES: Friendly Fires

LA ROUX: La Roux


THE HORRORS: Primary Colours

GLASVEGAS: Glasvegas

LED BIB: Sensible Shoes


THE INVISIBLE: The Invisible



Today (21st July) sees the 2009 Mercury Prize nominees break cover. This curious award, given annually to an album released over the 12 months to July by an artist born in the UK or Ireland, is picked by mysterious judges with no recourse to public voting. Representation from online media on the panel remains sparse, too.

And yet the Mercury continues to excite more interest than just about any other music industry award in the UK. Some would suggest its likely picks have become a little obvious down the years since the first award, back in 1991; there are always token jazz, folk and underground dance albums, but the bulk of the nominees are likely to be drawn from commercial indie rock and pop releases. 

In 2008 Elbow proved popular winners, but there were such notable omissions from the nominees list that the credibility of the award was, in some quarters, called into question. How was it possible to ignore Portishead's stunning first album in a decade, for starters? 

Part of the fun with the Mercury, of course, is seeing whose noses are put out of joint by the nominations. Some will complain it's all too mainstream, others that it's tokenistic and still more will profess to struggle to see the point of it at all.

For sure, there is one overarching point to it, and it's the same as for any award – it boosts sales for its nominees. 2008 nominee Burial saw sales of his dubstep album Untrue rocket by more than 1000% between nomination and the ceremony.
So whose pockets will suddenly deepen today? 

Murmurings, chinstrokes and mumbles across the internets point to some obvious names, and some more perplexing possibilities.
Doves' Kingdom Of Rust and Manic Street Preachers' Journal For Plague Lovers are the established meat-and-two-veg indie rock standard bearers, with some suggesting a punt on Kasabian's West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum too, but debutants Glasvegas are also widely expected to make an appearance.

Indie dance debuts must surely include the self titled efforts of Friendly Fires and Late Of The Pier, while of the flame-haired ladies, La Roux is the most mentioned, a mite ahead of Florence And The Machine.

I'd be shocked if at least one of The Bug, Speech Debelle or Micachu aren't in amongst it all somewhere. All are obvious Mercury-type acts and are certainly worthy picks. Outside nods for The Bookhouse Boys and multiple past nominee PJ Harvey, this time with John Parish, shouldn't be discounted either. Others I'd say are in with a shout are Bat For Lashes, Little Boots and (an outside bet, this) Fanfarlo. And who'll be holding the jazz fort this time?

Finally I'd also like to see The Horrors get a nod, if only for producer Geoff Barrow of Portishead to be recognised for his genius.

But there are only 12 spots for those nominees to fill. We'll post the list here when it's announced, and then the fun really begins to decide the worthiest winner. In the meantime, who would you nominate? Have I criminally missed off anyone?

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