For the past 26 years, a panel of British music experts and industry figures has gotten together to award the Mercury Prize, the prize that goes to what they believe to be the best British album of the past year. The winner gets £25,000, as well as recognition on a nationally-televised ceremony. As the BBC reports, the organizers just announced the 12 albums in consideration for this year’s award, and it seems like a particularly strong batch. There’s David Bowie’s final album Blackstar. There’s Radiohead’s A Moon Shaped Pool, which gives the band a record fifth nomination, though they’ve never won the award. There’s previous winner ANOHNI, who took it home for Antony And The Johnsons’ I Am A Bird Now in 2005 and who’s now up for Hopelessness. And then there are worthy albums from people like Bat For Lashes, Skepta, the 1975, Savages, Kano, and Jamie Woon, alongside a whole lot of albums I’ve never heard of before. Meanwhile, PJ Harvey, the only double-winner in Mercury Prize history, was not nominated for The Hope Six Demolition Project, and commercial behemoths like Adele and Coldplay were also snubbed. Check out the list of nominees below.
• ANOHNI – Hopelessness
• Bat For Lashes – The Bride
• David Bowie – Blackstar
• Jamie Woon – Making Time
• Kano – Made In The Manor
• Laura Mvula – The Dreaming Room
• Michael Kiwanuka – Love And Hate
• Radiohead – A Moon Shaped Pool
• Savages – Adore Life
• Skepta – Konnichiwa
• The 1975 – I Like It When You Sleep…
• The Comet Is Coming – Channel The Spirits
You’d think that Bowie would be the favorite here, for sentimental reasons as well as for the actual merit of the work. Or you’d think that, failing that, Radiohead would finally be due for recognition, Scorsese-for-The Departed-style. But the Mercury people have a habit of picking some real leftfield winners. Last year, for instance, the relative unknown Benjamin Clementine beat out a field that included Aphex Twin, Jamie xx, and Florence + The Machine. So we’ll see! The ceremony that crowns the winner will air live 9/15 on the BBC.