The 12 albums that will compete for the 2012 Barclaycard Mercury Music Prize were announced today, with Plan B and previous nominee Richard Hawley pitted as favourites to win the coveted title.
Hawley, who was nominated for his seventh album, Standing At The Sky's Edge, was described by Mercury Prize judges as "Big sky, big sound, big star." The 46-year-old Sheffield-born musician was also shortlisted for the prize in 2006 for his album Coles Corner, but lost out to the Arctic Monkeys.
The full list of nominees, in alphabetical order:
- Alt-J - An Awesome Wave
- Ben Howard - Every Kingdom
- Django Django - Django Django
- Field Music - Plumb
- Jessie Ware - Devotion
- Lianne La Havas - Is Your Love Big Enough?
- Maccabees - Given to the Wild
- Michael Kiwanuka - Home Again
- Plan B - Ill Manors
- Richard Hawley - Standing at the Sky's Edge
- Roller Trio - Roller Trio
- Sam Lee - Ground Of Its Own
Plan B's Ill Manors is the soundtrack to his crime drama film of the same name that was released in June this year. The chart-topping rapper, whose real name is Ben Drew, is the first Mercury Prize nominee to be nominated for a soundtrack album.
London indie rockers The Maccabees and Sunderland success story Field Music were other big name nominees, but the list predominantly shunned commercially successful artists such as Florence + The Machine and this year's Brits Critics Choice winner, Emeli Sande.
Soul singer Michael Kiwanuka, shortlisted for his top five album Home Again, has already won the BBC Sound Of 2012 award, which is announced at the start of the year. The London-based musician's debut album was described by Mercury judges as: "A debut album of rare authority. Soulful songs and a sublime voice. Utterly convincing."
Leeds-based jazz act Roller Trio, nominated for their self-titled debut, are another act that has already tasted success, grabbing the Peter Whittingham Jazz Award last year.
Nominees Django Django, Alt-J, Jessie Ware and Lianne La Havas are all new artists who have garnered high-profile praise this year, with Ware's vocals featuring on releases by SBTRKT and Sampha and La Havas supporting Paloma Faith on tour.
Folk music was represented in this year's shortlist by Sam Lee, who judges said, "brings magical new life to the dignity and mystery of old songs" and by Ben Howard for his "Emotionally charged and involving" album Every Kingdom.
Judging panel chair Simon Frith said the shortlist "showcases a wonderful variety of musical voices, emotions and ambitions."