Florence and the Machine, Kasabian and Bat for Lashes are favourites to win the £20,000 prize, while La Roux and Glasvegas are also hotly tipped
The Mercury prize nominations for 2009's best album have been announced, and the list features the eclectic lineup of newcomers, chart stars and unknowns the prestigious award has become known for.
Florence and the Machine, Kasabian and Bat for Lashes are the favourites to walk away with the £20,000 prize, voted for by a panel of critics and music industry figures. Synth-pop duo La Roux and Scottish indie-rock quartet Glasvegas are also hotly tipped.
Among the lesser-known artists are south London rapper Speech Debelle and art-rock trio the Invisible, while eccentric quintet Led Bib and folk group Sweet Billy Pilgrim make up the more leftfield nominations.
Typically for the Mercury prize, the omissions are as surprising as the artists that made the final cut. Both Lily Allen (who was also overlooked for her 2006 debut album Alright, Still) and Manchester group Doves were rumoured to be odds on to win, but neither have been nominated.
The Mercury prize was established in 1992 as an alternative to the more commercially minded Brit awards. A panel of industry experts, including journalists, musicians and independent-label executives, debate the merits of what they believe to be the finest British albums from the past year, regardless of sales or radio play. Previous winners include Portishead, PJ Harvey and Arctic Monkeys.
The winner of this year's award will be announced on 8 September 2009.
Nominations for the Mercury prize 2009 (with odds from bookmaker William Hill)
Florence and the Machine – Lungs 5/1
Kasabian – West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum 5/1
Bat for Lashes – Two Suns 6/1
La Roux – La Roux 6/1
Glasvegas – Glasvegas 6/1
Speech Debelle – Speech Therapy 8/1
Friendly Fires – Friendly Fires 8/11
The Horrors – Primary Colours 8/1
Lisa Hannigan – Sea Sew 8/1
The Invisible – The Invisible 10/1
Led Bib – Sensible Shoes 10/1
Sweet Billy Pilgrim – Twice Born Men 10/1
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