UPDATE: The nominations have been announced. We got seven right; picked the wrong jazz entry and really didn't see three of these coming at all (and still don't); a gold star to you if you guessed more right than we did. Let us know what you make of the list below.
So before we head off to the bookies, the Mercury albums of 2010 are:Biffy Clyro – Only Revolutions
Corinne Bailey Rae – The Sea
Dizzee Rascal – Tongue N' Cheek
Kit Downes Trio – Golden
Foals – Total Life Forever
I Am Kloot – Sky At Night
Laura Marling – I Speak Because I Can
Mumford And Sons – Sigh No More
Paul Weller – Wake Up The Nation
Villagers – Becoming A Jackal
Wild Beasts – Two Dancers
The xx – xx
(Original post begins here...)
The 2010 Mercury Music Prize nominations are to be announced today, and musicOMH will be at the ceremony for on-the-spot thrills and spills (we'll update this blog with the final list).
Once again 12 albums by UK and Ireland artists will be spotlit by an award, debuted in 1992, that remains famously unpredictable and influential. Based on the views of musicians, hacks, producers and sundry other insiders, it panders neither to sales figures nor genre specifics. The nominees, picked from albums released up to 30 June, can often - but are not guarnteed to - enjoy a sizeable sales boost.
The final winner is astonishingly difficult to predict - 2009 victor Speech Debelle's Speech Therapy was as extraordinary a winner as 1994's gong for M People.
But the nominations usually end up following a format of sorts. The perception is, rightly or not, that the entry fee seems to have the effect of excluding many self-releases and albums on smaller labels, meaning only the bigger indies - the likes of Beggars Group (4AD, XL, Rough Trade &C.), Domino, Ninja Tune and Wichita - tend to get a look-in amongst the major label fare.
Yet the nominations still have capacity for surprise; nods to representative works from jazz, folk and other genres beyond the indie rock mainstream that tends to generate most column inches mean this award, for all its quirks, enjoys amongst the most diverse spread of nominees, regardless of sales figures or prevalent trends. And whatever the perception, small labels do get a look-in - just ask Portico Quartet or Sweet Billy Pilgrim.
So who'll be in this year's dozen? You might find some of these made musicOMH's Albums Of The Year 2009 list, but of course six months have passed since then. So how about these 12 to get the predictions rolling:
1. The xx - xx