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Wednesday, 25 July, 2001, 08:30 GMT 09:30 UK
Mercury Music Prize: The nominees
Critically acclaimed, but can Radiohead clinch the prize?
BBC News Online profiles the acts short listed for this year's Mercury Prize - one of the UK music industry's top awards. Gorillaz, who were originally shortlisted, later rejected their nomination.

Album: Amnesiac

The Oxford five-piece, headed by Thom Yorke have received constant critical acclaim since their emergence in the early 1990s. Kid A, the band's fourth LP, won best alternative album at the Grammys after topping the charts in America and the UK. Their influences encompass art, classical music and jazz, pop and rock and roll. Amnesiac is their fifth album and was described by band member Colin Greenwood as a "combination of like, more conventional, perhaps, but also more dissonant stuff. But it continues on from Kid A".

Click here to read BBC News Online's review of Amnesiac

 Watch a clip of Radiohead performing Pyramid Song, taken from the Amnesiac album, on Top Of The Pops

Album: Asleep in the Back

Elbow are from Bury in north Manchester and have described themselves as "prog-rock with no solos," citing influences from King Crimson to Sly Stone. Record deals with Island and EMI collapsed, but they were picked up by Manchester indie-label Ugly Man for whom they released two EPs, New Born and Any Day Now and went on to sign a deal with V2. Asleep In The Back is their debut album.

 Listen to a clip of Powder Blue from the album Asleep In The Back

PJ Harvey
Album: Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea

Since her 1992 debut album Dry this much acclaimed Devon-born singer has been a provocative voice in the music industry. But with this latest album she seems to have put depression, therapy and a much publicised relationship with Nick Cave behind her. The music is still tough and intense but there are new lighter melodies here as well.

Click here to read BBC News Online's review of Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea

 Listen to a clip of A Place Called Home taken from Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea

Basement Jaxx
Album: Rooty

This Club duo hit the mark with their debut album Remedy, which topped the 1999 album of the year polls. The Brixton pair - Felix Buxton and Simon Ratcliffe - meld a range of sounds into a thumping dance sound that garners top 10 hits and critical acclaim alike.

Click here to read BBC News Online's review of Rooty

 Listen to a clip of Romeo/Where's Your Head At from the album Rooty

Ed Harcourt
Album: Here Be Monsters

The 23-year-old piano playing, singer composer has been enjoying rave reviews for his debut album. Refined, youthful-sounding lyrics drift over pop rhythms, embellished with the occasional guitar frenzy.

 Listen to a clip of Something In My Eye from the album Here Be Monsters

Susheela Raman
Album: Salt Rain

In her late 20s, Susheela Raman was born in London to south Indian parents. She combines blues-based songs with Asian-influenced soul music and African touches. Her voice has a dramatic range and this album covers angry ballads, love-songs and jazz-style improvisation, with lyrics in English, Hindi and Tamil.

 Listen to clip of Maya from her debut album Salt Rain

Super Furry Animals
Album: Rings Around the World

The Cardiff rock quintet followed up their Welsh-language album Mwng with Rings Around the World released simultaneously on audio and DVD formats. Since they formed in the early 90s they have never been a band to behave according to expectation. BBC News Online's reviewer said: "Lush string arrangements and Bacharach-style puffs of trumpet stand alongside fuzzy guitars and bouts of electronic wizardry on this album."

Click here to read BBC News Online's review of Rings Around the World

 Listen to a clip of Receptacle For The Respectable from the album Rings Around The World

Tom McRae:
Album: Tom McRae

McRae's self-titled debut album appeared last autumn to high praise and a spread in Vogue. This 27-year-old Suffolk-born, London based singer-songwriter is the son of two vicars. But his songs, if acoustic, have a serious edge - full of fierce pain, revenge and sneering melodrama.

 Listen to a clip of Draw Down The Stars from his self titled debut album

Turin Brakes:
Album: The Optimist LP

Turin Brakes - Olly Knights and Gale Paradganien - are a duo from south London, and are both 24. The pair have known each other since primary school and for years played acoustic guitars together in their bedrooms. Brighton based label Anvil records released their EP The Door in August 1999, and a year later they played their first ever gig with a full live band. The Optimist LP is their debut album.

 Listen to Mind Over Money from The Optimist

Zero 7
Album: Simple Things

Zero 7 are two north London musicians, Henry Binns and Sam Hardaker, both 29. Both studied sound engineering, one hooked on soul, jazz and classical, the other on hip hop - and both left to serve their studio apprenticeship at Mickie Most's RAK studios. Zero 7 are known for their remixes - for artists like Radiohead and Lambchop - as much as for their own music , which has been championed by fans such as Gilles Peterson and The Face.

 Listen to a clip of Destiny from their debut album Simple Things

Album: Felt Mountain

Goldfrapp are singer Alison Goldfrapp - who has worked with Tricky and Orbital - and film-score composer Will Gregory. The duo got together two years ago after Gregory heard a very rough demo of Alison singing Human, which appears on Felt Mountain - their debut album. This is studio-based music complete with full orchestral sweeps and the air of a classy film soundtrack.

 Listen to a clip of Utopia from the album Felt Mountain

Withdrawn from the shortlist

Album: Gorillaz

Despite being installed as bookmakers' favourites, Gorillaz have been taken off the shortlist after the band said they did not want to win. A "virtual band", cartoon bassist Murdoc described the nomination as "like carrying a dead albatross round your neck for eternity". But the album has been critically and commercially acclaimed, and Blur singer Damon Albarn and hip-hop DJ Dan 'The Automator' Nakamura, Jamie Hewlett, creator of comic book character Tank Girl, Cuban singer Ibrahim Ferrer and rapper Del Tha Funky Homosapien are just some of the names behind the streetwise apes.

Click here to read BBC News Online's review of Gorillaz

 Watch a clip of Clint Eastwood from the album Gorillaz

See also:

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