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Last Updated: Tuesday, 19 July 2005, 12:02 GMT 13:02 UK
Kaiser Chiefs tipped for Mercury
The musical acts lining up for this year's Mercury Music Prize

Bookmakers have made rock band Kaiser Chiefs favourites to win the 2005 Mercury Music Prize.

Their debut album Employment is one of 12 shortlisted for this year's award, which honours the best album of the year by a UK or Irish act.

Others include Coldplay's X&Y, Silent Alarm by Bloc Party and KT Tunstall's Eye to the Telescope.

Kaiser Chiefs are 4/1 favourites to win the 20,000 prize. Tunstall, Bloc Party and Coldplay are all at 6/1.

Kaiser Chiefs frontman Ricky Wilson said: "Being the favourites is exciting, although it doesn't mean we're going to win it.

How previous Mercury winners have fared after lifting the prize

"But we want to win it. People say, 'oh, it's just great to be nominated, we don't mind whether or not we win'. They're lying to themselves. Everybody wants to win."

Bandmate Nick Hodgson said: "This time last year we didn't have a record deal and in the past 12 months it's all happened.

"This is our first nomination for any award ever."

Coldplay's X&Y is the biggest selling album of the year so far, selling close to 500,000 copies in its first week in the UK alone.

By contrast, fellow nominee Seth Lakeman - a folk artist from Dartmoor - released his album Kitty Jay on his own Devon-based record label.

COLLECTIVE SESSIONS
KT Tunstall
Click on the links above to see these acts in session on the BBC's Collective website

Lakeman told the BBC on Tuesday: "I'm skint. I spent my last 177 on the entry fee for this award. I didn't think I stood a chance in hell."

Eight of the shortlisted acts - which include Newcastle guitar band Maximo Park and British-Sri Lankan MIA - have been nominated for their debut albums.

"The renaissance in British music continues with the emergence of a wealth of new talents," said Simon Frith, chair of the judging panel.

"It's also significant that the country's musical excellence includes such contrasting releases as Coldplay's worldwide number one hit album and Seth Lakeman's self-released folk record."

Bookmaker William Hill, which installed Kaiser Chiefs as favourites, said the field was wide open.

"It's a very close year," said spokesman Graham Sharpe. "Every album could be a winner."

Seth Lakeman
Seth Lakeman: Made his album at home for 300
Bloc Party came second in the BBC News website's Sound of 2005 survey, with Kaiser Chiefs at five.

The award will be announced at a ceremony on 6 September.

The full shortlist is as follows:

  • Antony and the Johnsons - I Am A Bird Now
  • Bloc Party - Silent Alarm
  • Coldplay - X&Y
  • The Go! Team - Thunder, Lightning, Strike
  • Hard-Fi - Stars of CCTV
  • KT Tunstall - Eye to the Telescope
  • Kaiser Chiefs - Employment
  • The Magic Numbers - The Magic Numbers
  • Maximo Park - A Certain Trigger
  • MIA - Arular
  • Polar Bear - Held on the Tips of Fingers
  • Seth Lakeman - Kitty Jay




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