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Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 July 2006, 17:34 GMT 18:34 UK
Arctic Monkeys lead Mercury list
Arctic Monkeys

The Arctic Monkeys are favourites to win the 2006 Mercury Music Prize after the shortlist was revealed in London.

Albums by Radiohead singer Thom Yorke and rock bands Muse and Editors are also up for the award for the best UK or Irish album of the past year.

The other nominated albums are by Guillemots, Sway, Richard Hawley, Hot Chip, Isobel Campbell, Scritti Politti, Zoe Rahman and Lou Rhodes.

The winner will receive a 20,000 cheque at a ceremony on 5 September.

As usual, an impressive line up of nominees
Paul Chaloner, Liverpool, UK

The Arctic Monkeys are 7/2 favourites to win, according to bookmakers William Hill.

Their nominated album Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not became the fastest-selling debut in UK history when it was released in January.

The judges described it as "essential", saying it contained "great songs astonishingly performed".

Arctic Monkeys - Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not
Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan - Ballad Of The Broken Seas
Editors - The Back Room
Guillemots - Through The Windowpane
Richard Hawley - Coles Corner
Hot Chip - The Warning
Muse - Black Holes And Revelations
Zoe Rahman - Melting Pot
Lou Rhodes - Beloved One
Scritti Politti - White Bread, Black Beer
Sway - This Is My Demo
Thom Yorke - The Eraser

DJ and TV presenter Lauren Laverne, said: "The judges all have very different music tastes.

"That always leads to an eclectic list, but I think it's a really good one this year."

"It's about what is really good but also hidden gems and putting them on show for everybody to enjoy," she said.

The BBC News website's Ian Youngs, who was at the shortlist announcement at Commonwealth House in London, said the list took many by surprise.

"There are quite a few unexpected inclusions and a lot of the favourites have not been included - like Goldfrapp, Lily Allen, Morrissey and Kate Bush," he said.

Antony and the Johnsons
Antony and the Johnsons won the prize last year

The chair of the judging panel, Simon Frith, said judges had tried to choose the "best records of the year" and this year's list was a "celebration of songwriters".

Thom Yorke's first solo album The Eraser, which was only released last week, was praised by judges as a "compelling new setting" for his "unique voice and lyrical vision".

Lou Rhodes, formerly of the trip-hop duo Lamb, said the nomination for her self-released album The Beloved One would lead to wider recognition.

"I knew in my heart I'd made a good record but sometimes they slip through the net," she said.

Rhodes is not the only artist on the shortlist to have put out an album under her own steam.

Muse's album is currently number one in the UK
London rapper Sway turned down deals from major labels to release his debut, This Is My Demo.

"It feels really good," he said. "I'm glad all my efforts have been noticed, and in an award that judges your musical talents rather than how many records you've sold."

And jazz pianist Zoe Rahman, who hand-delivered her self-released album Melting Pot to the judges in a plastic bag one week before the deadline, said she was "very proud" of the nomination.

She said she did not mind being seen as the "token" jazz artist, adding: "I'm representing jazz - there are so many jazz artists and they don't get the press they need."

Muse's Black Holes and Revelations is currently the UK's number one album. Judges said it was "bold, brave and bright".

The Mercury Music Prize - now branded the Nationwide Mercury Prize - was established in 1992.

Past winners have included Primal Scream, Pulp, PJ Harvey and Franz Ferdinand. Last year's recipient was Antony and the Johnsons for the album I am a Bird Now.


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