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Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 July 2006, 15:19 GMT 16:19 UK
Mercury Music Prize: The nominees
The shortlist for the 2006 Mercury Music Prize has been announced.

The winner is to be revealed on 5 September and will be presented with a cheque for 20,000.

You can find out more about the nominated artists and hearing their music by clicking on the links below.

1. ARCTIC MONKEYS - WHATEVER PEOPLE SAY I AM, THAT'S WHAT I'M NOT

Arctic Monkeys

According to legend, Sheffield band the Arctic Monkeys made their name when their music was made available online.

But the quartet say they had little to do with their internet presence, attributing it to fans sharing demo CDs that had been handed out at gigs.

Nonetheless, their album became the fastest-selling debut in UK chart history when it came out in January.

Chancellor Gordon Brown reportedly has it on his iPod, and says the band "really wake you up in the morning".

2. MUSE - BLACK HOLES AND REVELATIONS

Muse

The band got together in Devon back in 1997 after leaving various different jobs which included cleaning campsite toilets.

They have toured with other rock bands such as the Foo Fighters and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Black Holes And Revelations is their fourth album which was released earlier this month.

So far it is doing well as it is currently top of the charts. The Mercury judges called it "bold, brave and bright".

3. ISOBEL CAMPBELL & MARK LANEGAN - BALLAD OF THE BROKEN SEAS

Isobel Campbell

Scottish singer-songwriter Isobel Campbell started out as the cellist for indie pop group Belle and Sebastian.

Her third album as a solo artist was recorded in collaboration with the former lead singer of US grunge band Screaming Trees, Mark Lanegan.

Campbell wrote and produced most of the album, and says she was influenced by Johnny Cash and Nancy Sinatra.

The Mercury judges called it "eerie and sensual, sweet and sinister, evocative and remarkable".

4. ZOE RAHMAN - MELTING POT

Zoe Rahman

Every year the Mercury Prize features a jazz artist and the Chichester-born pianist Zoe Rahman certainly falls into that category.

She went to study music at Oxford University and then the Berklee College of Music in Boston.

Her debut album, The Cynic, with drummer Winston Clifford and bassist Jeremy Brown, was shortlisted for the BBC Radio 3 jazz album of the year review in 2001.

Four years later she released Melting Pot on her own Manushi label.

5. EDITORS - THE BACK ROOM

Led by vocalist Tom Smith, the band were founded by four Staffordshire University students and released their first single, Bullets, last year.

With a sound often compared to Joy Division and Interpol, debut The Back Room propelled the band to number two in the album chart.

Their songs Munich, Blood and All Sparks have also been hits, with Munich reaching the Top 10.

The judges called the album "edgy, forceful and compelling - a hugely impressive debut".

6. LOU RHODES - BELOVED ONE

The singer-songwriter was one half of duo Lamb - best known for the track Gorecki - until she parted company with collaborator Andy Barlow in 2004.

Lou Rhodes

Her marriage also broke up, and Rhodes moved with her two children to a Surrey commune, where she recorded Beloved One, her debut solo album.

The album was released on Rhodes' own label, Infinite Bloom.

Beloved One was "a deeply personal acoustic album of elegant and affecting songs," the judges said.

7. GUILLEMOTS - THROUGH THE WINDOWPANE

Guillemots

Avant garde rock group Guillemots was formed by singer-songwriter Fyfe Dangerfield in November 2004.

Its members include Brazilian guitarist MC Lord Magrao, Scottish drummer Rican Caol and Canadian double bassist Aristazabal Hawkes.

They do not fit comfortably in one musical genre, flirting with pop, jazz and rock - often within the same song.

Dangerfield says: "I don't think there's a greater art than writing a three-minute pop song".

8. SCRITTI POLITTI - WHITE BREAD, BLACK BEER

Scritti Politti's Green Gartside

Scritti Politti, which is Italian for political writings, was formed by singer Green Gartside in 1978.

They had several hits in the 1980s with sugary-sweet pop songs such as The Word Girl and Wood Beez, gaining a reputation for their convoluted lyrics.

However, Gartside fled the limelight for a Welsh cottage in the 1990s.

Since then he has only returned to the recording studio sporadically, and White Bread, Black Beer is Scritti Politti's first album since 1999.

9. RICHARD HAWLEY - COLES CORNER

Richard Hawley

Richard Hawley started out in rock band The Longpigs, and has played guitar for All Saints and Robbie Williams.

Coles Corner is his third album, and takes its name from a department store in his home town of Sheffield.

The collection of guitar-led ballads, recalls the classic American pop of Roy Orbison and Hank Williams.

The Sun said it "sounds like a long-lost masterpiece", while the Mercury judges called Hawley "a wonderfully unapologetic romantic".

10. SWAY - THIS IS MY DEMO

Sway

London rapper Sway won the prize for best hip-hop artist at last year's Mobo awards, beating US superstars such as The Game and 50 Cent.

At the time, he had not even released an album, although he had put out mixtapes showcasing his humorous rap style.

When the album was eventually ready, Sway, whose real name is Derek Safo, released it on his own label.

According to RWD magazine, the 23-year-old has "single-handedly made UK hip-hop cool again".

11. HOT CHIP - THE WARNING

Hot Chip

Schoolfriends Joe Goddard and Alexis Taylor formed the outfit.

The Warning is their second album which features the singles Over And Over and Boy From School.

One critic has described the London-based 5-piece band as "super cool computer nerds".

The Mercury Judges called them "Irresistible DIY electropop - brilliantly realised."

12. THOM YORKE - THE ERASER

Thom Yorke

More than a decade at the helm one of the UK's most respected bands means the outspoken Radiohead singer is already a household name.

He does not like The Eraser to be referred to as a "solo project", adding he has no plans to leave the band.

The Eraser' first single will be Harrowdown Hill, a song about the death of weapons inspector Dr David Kelly.

The judges said the album provided "a compelling new setting for Thom Yorke's voice and lyrical vision".




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