Page last updated at 12:42 GMT, Tuesday, 22 July 2008 13:42 UK

Mercury Prize 2008: The nominees

The shortlist for the Nationwide Mercury Prize for best British or Irish album of the last 12 months has been announced.

Find out more about the nominated artists and watch them perform by clicking on the links below.

ADELE - 19

A clip from Adele's track Cold Shoulder

Adele topped the BBC's Sound of 2008 list at the start of the year, and her rise to stardom has been swift.

The 20-year-old graduate of the Brit school of performing arts went straight to the top of the UK charts with 19 when it was released in January.

Her debut single, Chasing Pavements, reached number two, following TV performances on shows like Later... with Jools Holland and Jonathan Ross.

In March she signed a deal to release 19 in the US through Columbia Records.

BRITISH SEA POWER - DO YOU LIKE ROCK MUSIC?

Waving Flags by British Sea Power

Do You Like Rock Music? is the third album from Brighton-based British Sea Power, whose elaborate live shows have earned them a cult following.

Originally formed at university in Reading, they mix taut, angular rock sounds with grand, sweeping epics.

The four-piece are planning their own festival at the UK's highest pub, the Tan Hill Inn in the Yorkshire Dales.

Earlier this year, keyboard and cornet player Phil Sumner knocked himself out attempting a stage dive at a Leeds gig.

BURIAL - UNTRUE

A clip from Archangel by Burial

After the success of his debut album in 2006, south London-based producer Burial returned with the "gorgeously evocative" follow-up Untrue.

The dubstep artist is known for his richly atmospheric tunes, and his latest album did not disappoint.

His music has been described as a "soundtrack to the time it would take the N68 to get from Trafalgar Square to its suburban end point".

Despite his success, Burial continues to closely guard his privacy.

ELBOW - THE SELDOM SEEN KID

A clip from Elbow's Grounds for Divorce

The Seldom Seen Kid is alternative rock band Elbow's fourth studio album after a 17-year career, that has also seen 10 UK top 50 singles.

The band, formed in Bury in 1991, is comprised of Guy Garvey, Mark Potter, Craig Potter, Pete Turner and drummer Richard Jupp.

The Seldom Seen Kid has been described as "beautifully understated" and "a masterpiece" by critics.

Their 2001 album Asleep in the Back was also nominated for the Mercury Prize.

ESTELLE - SHINE

A clip from American Boy by Estelle

Shine is the second studio album from 28-year-old hip-hop star Estelle.

Single American Boy, which features rap superstar Kanye West, gave the Londoner her first UK number one, topping the chart for four weeks in March.

It has been her most successful global hit to date, charting in 18 countries.

Her album features the production skills of Mark Ronson, Will.i.am, John Legend and Wyclef Jean from The Fugees.

LAURA MARLING - ALAS I CANNOT SWIM

A clip from New Romantic by Laura Marling

Laura Marling, 18, has been called an "extraordinary young talent" for her debut album Alas I Cannot Swim.

But while her contemporaries mine the rich seam of 60s soul, Marling deals in gentle, affecting acoustic folk.

Her sensitive, sparse arrangements blend with bittersweet lyrics that display a maturity beyond her years.

The singer-songwriter has a devoted live following - although she was once reduced to busking after being told she was too young to enter her own gig.

NEON NEON - STAINLESS STYLE

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Neon Neon is the collective name for Los Angeles producer Boom Bip and Gruff Rhys, frontman of experimental Welsh rockers Super Furry Animals.

Their album Stainless Style is, believe it or not, inspired by playboy engineer John DeLorean.

Harnessing 80s synths and chiming soft rock guitars, they conjure up the hedonistic lifestyle of the man who invented the Back To The Future car.

Vice magazine said the record was "like playing Grand Theft Auto on ecstasy".

PORTICO QUARTET - KNEE-DEEP IN THE NORTH SEA

A clip from the song Knee-Deep in the North Sea, by the Portico Quartet

The Portico Quartet are a four-piece modern jazz group from London.

The band is made up of Jack Wyllie, Duncan Bellamy, Milo Fitzpatrick, and Nick Mulvey.

After busking and gigging for two years, the band signed to a record company Babel Label last year and Knee Deep In The North Sea was released in November.

Their distinctive sound is made by the use of the hang - a domed steel percussion instrument - which is used on all their tracks.

RACHEL UNTHANK & THE WINTERSET - THE BAIRNS

A clip from Blue Bleezing Blind Drunk by Rachel Unthank and The Winterset

Rachel Unthank & The Winterset are an all-female folk quartet who originally formed in Northumberland in 2004.

After two line-up changes, the group now comprises sisters Rachel and Becky Unthank, fiddle player Niopha Keegan and pianist Stef Conner.

The Bairns is the group's follow-up to their debut album Cruel Sister, which won Mojo magazine's Folk Album of the Year.

They won the Horizon Award at the 2008 BBC Folk Awards and were also nominated in three other categories.

RADIOHEAD - IN RAINBOWS

A clip from Radiohead's track Jigsaw Falling Into Place

Radiohead launched their seventh studio album In Rainbows with a pay-what-you-like offer last year.

The alternative rock band let fans decide what to pay for the 10 MP3 files - from nothing to 100 - before a CD version was released earlier this year.

Radiohead have never won the Mercury Prize, despite three previous nods - OK Computer (1997); Amnesiac (2001); Hail to the Thief (2003).

Thom Yorke was also nominated for his solo album, The Eraser, in 2006.

THE LAST SHADOW PUPPETS - AGE OF THE UNDERSTATEMENT

A clip from Age Of The Understatement by The Shadow Puppets

The Last Shadow Puppets are the side project of Alex Turner, frontman for former Mercury Prize Winners Artic Monkeys, and Miles Kane of The Rascals.

The duo say their act is a "joke that became real life", but they have rapidly become critical and commercial favourites.

Album Age Of The Understatement, which recalls the grandiose cinematic sweep of crooner Scott Walker, went straight to number one in April.

The duo were named best breakthrough act at the Mojo awards last month.

ROBERT PLANT AND ALISON KRAUSS - RAISING SAND

A clip from Gone Gone Gone by Robert Plant and Alison Krauss

The excitement of Led Zeppelin's reunion gig in London overshadowed Robert Plant's album with Union Station singer Alison Krauss, Raising Sand.

It was seen as a risk for them both, coming from different musical styles.

But critics adored the collaboration between one of rock's big names and one of country's leading lights.

The dark, brooding collection of songs was produced by T-Bone Burnett - the man behind the acclaimed soundtrack to O Brother, Where Art Thou?




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