Page last updated at 14:26 GMT, Tuesday, 21 July 2009 15:26 UK

La Roux leading Mercury shortlist

La Roux singer Elly Jackson

Chart-toppers La Roux are leading the hopefuls for this year's Mercury Prize, along with Kasabian, Florence and the Machine and Friendly Fires.

Bat For Lashes gets a second chance to win the prize, while Glasvegas and The Horrors have also been given nods.

But hotly-tipped acts Little Boots, Doves and White Lies have been left off the 12-strong list.

Lisa Hannigan, The Invisible, Led Bib, Sweet Billy Pilgrim and Speech Debelle complete the list of nominees.

The award, now in its 17th year, aims to promote the best British and Irish albums of the last 12 months.

'Massive honour'

Mercury nominees on being nominated

This year's line-up features artists making the list for the first time, apart from Bat For Lashes.

Seven out of the 12 albums are debut releases.

Tim Elsenburg from Sweet Billy Pilgrim said: "I was at work, fitting a toilet seat in Farnham, when I heard about the nomination.

"The two realities sort of collided and time and space went funny for a bit, and I may have just repeated a certain expletive at regular intervals for the first few minutes.

"We are very proud that our record - grown in my shed - has made such a good impression on the judges, and to be associated with the Mercury is a massive honour," he added.

MERCURY PRIZE ODDS
Tom Meighan of Kasabian
Kasabian (pictured) - 5/1
Florence and the Machine - 5/1
Bat For Lashes - 6/1
Glasvegas - 6/1
La Roux - 6/1
Lisa Hannigan - 8/1
Speech Debelle - 8/1
The Horrors - 8/1
Friendly Fires - 8/1
The Invisible - 10/1
Sweet Billy Pilgrim - 10/1
Led Bib - 10/1
Source: William Hill

Speaking at the nominations ceremony, Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine told the BBC she was "really flattered" to make the list.

"It feels a bit sort of strange," added the musician.

Kasabian's Tom Meighan said: "I like making music but it's really nice to get the recognition. I think it's deserved, why not, eh?"

The Leicester four-piece have been nominated for their third album, West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum.

Meighan added that rivals La Roux and Florence and the Machine "have great pop albums".

Bat For Lashes - Natasha Khan - said: "As an artist I try to write a story from start to finish so it's good to have that validated."

She said of the other nominees, she likes La Roux, Florence and the Machine and Speech Debelle.

Elbow took the title last year, with their fourth studio album, The Seldom Seen Kid. This year's winner will be announced on 8 September.

Florence and the Machine have been making waves since their debut single Kiss with a Fist in 2008 and won the Brit Awards' Critics' Choice prize for best rising star.

Bat For Lashes singer on nomination

She is joint favourite to win the prize with Kasabian at 5/1, according to William Hill.

The rock band played an acoustic version of their song Underdog at the nominations ceremony in London, while Irish folk musician Lisa Hannigan also performed.

The Mercury shortlist also features a jazz album from Led Bib with their third album Sensible Shoes.

The prize and the accompanying £20,000 cheque has been presented annually since 1992, when it was given to Primal Scream for Screamadelica.

This year's award winner will be announced on 8 September - with coverage on both BBC Two and BBC 6 Music.



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