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Tuesday, 25 July, 2000, 13:43 GMT 14:43 UK
Coldplay head Mercury list
Coldplay
Coldplay's debut Parachutes is among the nominations
Newcomers Coldplay and former Verve frontman Richard Ashcroft are among the nominees for the 2000 Mercury Music Prize.

The shortlist of 12 albums was announced at London's Commonwealth Club, with Coldplay's debut Parachutes immediately installed as the bookmakers' favourite.

Other nominees include established dance act Leftfield for Rhythm and Stealth, garage pioneer MJ Cole and British/Asian crossover artist Nitin Sawhney.

Richard Ashcroft
A "fine songwriter": Former Verve frontman Richard Ashcroft

Half of this year's hopefuls have been selected for their debut albums.

The shortlist encompasses a broad cross-section of styles ranging from dance to folk, but there is only one specialist classical record - Nicholas Maw's Violin Concerto.

Judges' chairman Simon Frith said: With no obvious trends and fewer huge acts dominating the music scene, it means a wide open year for the Technics Mercury Music Prize.

"Plus we have half a dozen debut albums, an unexpected swirl of guitars, strings and soulful singer/songwriters and a strong of people making exhilarating new music."

'Elegant songs'

The judging panel felt Ashcroft's Alone With Everybody "confirmed his status as a fine songwriter", while Coldplay were described as having "elegant songs, classic guitars and gorgeous singing".

Nitin Sawhney
Nitin Sawhney's album has been critically-acclaimed

Former James Taylor Quartet musician Sawhney is nominated for the critically-acclaimed Beyond Skin, which narrowly missed out on being nominated last year.

His other projects have included producing for Sir Paul McCartney, writing for the latest BBC Proms season and co-writing and starring in the comedy Goodness Gracious Me.

Surprise omissions from this year's list include Moloko's hotly-tipped Things To Make and Do, Gabrielle's Rise and Exterminator by Primal Scream.

Bookmakers make Coldplay the 3/1 favourites, with Ashcroft and Leftfield both 4/1. Maw and Kathryn Williams are the rank outsiders at 20/1.

The Mercury Music Prize will be awarded during a ceremony at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London's Park Lane on 12 September.

Full list of nominations below:

Coldplay - Parachutes

Death In Vegas - The Contino Sessions

The Delgados -The Great Eastern

Doves - Lost Souls

Leftfield - Rhythm and Stealth

Kathryn Williams - Little Black Numbers

Helicopter Girl - How To Steal The World

MJ Cole - Sincere

Richard Ashcroft - Alone With Everybody

Nitin Sawnhey - Beyond Skin

Nicholas Maw - Violin Concerto

Badly Drawn Boy - The Hour of Bewilderbeast

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See also:

09 Jul 00 | New Music Releases
CD Review: Coldplay
25 Jun 00 | New Music Releases
CD Review: Richard Ashcroft
17 Jul 00 | Entertainment
Nitin's subversive sounds
16 Apr 00 | New Music Releases
CD Review: The Delgados
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