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Last Updated: Tuesday July 21 2009 13:12 GMT

Best albums of the year announced

La Roux

Chart toppers La Roux are among the music acts hoping to win the Mercury Prize, which is awarded to the best British or Irish album of the year.

Florence and the Machine, Kasabian and Bat for Lashes are also hoping to pick up the trophy.

Elbow were the surprise winners in 2008, with their fourth album The Seldom Seen Kid.

This year's winner will be announced on 8 September and they'll take home a winner's cheque for £20,000.

Mercury Prize nominees
Florence and the Machine
Florence And The Machine
La Roux
Bat For Lashes
Kasabian
Glasvegas
The Horrors
Friendly Fires
Speech Debelle
Lisa Hannigan
Sweet Billy Pilgrim
The Invisible
Led Bib

Bat For Lashes, Florence and the Machine and Kasabian are hot tips to win.

The prize is open to all styles of music and there are lots of acts on the list you might not have heard of.

Toilet seat

Tim Elsenburg from Sweet Billy Pilgrim seemed very surprised to get onto the shortlist. He said: "I was at work, fitting a toilet seat in Farnham, when I heard about the nomination."

The Mercury Prize is now in its 17th year. It's a big deal in the music world and winners often go on to sell lots of CDs and downloads.