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Page last updated at 10:42 GMT, Wednesday, 23 July 2008 11:42 UK
Mercury nominated bands speak out
by Kev Geoghegan
Radio 1 music reporter

Elbow
Elbow's album is one of the year's most critically praised records

Elbow singer Guy Garvey has admitted his band's Mercury prize nomination brings back some bad memories.

Elbow were nominated in 2001 for their debut, Asleep At The Back. The ceremony was held on 11 September, the same day as the terrorist attacks in the US.

Garvey said: "The day was overshadowed by the events in New York.

"But nevertheless, being nominated was great for us because it led a lot of people to our music. And it's usually a fantastic night."

That year, songwriter PJ Harvey won the award for her album Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea.

She was staying in a hotel in Washington DC which overlooked The Pentagon, which had been hit by one of the hijacked aeroplanes.

Seven years on, Elbow have another chance at taking home the prize and the 20,000 prize money for their fourth studio album, The Seldom Seen Kid.

They're up against artists like Radiohead, Adele and jazz band Portico Quartet.

Garvey told Radio 1's Huw Stephens that he's impressed with the quality of music in their year's shortlist.

British Sea Power interview

He said: "It's just an incredibly strong list, I've got most of the records on there which is not always the case with the Mercury prize."

Bookies have given Elbow odds of 6-1 to win but Garvey, who worked on a judging panel for the Ivor Novello songwriting awards this year, insists he has no idea who will get the prize when it's announced on 9 September.

He said: "You never know with the Mercury prize. I was a judge on the Ivors this year and it's such a complicated process to get to a winner because you end up getting really passionate about it.

"If it's anything like that, it's anyone's guess as to who wins.

"But I'd be really happy with Rachel Unthank, Laura Marling, British Sea Power, the Shadow Puppets or Radiohead."

Mercury favourites

The Last Shadow Puppets, along with Radiohead, are 5-1 joint favourites to win.

Radiohead have been nominated four times but have never won. This is the third nomination for the Shadow Puppets' Alex Turner who has won once with Arctic Monkeys but lost out last year to Klaxons.

His bandmate, Rascals frontman Miles Kane, told Huw Stephens how he found out about the nomination.

He said: "We're made up with it, it's exciting.

"A friend of mine gave me a text and management rang.

Laura Marling sings at Mercury launch

"Me and Al are chuffed with it. We just did a record because we'd started to write some tunes together and we're just pleased that people like it and it seems to have done well.

"We had a chat, he's away doing some rehearsing with the Monkeys."

And if the Shadow Puppets don't win in September, Kane has his money on Guy Garvey.

He said: "I really want to hear Neon Neon but the album that I do love is Elbow. I just can't stop listening to it, it's one of my favourite records at the moment."

R&B artist Estelle couldn't make the nominations launch in London because she is on promotional duties in Canada.

Speaking from Montreal, she told Newsbeat that she while she feels honoured to be included in the shortlist, she does not want to be written off as a token pop artist

Estelle
Estelle gets her first ever Mercury nomination

She said: "I'm happy it's being taken seriously because it was a serious album to me.

"Sometimes, when you have a pop song at number one, people think your work isn't serious. But the album is about more than just American Boy.

"So, I'm happy that people are seeing the album rather than just the single."

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