Plan B, Alt-J and The Maccabees lead the nominees for this year’s Barclaycard Mercury Prize.
The competition, which names the album of the year, also includes Sheffield troubadour Richard Hawley, soul singer Jessie Ware and BBC Sound Of 2012 winner Michael Kiwanuka. Completing the shortlist are Django Django, Lianne La Havas, Roller Trio, Field Music, Sam Lee and Ben Howard. The winner of the £20,000 prize will be announced on 1 November.
Last year, PJ Harvey became the first act to win the Mercury Prize twice, for her album Let England Shake, after previously winning in 2001. Eight of this year’s albums are debut releases, with Richard Hawley the only artist to have been nominated for the prize before.
Plan B, aka writer, director and actor Ben Drew, is the most recognisable name on the list, having scored several top 10 hits from soul-tinged 2010 album The Defamation Of Strickland Banks. His hard-hitting hip-hop record Ill Manors accompanies his film of the same name – a tale of life on the streets of London – and he is already joint favourite with Hawley to win the prize.