Mercury Prize 2011: The nominees

A look at the 12 acts nominated for this year's £20,000 Mercury Prize which will be announced on 6 September.

Adele - 21

Adele - 21
  • Highest chart position: 1

Adele's nomination is the latest in a series of headline-grabbing achievements this year.

Currently the UK's number one, 21 has spent 17 weeks at the top of the UK charts, including a run of 11 weeks in a row - the longest by a female artist.

In its 25 weeks on the UK chart, it has spent the other eight at number two and has shifted 2.6m copies in the US.

Her debut album 19 - which recharted in the top five this year - was nominated in 2008 when it was beaten by Elbow.

Read more about Adele

Katy B - On a Mission

Katy B - On a Mission
  • Highest chart position: 2

Brit school graduate Katy B's chart-friendly dance album, released in August last year, has spawned hit singles including Broken Record.

The singer, 22, says it tells tales of "nights out, the experiences of being a young woman in London dealing with love and friendship".

The number two album was described in a review by the Independent as "a debut album of subtle, mature, intelligent electronic pop".

"A modern pop classic," it adds.

Read more about Katy B

James Blake - James Blake

James Blake - James Blake
  • Highest chart position: 9

A classically-trained pianist who studied popular music at Goldsmiths University, James Blake made his name as a dubstep DJ, producer and remixer.

With his self-titled debut album, he is one of a number of artists driving dubstep into new territory with his minimalist, noir soundscapes.

He came to the fore with a stripped-bare cover version of Feist's Limit To Your Love last November.

That helped him make second place on the BBC's Sound of 2011 list.

Read more about James Blake

Anna Calvi - Anna Calvi

Anna Calvi - Anna Calvi
  • Highest chart position: 40

Calvi channels the glamour, drama and romance of Maria Callas or Edith Piaf and adds the gothic sweep of PJ Harvey and the classic twang of Duane Eddy.

The debut album was produced by Rob Ellis, a long-term collaborator of PJ Harvey and Calvi says it explores "intimacy, passion and loneliness".

She already has some heavyweight fans, including Brian Eno and Nick Cave.

With trademark red silk shirt and blood red lipstick, her individual style could appeal to the Mercury judges.

Read more about Anna Calvi

King Creosote & Jon Hopkins - Diamond Mine

King Creosote & Jon Hopkins - Diamond Mine
  • Highest chart position: n/a

These two understated luminaries of alternative music have united to make a pastoral portrait of life in a Fife coastal village.

Scottish songwriter King Creosote, real name Kenny Anderson, has chosen seven songs from his 40-album back catalogue to reinterpret.

They are arranged by Jon Hopkins, who has worked with Brian Eno and Coldplay.

The album was described by The Independent as "a quietly poignant but powerfully life-affirming song-cycle".

Read more about King Creosote

Elbow - Build A Rocket Boys!

Elbow - Build A Rocket Boys!
  • Highest chart position: 2

Elbow achieved the rare feat of being almost universally popular winners when they scooped the Mercury with The Seldom Seen Kid in 2008.

The follow-up, Build A Rocket Boys, is the Bury quintet's fifth full album, and features the Halle Youth Choir.

Singer Guy Garvey said the Mercury win allowed them to make it "with an air of excitement and confidence", adding that it was their easiest album to make.

But the Mercury judges may prefer not to go for the same band again so soon.

Read more about Elbow

Everything Everything - Man Alive

Everything Everything - Man Alive
  • Highest chart position: 17

The Manchester-based band received a huge boost in April when they earned two surprise Ivor Novello nods for the track MY KZ, UR BF and their album.

This was despite the song failing to hit the top 40.

The band's distinctive sound is characterised by singer Jonathan Higgs' falsetto acrobatics.

A BBC review praised the band for their tales of "teenage terrorists, war, homicidal lovers and the human condition - they leap and crackle".

Read more about Everything Everything

Ghostpoet - Peanut Butter Blues and Melancholy Jam

Ghostpoet - Peanut Butter Blues and Melancholy Jam
  • Highest chart position: n/a

Ghostpoet is London-based Coventry rapper and producer Obaro Ejimiwe who counts Roots Manuva and Tricky among his contemporaries.

A BBC review described his debut album Peanut Butter Blues and Melancholy Jam - released on DJ Gilles Peterson's Brownswood Recordings - as travelling in a "genuinely unique direction".

"Attempts to slot it into established scenes prove... fruitless," it added.

The Streets' Mike Skinner says he is one of the UK's finest prospects.

PJ Harvey - Let England Shake

PJ Harvey - Let England Shake
  • Highest chart position: 8

PJ Harvey was the first female Mercury winner in September 2001 with Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea. She was also nominated in 1993 and 1995.

Let England Shake was adored by critics and is described by the Guardian as "a richly inventive album that's unlike anything else" in the back catalogue of "a woman at her creative peak".

Song topics include World War I, the conflict in Iraq and future apocalypse.

She has played the title track in front of Gordon Brown on The Andrew Marr Show.

Read more about PJ Harvey

Metronomy - The English Riviera

Metronomy - The English Riviera
  • Highest chart position: 28

The English Riviera is the third studio album from electronic four-piece Metronomy who were formed in Devon in 1999. Their first, Pip Paine (Pay the £5000 You Owe), was released in 1996.

The Guardian praised the album for piling on "ambling good vibes and darts of sweet synths".

The Telegraph said the band took a leaf from Steely Dan and Fleetwood Mac.

Lead singer Joseph Mount has also remixed artists including Franz Ferdinand, Klaxons and Goldfrapp.

Read more about Metronomy

Gwilym Simcock - Good Days at Schloss Elmau

Gwilym Simcock - Good Days at Schloss Elmau
  • Highest chart position: n/a

Thirty-year-old pianist Gwilym Simcock is a jazz musician who draws heavily on his classical training and influences.

Simcock was taught to play by his father, a church organist.

He took a jazz degree at the Royal Academy of Music in London before being made the first jazz artist to be part of BBC Radio 3's New Generation scheme.

Good Days At Schloss Elmau, his first album as a solo performer, was recorded at the luxury Bavarian resort of that name and was hailed as "mesmerizing" by Time Out.

Read more about Gwilym Simcock

Tinie Tempah - Disc-Overy

Tinie Tempah - Disc-Overy
  • Highest chart position: 1

Tinie Tempah told the BBC News website ahead of the release of Disc-Overy he was anxious "because this album will be what the world hears and judges me on".

He needn't have worried.

The double platinum success of the album - which spawned singles including Pass Out and Frisky - helped him to Brits and Ivors successes.

It also helped earn him a Saturday spot on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury this year where he also appeared last year as a guest of Snoop Dogg.

Read more about Tinie Tempah

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