Each year since 1992, a group of British critics and industry insiders award the Mercury Prize to the best British album of the year. The 2016 shortlist of nominees was announced on Thursday and include a wide-ranging group of artists including David Bowie and Radiohead.
Bowie received a posthumous nod for his Blackstar album, and Radiohead’s A Moon Shaped Pool earned the band a record fifth nomination (Thom Yorke and Co. have never won). Two grime LPs made the cut – Skepta’s Konnichiwa and Kano’s Made in the Manor – as did records from Laura Mvula, the 1975, Anohni and more.
In a statement, the judges suggested that the diverse group of albums shared important characteristics: “This is music to make sense of our unsettling times – heartfelt, angry, thoughtful and thrilling. The 2016 Hyundai Mercury Prize ‘Albums of the Year’ are marked by their musical ambitions, unexpected instrumentation and breathtaking arrangements.”
The release of the shortlist marks the first step in determining who wins the prize. The committee – which includes Jarvis Cocker, Radio 1’s Annie Mac and the singer Jessie Ware, according to the BBC – will winnow the list of 12 down to a smaller group of six albums. For the first time, one of these six will be determined by a popular vote. All citizens of the U.K. are eligible to cast a ballot on the Mercury Prize website.
The awards ceremony will be broadcast live on September 15th; whoever wins takes home £25,000. Last year, singer-songwriter Benjamin Clementine took the prize.
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2016 Mercury Prize Nominees
Bat For Lashes: The Bride
David Bowie: Blackstar
Jamie Woon: Making Time
Kano: Made in the Manor
Laura Mvula: The Dreaming Room
Michael Kiwanuka: Love & Hate
Radiohead: A Moon Shaped Pool
Savages: Adore Life
The 1975: I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it
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