RAPPERS Dave, Slowthai and Little Simz, and rock groups IDLES, The 1975 and Foals are among those shortlisted for the Mercury Prize.
Some 12 albums have been named Albums Of The Year by a panel of judges that includes grime star Stormzy and singers Jamie Cullum and Gaz Coombes, and are in the running for the prestigious accolade.
Dave’s debut album Psychodrama has been chosen, along with Slowthai’s debut Nothing Great About Britain and Little Simz’s third record Grey Area.
IDLES’ Joy As An Act Of Resistance, Foals’ Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost — Part 1 and The 1975’s A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships are all up for the prize.
The other shortlisted artists are Anna Calvi for her record Hunter, Black Midi for Schlagenheim, Cate Le Bon for Reward, Fontaines D.C. for Dogrel, Nao for Saturn and Cassie Kinoshi’s group Seed Ensemble for Driftglass.
The judges said: ‘This year’s Hyundai Mercury Prize celebrates both the striking diversity of British and Irish music-makers and their shared purpose in exploring issues of identity and belonging at a time of division and disagreement.
‘All this is done with music of passion, wit, insight, ambition and heart-stirring optimism!’
Dave’s album was praised by the judges as a ‘powerful and astutely crafted memoir of Dave’s life and our times. Unflinching, graceful and deeply moving’ while The 1975’s record was hailed as ‘thrilling and thoughtful, eccentric and electric’.
Little Simz’s offering was described as ‘rap as self-reflection, vulnerability as power’. They praised her ‘expert wordplay and sinuous flow set against subtle use of live accompaniment’, adding it was ‘poignant and implacable’.
The judges praised Seed Ensemble’s composer, arranger and saxophonist Cassie Kinoshi and her ‘exuberant’ ten-piece band for ‘effortlessly combining homage to jazz history and celebration of today’s London jazz scene,’ adding it was ‘rousing and inspiring’.
Geoff Taylor, chief executive of BPI, which represents the UK’s recorded music industry and is home to the Hyundai Mercury Prize, said: ‘These 12 albums are essential listening!
‘Our outstanding expert panel has selected the most original, urgent and ambitious British and Irish records of the last twelve months, and I’ll be on tenterhooks with everyone else to find out the final Album of the Year when the judges meet again during the live show on September 19th.’