Mercury Prize 2015 nominees: Florence + The Machine and Jamie xx nominated but Blur and Laura Marling excluded

Aphex Twin and Wolf Alice are also among the 12 act shortlist with the winner announced on 20 November

Adam Sherwin
Friday 16 October 2015 10:29
Florence Welch wowed with her debut headline slot at Glastonbury last summer
Florence Welch wowed with her debut headline slot at Glastonbury last summer

Florence + The Machine and Jamie xx will compete to win this year’s Mercury Prize for the album of the year after Blur and Laura Marling were excluded from the shortlist.

Scroll to see the shortlist in full

The 2015 prize shortlist, revealed by Lauren Laverne on her BBC 6 Music show, could give Florence Welch, nominated for her debut Lungs in 2009, her first win, with How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful.

A Glastonbury headline appearance sealed the elevation of the Florence + The Machine’s expansive pop to the world’s biggest stages.

Jamie xx, a previous winner with The xx who has forged a parallel career as a dance DJ and producer, is nominated for In Colour, his first solo album, a collection which critics said worked equally well in a club setting and for listeners at home.

Reclusive electronic pioneer Aphex Twin’s "impressively timeless" Syro is included in the list. A collection of lush, detailed soundscapes, Syro was the first full new Aphex Twin album in 13 years.

Mercury Prize organisers are hoping that Richard James, who has recorded under the Aphex persona since the early 90s, will deliver a live performance at the awards show, which will beheld at the BBC Radio Theatre on Friday 20 November.

A shortlist which reflects the dominance of dubstep, electronica rap and more experimental forms over traditional indie rock finds room for My Love Is Cool, the debut album by Wolf Alice, the band fronted by Ellie Rowsell.

Two Britpop veterans are rewarded for their solo returns with Gaz Coombes formerly of Supergrass and club diva Róisín Murphy, ex-Moloko, making the list.

Mercury Prize shortlist in full

Syro - Aphex Twin

At Least For Now - Benjamin Clementine

Architect - C Duncan

Eska - Eska

How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful - Florence + The Machine

Matador - Gaz Coombes

Shedding Skin - Ghostpoet

In Colour - Jamie xx

Hairless Toys - Róisín Murphy

Are You Satisfied? - Slaves

Before We Forgot How To Dream - SOAK

My Love Is Cool - Wolf Alice

There are the usual notable exclusions. The Magic Whip, Blur’s chart-topping comeback album, released to widespread critical approval, is snubbed despite an appearance last year for Damon Albarn’s solo album.

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Marling’s run of three consecutive Mercury Prize nominations comes to an end with last year’s Short Movie failing to make the shortlist. Sleaford Mods, the splenetic electro-punk duo who broke into the Top 20 with Key Markets, are excluded although Kent punk duo Slaves, who offer a similarly angry alternative, are nominated for their debut album.

The shortlist, chosen from an entry of over 290 albums includes seven debut albums. The prize, first awarded in 1992 is believed to have run into financial difficulties after sponsors Barclaycard ended their association. Last year’s winners, Scottish rap trio Young Fathers, did not receive a major commercial boost from the prize, which has struggled in an era of declining album sales.

Lauren Laverne announced the shortlist on BBC Radio 6 Music. She says: “It’s always a really exciting moment when the Mercury’s shortlist is finally revealed. It’s the perfect snapshot of where music is right now and where it might be heading in the future. All this year’s nominees deserve their place so it will be thrilling to find out just who wins."

The Awards Show is to be held in the Radio Theatre in BBC Broadcasting House in London on Friday 20 November and will be hosted by Laverne.

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