It’s that award-y time of year again, and all the best British and Irish albums from the last twelve months have been assessed, and twelve have been deemed good enough to make it onto the Barclaycard Mercury Prize shortlist. Despite missing some key albums (Daughter’s If You Leave, These New Puritans’ Field of Reeds and former bookies’ favourite London Grammar with If You Wait), there are some gems on the list which show what a cracking year it has been for music – and it’s only September. While we’re seeing some bands on the list for the first time, Laura Marling, Foals, James Blake, Jon Hopkins, Villagers and David Bowie have all been nominated before, and Arctic Monkeys are former winners.

Arctic Monkeys – AM

Coming out only two days ago I suppose this is a little bit of a late entry, but it would have been a crime to leave the latest offering from one of our generation’s best bands. Catchy tunes, incredible lyrics and some of the finest fashion choices of the year, Arctic Monkeys are going to be a strong contender.

David Bowie – The Next Day

When one of our greatest children (actor; singer; looks great in tights) releases an album at 66, you listen. And you keep listening. It’s been a great year for Bowie, and The Next Day, his first album in ten years, picked up number 1s and 2s world wide, and a hefty amount of 5 star reviews. Last time our Bowie was nominated he was bested by Ms. Dynamite, which is frankly one of the most ridiculous things I have ever heard.

Disclosure – Settle

We gave Settle 9/10, which alone should qualify it for a place on the shortlist. Apparently that isn’t how they do things at Mercury, but it still made it up there. There have been too many stellar debuts this year to count (I don’t want to count them), but this one is definitely deserving.

Foals – Holy Fire

Foals have always been at their best live, so I think their inclusion alone makes registering for theAlbums of the Year Live series. That said, they have also come out with some amazing studio work, and we’ve had ‘My Number’ on repeat since it came out more or less.

Jake Bugg – Jake Bugg

I had a bit forgot this would count, what with the release being in October of 2012, but any release after the prior award shortlisting comes out is eligible, and so Jake Bugg’s slamming eponymous LP with its copious amounts of hit tracks and quirky pronunciations has made the top 12. I don’t see it winning, but I’m happy it’s there.

James Blake – Overgrown

We described ‘Retrograde’ as “quite possibly his most accomplished work to date”, and for good reason. Hard work and many a synth has paid off for Blake, who has been wildly successful in 2013.

Jon Hopkins – Immunity

Critically acclaimed electro masterpiece Immunity is Hopkins’ forth solo studio album, and first solo nomination to the prize. Imogen Heap’s former keyboardist is making a lovely little (big) name for himself.

Laura Marling – Once I Was An Eagle

We would have liked to see a couple more of our talented ladies on the list, but we’re glad Marling, Mvula and Savages have made it in. Queen of folk since 2006, her Ethan Johns’ produced ’13 album is smashing.

Laura Mvula – Sing To The Moon

Laura Mvula is a fantastic act with some of the best vocals of the year. Her singing speaks entirely for itself.

Rudimental – Home

Another number 1 debut album, Hackney based Rudimental’s Home featured a few appearances from Emeli ‘I get around nearly as much as Paul McCartney’ Sandé.

Savages – Silence Yourself

Without doubt one of the year’s best debuts, despite the questionable font choices.

Villagers – {Awayland}

Domino’s third shortlist album, and the list’s only Irish contender, topped the Irish album chart when it was released in January. Their debut was also nominated, being described by the Mercury folk as “a record of great charm and mystery.”

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