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Bat For Lashes, Glasvegas & The Other Mercury Prize Nominees

The New Now

It's nice to feel validated and that's the way we over at The New Now feel about the recently announced Mercury Prize nominees. The award, established in 1992 by the British Phonographic Industry and British Association of Record Dealers as an alternative to the more conservative Brit Awards, honors the best album from the U.K. and Ireland on an annual basis. This year's noms include two acts that have been featured in exclusive Yahoo! Music performances and interviews--Bat For Lashes and Glasvegas--for their Two Suns and self-titled album, respectively. You can take a look back at those performances by clicking through the links in their names.

Also nominated were previous subjects of this blog La Roux for her self-titled effort, Florence & the Machine for Lungs, and the Horrors for Primary Colours. Click through each artists name for a look back at those entries. But rather than merely retrace our own footsteps, we're going to use this entry to look at the other seven Mercury Prize nominees that we haven't spotlighted.

Friendly Fires -- This trio of blokes St. Albans, Hertfordshire created a buzz even before they issued their self-titled album in September 2008. Upon the release of said album, the trio issued a statement which read: "These 37 minutes of music is the end product of two years' inspiration, frustration, toil and passion. We set out to merge heartfelt, romantic songwriting with our love of the dancefloor and blissful shoegaze guitars." See for yourself if they were able to accomplish such lofty goals in this clip for "Skeleton Boy," a track from the band's eponymous titled debut.

Kasabian -- These Brit rockers have been around since the turn of the century (boy, that makes 'em sound old), but in reality, they're still a fairly new act with their third and latest effort, West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum, snaring a nod from the Mercury Prize. Oasis' Noel Gallagher is a huge fan and for its latest album, the band recruited Dan The Automator--known for his work with Gorillaz--to produce. Check out the clips for the band's "Underdog" and "Fire," both from the nominated album, below.

Led Bib -- I'd like to think this band is named for the accessory members of the mighty Led Zeppelin might wear to catch their drool as they approach senior citizenship, but that's probably not the case. The U.K. press has called the Walthamstow-based quintet the "token jazz" nominee and an "eccentric" "leftfield" entry. All that sounds groovy to me. The band is offering a free download of the track "Yes, Again" from its Mercury Prize-nominated third album, Sensible Shoes, here. And, you can watch this clip of the band mixing it up live from the Front Room in London, below.

Lisa Hannigan -- This Irish songstress has been embraced by none other than Stephen Colbert of Comedy Central's Cobert Report. Like Bell X1, she was affiliated with Damien Rice, but has since gone her own way with her 2008 effort Sea Sew garnering a spot on the Mercury Prize shortlist. Here's her utterly charming clip for "I Don't Know," a track from Sea Sew.

Speech Debelle -- This British female MC is another leftfield entry with her debut album Speech Therapy, but it's not unheard of for the Mercury Prize voters to go outside the box and celebrate a new hip-hop artist as they did in 2002 and 2003 when Ms. Dynamite and Dizzee Rascal, respectively, took the prize. Check out the clip for Debelle's "The Key," a track from Speech Therapy, below.

Sweet Billy Pilgrim -- This trio, named for the protagonist in Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse 5, reportedly records and produces its music in a garden shed using only acoustic instruments, a laptop and a single microphone. Nonetheless, Brit music magazines Mojo and Uncut have hailed their 2009 effort, Twice Born Men, culminating with the Mercury Prize nomination. An added note, two-thirds of the trio moonlights in the Boy Least Likely To's touring ensemble. Check out the stunning clip for "There Will It End" from Twice Born Men.

The Invisible -- Another trio, but this London-based unit draws influences from the London jazz and fusion scene of which leader Dave Okumu was once a member. Some wags have tagged this band as the British version of TV On The Radio. Decide for yourself after viewing this live performance of "Monster's Waltz," a track from the band's self-titled album.

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