LONDON (Reuters) - Rock bands The 1975 and Foals as well as rappers slowthai and Dave are among the 12 acts nominated for this year’s Mercury Prize, organizers of the British music award said on Thursday.
The annual 25,000-pound ($31,252) prize, which is seen as less mainstream than the BRIT Awards, shortlists a dozen albums of the year released by British and Irish acts in the UK.
This year’s chosen albums explore issues such as race, immigration and Brexit as well as mental health, solitude, and relationships.
“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,” the award judges said in a statement. “And all this is done with music of passion, wit, insight, ambition and heart-stirring optimism.”
The 1975 were nominated for their chart-topping album “A Brief Inquiry into Online Relationships”, which triumphed at this year’s BRITs and also won the band the coveted Songwriters of the Year prize at the Ivor Novello awards.
They will compete against Foals’ “Everything Not Saved Will be Lost – Part 1”, rock band Black Midi’s “Schlagenheim” and punk rock group IDLES’ “Joy as an Act of Resistance”.
The shortlist also includes slowthai’s “Nothing Great About Britain”, Dave’s “Psychodrama” and fellow rapper Little Simz’s “Grey Area”.
Other nominees include jazz piece SEED Ensemble for “Driftglass”, post-punk band Fontaines D.C. for “Dogrel” as well as singers Cate Le Bon and NAO and guitarist Anna Calvi for albums “Reward”, “Saturn” and “Hunter” respectively.
This year’s judging panel includes rapper Stormzy, jazz musician Jamie Cullum, and singer Jorja Smith among others that include journalists, broadcasters and DJs.
The Mercury Prize was first given out to rockers Primal Scream in 1992. Other past recipients include singers Benjamin Clementine and PJ Harvey, grime artist Skepta and last year’s winners, rock band Wolf Alice.
This year’s awards show will take place on Sept. 19 in London.
($1 = 0.7999 pounds)
Reporting by Marie-Louise Gumuchian; Editing by Mark Heinrich