Coldplay are up for this year's Mercury prize alongside debut acts such as Kaiser Chiefs, M.I.A and Bloc Party, it was announced today.
But as well as huge global names - Coldplay's X&Y sold close to 500,000 copies in its first week on sale in the UK - the shortlist includes no fewer than eight debut albums, among them Kitty Jay by Seth Lakeman, a folk artist from Dartmoor who released the album on his own Devon-based record label.
Other debut offerings include albums from Newcastle guitar band Maximo Park, Scottish singer-songwriter KT Tunstall and British-Sri Lankan M.I.A., otherwise known as Maya Arulpragasam.
The Kaiser Chiefs' own debut, Employment, is the bookmakers' favourite to take the £20,000 prize, currently rated as 4/1 favourites.
But bookies were predicting a tight race. "It's a very close year - every album could be a winner," said William Hill spokesman Graham Sharpe.
Commenting on the shortlist - whittled down from 170 entries - chair of the judges Simon Frith said: "The renaissance in British music continues with the emergence of a wealth of new talents, demonstrated by the presence of eight debut albums.
"It's also significant that the country's musical excellence includes such contrasting releases as Coldplay's worldwide number one hit album and Seth Lakeman's self-released folk record - I'm pleased that both have a place on the same shortlist."
The 2004 winners were Glasgow art pop group Franz Ferdinand, who scooped the £20,000 prize under the noses of their fellow Scots Belle and Sebastian. This year's winner will be announced on September 6, with a show broadcast live on BBC radio and TV.
The shortlist in full
· Antony and the Johnsons - I Am A Bird Now
· Bloc Party - Silent Alarm
· Coldplay - X&Y
· The Go! Team - Thunder, Lightning, Strike
· Hard-Fi - Stars of CCTV
· KT Tunstall - Eye to the Telescope
· Kaiser Chiefs - Employment
· The Magic Numbers - The Magic Numbers
· Maximo Park - A Certain Trigger
· M.I.A. - Arular
· Polar Bear - Held on the Tips of Fingers
· Seth Lakeman - Kitty Jay
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