The Nationwide Mercury Prize is one of the most prestigious awards given in the U.K. to musicians. The prize is designed to recognize the 12 top albums released during the year by British or Irish artists and name one of the albums the "Album Of the Year." The prize is sponsored by Nationwide, a financial firm. The "Album Of the Year" award will be presented in early September. The 2006 list of 12 is as follows:
- Arctic Monkeys - Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not -
This debut album by the Arctic Monkeys became the fastest selling debut album ever in the UK. The first two singles went straight to #1 on the pop singles chart.
- Editors - The Back Room -
The Editors are one of the latest of a long line of post-punk influenced bands that present a dark and dramatic, but ultimately highly melodic, sound.
- The Guillemots - Through the Windowpane -
This album was just released in July, 2006 and includes catchy pop that leans to the avant garde.
- Hot Chip - The Warning -
Hot Chip plays electronic pop with a distinctively homemade feel to it.
- Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan - Ballad of the Broken Seas -
This album is a collaboration between Campbell, vocalist with Belle and Sebastian, and Lanegan, former leader of the Screaming Trees. Their music reveals a melancholy kind of beauty.
- Lou Rhodes - Beloved One -
Lou Rhodes is formerly part of the duo Lamb. This is an acoustic album recorded at the commune which Lou Rhodes now calls home.