The Mercury Prize 2013: our shortlist predictions

Here are the 12 albums we're gunning for, plus the 12 albums we think are a dead cert for the panel's pick

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It’s Mercury time! Every September, a secret panel of music industry execs and journalists – and even some actual musicians – sit down and decide on their favourite album from the past 12 months. The Mercury Prize can only be awarded to a record from the UK or Ireland, and has a reputation for favouring quirky, outside choices (except for the year that M People beat Blur, obviously). Previous winners include The XX, Portishead, Dizzee Rascal and Arctic Monkeys, and there’s usually a significant sales boost for the panel’s favourite album. This year, the 12-album shortlist has now been announced. Here are the albums we would have picked for the shortlist, and the albums we thought the panel would go for...

  1. Who we'd most like to see shortlisted
  2. Who we think the panel will pick

And those most likely to be on the shortlist...

  • Foals

    ‘Holy Fire’

    The Oxford band step up their game on their third album: it’s funkier, heavier, dreamier, proggier, bigger and more ambitious than anything they’ve done before. Their last record got a Mercury nomination – can they go all the way this time?

    Read our full review of ‘Holy Fire’

    Read our interview with Foals

    Listen to 'Holy Fire':

    Foals
  • Laura Marling

    ‘Once I Was An Eagle’

    Even though Mumford & Son’s mighty ‘Babel’ is in contention, we think the panel will pick their former boss and her complex and intimate jazz-folk triumph instead.

    Read our full review of ‘Once I Was An Eagle’

    Listen to 'Once I Was An Eagle':

    Laura Marling
  • Bastille

    ‘Bad Blood’

    If you’re after solid pop with an arty edge, ‘Bad Blood’ delivers in spades: it was the first Number One debut album by a British band in three years, and the track list includes songs about ‘Twin Peaks’ and Pompeii. This must be in the running.

    Listen to 'Bad Blood':

    Bastille
  • Nancy Elizabeth

    ‘Dancing’

    After Sam Lee last year, we reckon the Mercury folkie nod will go to Mancunian singer-songwriter Elizabeth. The synth-powered ballads on her third album, ‘Dancing’, multiply her lovely voice into a sweeping choir.

    Read our full review of ‘Dancing’

    Listen to 'Dancing':

    Nancy Elizabeth
  • Rudimental

    ‘Home’

    Drawing on everything from garage to D&B, this was a pop-shaped tribute to the many sounds of the British underground. Leaving this one off the list would be as unpatriotic as breaking wind.

    Read our full review of ‘Home’

    Listen to 'Home':

    Rudimental
  • London Grammar

    ‘If You Wait’

    Sneaking in just under the September deadline is the debut from this fast-rising alternative pop trio. They occupy the same space as AlunaGeorge but their Florence-esque cinematic sweep might just give them the edge.

    Read our review of ‘If You Wait’

    London Grammar
  • Melt Yourself Down

    ‘Melt Yourself Down’

    Some of London’s top jazz freaks come together to rip through funk, punk, Afrobeat, post-jazz and more. There’s usually at least one jazz album on the Mercury shortlist, and MYD’s honking, white-knuckle thrash is a strong contender.

    Listen to 'Melt Yourself Down':

    Melt Yourself Down
  • Laura Mvula

    ‘Sing To The Moon’

    One of the dreamiest things to come out of Birmingham since, well, ever, this young singer’s orchestral debut is mellow enough for mum yet as finely constructed as anything from the last year.

    Listen to 'Sing To The Moon':

    Laura Mvula
  • Savages

    ‘Silence Yourself’

    We called it the best British debut of the year, and ‘Silence Yourself’ hasn’t got any less powerful since its release in May. Savages’ thrilling, dark and noisy clatter nods to post-punk, no-wave and noise rock, but their ferocity is entirely their own.

    Read our full review of ‘Silence Yourself’

    Listen to 'Silence Yourself':

    Savages
  • Steve Mason

    ‘Monkey Minds in the Devil's Time’

    Mixing up soaring folk, creepy electronica and soul, Mason’s latest album is as eclectic as anything the former Beta Band man has done, and includes some of his strongest songs. Time for a long-overdue Mercury hat-tip?

    Listen 'Monkey Minds in the Devil's':

    Steve Mason
  • David Bowie

    ‘The Next Day’

    He didn’t tour the record – he didn’t even come over to see his own exhibition at the V&A. It’s unlikely therefore that His Daveness is going to get on a plane just to be presented with a short stumpy trophy. Nevertheless, this magnificent slab of rock deserves a nomination, regardless of whether he’ll turn up or not.

    Read our full review of ‘The Next Day’

    Listen to 'The Next Day':

    David Bowie
  • Disclosure

    ‘Settle’

    The Mercury panel don’t have a great track record with dance music, but there would have to be a serious clerical error for them to overlook the debut LP by deep house-lovin’ brothers Howard and Guy Lawrence. ‘Settle’ is Time Out’s tip to win the thing.

    Read our full review of ‘Settle’

    Read our interview with Disclosure

    Listen to 'Settle':

    Disclosure

Foals

‘Holy Fire’

The Oxford band step up their game on their third album: it’s funkier, heavier, dreamier, proggier, bigger and more ambitious than anything they’ve done before. Their last record got a Mercury nomination – can they go all the way this time?

Read our full review of ‘Holy Fire’

Read our interview with Foals

Listen to 'Holy Fire':

Think we've missed something? Let us know your Mercury predictions in the comments box below or tweet us at @TimeOutMusic.

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