The nominees for this year’s Mercury Prize were announced in London on Thursday morning and it's a solid, if unremarkable, list. King Krule is on there for his excellent second album The Ooz, while Jorja Smith’s unstoppable rise is rewarded with a nod for her debut Lost & Found. Grime is represented by DIY king Novelist while XL Recordings boss Richard Russell’s Everything Is Recorded, which features contributions from Giggs, Sampha, and more, also features. There’s plenty of gold on the list, but obviously the judges couldn’t include every great British album of the past 12 months. So here are 12 more albums worthy of a nomination in alphabetical order.
1. Bicep, Bicep
Feel the nostalgia rush of ‘90s club culture courtesy of Northern Ireland duo Bicep’s debut album. Their mix of house, techno, disco, and jungle is eclectic and always aimed at the dancefloor.
2. Charli XCX, POP 2
Charli’s inventive masterpiece was released as a mixtape but was eligible for this year’s Mercury. How can you not include something with “Track 10” on your best albums list?
3. Goat Girl, Goat Girl
South London band Goat Girl’s debut single was called “Country Sleaze,” which gives you a hint of their guttural and swaggering approach to guitar music.
4. Hookworms, Microshift
Hookworms’s third album saw the Leeds-based band move away from the hazy swirl of psych-rock and embrace their sensitive side in their most ambitious album to date.
5. Kamaal Williams, The Return
London contemporary jazz ensemble Kamaal Williams, led by Henry Wu, make warm and synth-heavy jams that have burst out of the city’s underground scene.
6. Let's Eat Grandma, I’m All Ears
Teens Rosa Walton and Jenny Hollingworth freaked it on their second album, bringing producers including SOPHIE into the mix for a creepy sugar-rush of a pop album underpinned by memorable hooks.
7. Nabihah Iqbal, Weighing Of The Heart
Ditching her Throwing Shade moniker and the club-facing music she made with it, Nabihah Iqbal instead crafted an album of delicate dreampop inspired by her love of The Cure and Joy Division.
8. Nines, Crop Circle
An album so good they carved its name into a crop field in Scotland.
9. Shame, Songs of Praise
Shame’s post-punk rallying cries against the Conservative government and their austerity politics have made them cult heroes in Brexit Britain.
10. SOPHIE, Oil Of Every Pearl’s Un-Insides
11. Young Fathers, Cocoa Sugar
Young Fathers won the Mercury Prize in 2014 but Cocoa Sugar is arguably their strongest album to date and definitely has the most frame-worthy artwork.
12. Zara McFarlane, Arise
McFarlane is another star of London’s popping jazz scene. The Nina Simone influence is strong on her third album which features contributions from Moses Boyd and Mercury nominee Shabaka Hutchings.