Blur’s Damon Albarn, FKA twigs, Royal Blood lead Mercury Prize shortlist

This year's prestigious Barclaycard Mercury Prize is eschewing big names when it comes to shortlisting 2014's best albums from the UK, with former Blur and Gorillaz frontman Damon Albarn sharing space with newcomers and relatively obscure artists such as FKA twigs, Royal Blood, Bombay Bicycle Club, Nick Mulvey, and others.

“This year”s Barclaycard Mercury Prize shortlist confirms that these are fascinating times for UK music”, says Simon Frith, Chair of Judges. “There are seven outstanding debut albums here, and five records by more established artists, all pursuing exciting new directions.  What most impressed the judges was the inventive passion with which musicians explore music and emotional possibilities, refusing to be pinned down by rules or genre.”

The overall winner of the year will be revealed at the Barclaycard Mercury Prize Awards Show at the Roundhouse in London on Wednesday, October 29. 

Previous winners in recent years have included James Blake, Alt-J, PJ Harvey and the XX.

The 2014 Albums of the Year are:

Anna Calvi – One Breath
Bombay Bicycle Club – So Long, See You Tomorrow
Damon Albarn – Everyday Robots
East India Youth – Total Strife Forever
FKA twigs – LP1
GoGo Penguin – v2.0    
Jungle – Jungle    
Kate Tempest – Everybody Down
Nick Mulvey – First Mind
Polar Bear – In Each and Every One
Royal Blood – Royal Blood
Young Fathers – Dead