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Plan B leads Mercury prize pack

By Nick Clark

Richard Hawley and Plan B are among the favourites for the Barclaycard Mercury Prize as high-profile groups including Coldplay were snubbed in a shortlist of mainly small-selling albums.

The 12-strong list includes eight debut albums. The prize is awarded to British and Irish musicians who have released albums in the past year.

As the best-known artist on the list, Plan B, was instantly installed as the favourite for his album Ill Manors. The judges called it a “brilliantly visceral soundtrack to ... a harsh picture of life on the underside of London in 2012”.

The prize will offer a chance of redemption for Richard Hawley for his album Standing at the Sky's Edge. Alex Turner of the Arctic Monkeys, whose record beat Hawley to the prize in 2006, said at the time: “Someone call 999, Richard Hawley's been robbed.” Alternative four-piece band Alt-J were nominated for An Awesome Wave, as was Jessie Ware and psychedelic quartet Django Django. Michael Kiwanuka, who won the BBC's Sound of 2012 in January, was also selected.

The Maccabees were nominated for Given to the Wild, their third album, with Sunderland band Field Music picked for their album Plumb. Lianne La Havas, Roller Trio and Ben Howard rounded off the list.

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