The Barclaycard Mercury Prize for Albums of the Year celebrates and promotes the best of British and Irish music.
And with this year's prize nominees announced just this morning, here's how the judging panel rate each of the 2009 entrants:
Florence + the Machine - Lungs
Florence + the Machine is singer-songwriter Florence Welch. She grew up in South London, where she attended the Camberwell School of Art. 'Lungs' was certified Gold in the week of its release in July 2009. It features the singles 'Kiss with a Fist', 'Dog Days Are Over' and 'Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)'.
'Lungs is a bold and exciting showcase for a maverick new voice on the British music scene. A work of art and power.'
Kasabian - West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum
Kasabian are a four-piece band from Leicester, who formed in 1999. 'West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum', their third album, reached number one in the UK charts on its release in June 2009. Produced by Sergio Pizzorno and Dan the Automator, the album includes live favourite 'Fire', the band's fourth top 10 single.
'Kasabian gleefully seize the psychedelic heights! Explosive songs that fill epic rock spaces with absolute authority.'
Speech Debelle - Speech Therapy
'Speech Therapy', the debut album by South Londoner Speech Debelle, was released in June 2009 by the influential Big Dada label. It features contributions from Micachu, Tunng's Mike Lindsay and label-mate Roots Manuva. The album includes the much-praised single 'The Key'.
'A remarkable new voice in British hip-hop, tough, warm and reflective. Wonderfully supple rhymes and beautifully subtle music.'
Friendly Fires - Friendly Fires
Friendly Fires are a three-piece band, comprising of Ed Macfarlane, Edd Gibson and Jack Savidge, who met at school in St. Albans, Hertfordshire, Their self-titled debut album was released in September 2008 on XL Recordings and includes the singles 'Jump in the Pool', 'Skeleton Boy' and 'Paris'.
'An exuberant, exhilarating album deftly fusing dance, rock and great
La Roux - La Roux
La Roux are singer Elly Jackson from South London and co-writer/co-producer Ben Langmaid. La Roux's debut album reached number two in the charts on its release in June 2009. It features the singles 'In For the Kill' and 'Bulletproof', which went to number one.
'Quicksilver synth-pop duo for our times. Every track unerringly hits its target!
Bat for Lashes - Two Suns
Released in April 2009, 'Two Suns' is the second album from Natasha Khan's Bat for Lashes. The multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter co-produced the album with Faultline's David Kosten. It features a duet with Scott Walker and includes the singles 'Daniel' and 'Pearl's Dream'.
'Beautifully crafted music of magic and intrigue. Ravishing songs of intimacy and imagination.'
The Horrors - Primary Colours
The Horrors are a five-piece band from Southend-on-Sea that formed in 2005. 'Primary Colours', their second album, was released in May 2009 on XL Recordings. The album was recorded in Bath and produced by the band, along with Portishead's Geoff Barrow. It features the singles 'Who Can Say' and 'Sea Within a Sea'.
'A remarkable second album! The Horrors have a thrilling new sonic palette and Primary Colours is an absorbing exploration of the art of melodic noise.'
Glasvegas - Glasvegas
Glasvegas are a four-piece band who formed in Glasgow in 2003. The band is fronted by James Allen, who wrote all the songs on their self-titled debut album, which reached number two in the UK charts on release in September 2008. Produced by Rich Costey and James Allen, it features the top 20 singles 'Geraldine' and 'Daddy's Gone'.
'The bitter sweet sounds of the classic rock 'n' roll return freshly minted in these gloriously elegiac anthems of contemporary life.'
Led Bib - Sensible Shoes
Formed in 2003, Led Bib are a London-based quintet of dual saxes, keyboards, bass and drums. 'Sensible Shoes' is the group's third album and was released by Cuneiform records in May 2009. An acclaimed live act, they recently performed as part of Ornette Coleman's Meltdown Festival in June 2009 at the Royal Festival Hall.
'Hard rock meets jazz virtuosity in a rollercoaster ride on this startling and irresistible album'.
Sweet Billy Pilgrim - Twice Born Men
Sweet Billy Pilgrim are a trio from Buckinghamshire, fronted by songwriter Tim Elsenberg and featuring Anthony Bishop and Alastair Hamer. 'Twice Born Men' is their second album and was released by David Sylvian's Samadhisound label in March 2009. They recently worked with fellow folk/electronic artist Adem on a commission for the BBC.
'Twice Born Men takes the listener into a strange, dislocated and compelling musical landscape. Magical and thrilling.'
The Invisible - The Invisible
The Invisible are London-based musicians Dave Okumu, Leo Taylor and Tom Herbert. They have lent their individual talents to the likes of Hot Chip, Polar Bear and Zongamin. This, their debut album, was released in March 2009 on Matthew Herbert's Accidental label. It features the singles 'Monsters Waltz' and 'London Girl'.
'Virtuoso club funk. The Invisible get into a deep and alluring groove that draws you in and won't let go!'
Lisa Hannigan - Sea Sew
Released in May 2009, 'Sea Sew' is the debut album by Dublin's Lisa Hannigan. She is perhaps best known for her collaborations with fellow Irish songwriter Damien Rice. 'Sea Sew, which has gone platinum in Ireland, is the first release on her own label, Hoop. It features the single 'I don't know'.
'Lisa Hannigan steps into the limelight with a set of exquisite acoustic songs. Haunting, addictive and enchanting.'
The deadline for entries for the 2009 Mercury Prize was 2nd June and the prize is to be awarded on 8th September. The Award Ceremony will be broadcast on BBC Two and the BBC's Mercury Prize site from 10pm.