Who'll be among the lucky longlist?
Andrew Trendell
14:53 3rd August 2016

It's that time of year again. The Mercury Prize nominees for 2016 are announced tomorrow (Thursday 4 October). A panel of experts and tastemakers come together to select a dozen of the finest albums released by UK artists in the past 12 months. 

Among them, one lucky winner will join the likes of Arctic Monkeys, Elbow, The xx and many more in having their record hailed above all others and going down in history. While we daresay there will be some obscure folk and wanky jazz in there, here are 15 of our favourite UK albums that really, really deserve to be among the nominations for the Mercury Prize, 2016.  

David Bowie - Blackstar

Bowie could have delivered a smattering glam-rock-lite hits, a pastiche of his past glories - but there would be no challenge in that. It's not in his nature to make the same record twice. One can't help but feel that this may have been part of his plan all along. If The Next Day was his bridge back on to the world stage, one can't help but feel that Blackstar is him again leaping sideways into the breach. This is a far more bold, artful and fulfilling affair. Never second guess Bowie. Tomorrow never knows, especially when it comes to an artist always with one foot in the future - even when he's saying goodbye. A Mercury win would be a perfect tribute to the last of his kind.  (Andrew Trendell)

Daughter - Not To Disappear

Where the stunning debut, If You Leave, tended to cloak itself in metaphor - burying the crux of its meaning behind dense forests, ice, and feral animals - Not To Disappear lays itself bare. "I have a dirty mind," sings Elena Tonra in opening track 'New Ways', "I need new ways to waste my time." It's not easy to find the poetry in such stark, unsexy sentiments - but somehow, Daughter manage it. (Alexandra Pollard)

Radiohead - A Moon Shaped Pool

While The King Of Limbs was a fairly skeletal affair from a band who admit that they were 'in transition', A Moon Shaped Pool sees the band land in their assumed destination - blooming around the bare roots that led them here, and breathing new air and life into the haunted claustrophobia of their last record. While there are echoes of all the highlights from across their legacy, album No.9 accentuates them all with an artfully controlled grandeur. For a band who have already come to both defy and define genre at every turn, having torn up the map of where music should lead them, Radiohead now take a turn down a previously untrodden, sumptuous garden path. Not that they have anything left to prove, but A Moon Shaped Pool is proof that they still have so much give.

Plus, Radiohead have never won the Mercury, which is insane. It's time that changed. (Andrew Trendell)

Anohni - Hopelessness

"Once I decided I was going to step away from those gossamer interior songs I’ve been used to writing,” Anohni (who previously performed as Antony & The Johnsons) said in a recent interview with Lenny, "and write something that was really direct, it was a tremendous relief.” ‘Direct’ is an understatement - Hopelessness explicitly takes on Obama, climate change sceptics, government surveillance and drone strikes - but it’s also achingly beautiful. In ‘Drone Bomb Me’, sung from the perspective of a young girl whose family have been killed in a drone strike, the girl begs to be taken too. "Blow me from the side of the mountain,” sings Anohni, in her quivering voice, "Blow my head off / Explode my crystal guts.” It’s an album of devastating impact. She's won it before, she deserves it again. (Alexandra Pollard)

Savages - Adore Life

With their second album, Savages sound is less abrasive and austere - but that's not to say they've lost any edge. They've simply adopted a new, more human form. Silence Yourself was the sound of a band first rushing from the trenches, eager and ready for battle. Adore Life is a more-rounded reflection of what it is to be human - and celebrating it. (Andrew Trendell)

The 1975 - I Like It When You Sleep For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It

Don't be fooled by the bubblegum sheen of some of the latest singles, this record is a trojan horse of weird and wonderful sounds. All in all, it's a record that owes itself as much to M83 as it does Madonna, as much to drugs and excess as feather-light touches. All in all, the eclecticism of this band is nothing short of remarkable. In a world of beige pop, we welcome this flourish of colour. Exceeding the national average, excelling in pop and smashing your expectations - accept nothing less from The 1975. (Andrew Trendell)

Suede - Night Thoughts

With an accompanying film, Suede have reimagined what it is to make an album - and stormed back with rekindled life and newfound sense of purpose. With a darkness in sound and poetic social imagery, they're back on fine form. Ultimately, Night Thoughts is one of the best albums of their career, it substantiates Suede as one of the most important British bands of all time - proving that they aren't losing their touch with age. Don't let this record pass you by, it's just too good. (Cai Trefor)

The Anchoress - Confessions Of A Romance Novelist

Pop-noir with a vengeance hand in hand with a love of literature, fiction and darkness going hand in hand and a knack for melody, The Anchoress, aka Catherine AD truly went through the mill in the years of heartache and mishap that went into this record, but the result was more than worth the wait. The record not only 'deconstructs normative ideas of love and romance', but features a track that 'ironically references a bedroom shrine to Margaret Thatcher' and takes in all accounts of love, lust and loss. There's an unparalleled depth to this record, don't let it pass you by. (Andrew Trendell)

MONEY - Suicide Songs

The Shadow Of Heaven was an utter triumph, and that thread of elegiac warmth that they launched back only runs through Suicide Songs and binds it with a grace and sense of totality. Utterly marvellous. (Andrew Trendell)

PJ Harvey - The Hope Six Demolition Project

It takes a special sort of artist to make “They’re gonna put a Walmart here” sound like a poetic call-to-arms. In lesser hands, the unobscured social commentary of Harvey’s ninth album might have rendered it a little tiresome - and its overly specific geographical references have certainly ruffled some feathers - but it’s an unflinchingly intriguing listen. (Alexandra Pollard)

Frightened Rabbit - Painting Of A Panic Attack

"It's about a monument being a place to go to remember something awful, which Painting Of A Panic Attack being a beautiful representation of something horrible," frontman Scott Hutchison told Gigwise of the title of their triumphant fifth album. As he spent years abroad dealing with alienation, anxiety and dealing with the pitfalls of being totally enveloped in a relationship, the record works to out those demons - but it doesn't wallow. It wades through the heartache, confusion and isolation to emerge with a vivid clarity, purpose and sense of self. Again, with fearlessly raw-nerved and often cripplingly honest snapshots of his life, this time the songs breathe with a lot more space. Just as intended, Painting Of A Panic Attack has become the destination - a beautiful monument to something painful. Building it was an act of colouring the world and processing life, and visiting it is a revelation. (Andrew Trendell)

Mogwai - Atomic

Fitting in the vein of their usual sonic landscapes and in-depth instrumental pieces, their latest work ties to the documentary Atomic: Living In Dread And Promise: a documentary of archive footage that deals with the horrors of the nuclear age from Hiroshima, through the Cold War right the way up to Fukishima . Mogwai are to be commended then for pretty much nailing the brief put in front of them. It's not a light topic and as a result its not a light album - you won't hear people whistling these songs walking down the street. But for this soundtrack it's exactly what was required and full credit to the band for rising to the occasion. This is an in-depth exploration of sonic landscapes, exploding the atom into every emotion. (Jon Bye)

Oscar - Cut & Paste

Oscar’s rich, baritone voice slices beautifully through his brand of scuzzy bedroom pop, adding just the right amount of heft to the songs' surfy, upbeat jauntiness. Marika Hackman pops up on album highlight ‘Only Friend’, while ‘Sometimes’ and ‘Daffodil Days’ pack a punch too. (Alexandra Pollard)

Editors - In Dream

By far the best album of their career, In Dream showcases a band who've evolved into something far more 'complete' than any preconceptions you have from their early work. From the sombre but scorching and cinematic opener'No Harm' to the stadium grace of 'Marching Orders' via the heavenly flow of 'Ocean Of Night' and the industrial stomp of 'Life Is A Fear', it is clear that Editors are now a band truly in a league of their own. There's a sky-reaching ambition of sound that celebrates everything, and couldn't be further from cartoon post-punk. There's a grace and compulsion that flows through every moment that only bands entering 'institution' territory can carry. Give them a bloody Mercury nomination. (Andrew Trendell) 

New Order - Music Complete

You can tell from the off with 'Singularity' that this is going to be the perfect listen for fans of all things New Order. With a Joy Division sense of menace and packed with that classic New Order infectious elegiac charm, it more than pays its dues to the past. However, there's a purpose to its energy, and a life that charges ever onwards. This is the sound very much of today. It is immediately made clear that New Order still matter.

'Restless', 'Plastic' along with 'Tutti Frutti' and 'Peope On The High Line' guested by La Roux's Elly Jackson are far from just an echoing of past glories - they add real substance for the present day. Most artists of their age can only dream of being able to inspire this much love by rolling off classics with the calibre of 'Bizarre Love Triangle', 'The Perfect Kiss' and the pristine, heartache and perfection of 'Temptation', but to compete with their own legacy with such aplomb speaks volumes. (Andrew Trendell)