Kings of Leon will go head to head with music legend Bob Dylan in a battle to find the year’s best album.
The eight-album list for the Uncut Music Award – an international equivalent of the Mercury Music Prize, judged by figures such as Radio 2’s Mark Radcliffe and Fleet Foxes star Robin Pecknold – is dominated by US acts.
Among the acclaimed albums competing for the prize, created by leading UK music magazine Uncut and now in its second year, are releases by Wilco, Animal Collective and Grizzly Bear.
Only one act – Tinariwen from Mali – comes from beyond the US.
The shortlisted albums are:
:: Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavilion
:: Bob Dylan – Together Through Life
:: Dirty Projectors – Bitte Orca
:: Grizzly Bear – Veckatimest
:: Kings of Leon – Only By The Night
:: The Low Anthem – Oh My God Charlie Darwin
:: Tinariwen – Imidiwan: Companions
:: Wilco – Wilco
Nationality, age and sales figures are irrelevant to the judging panel which also includes Absolute Radio DJ Christian O’Connell, Radio 2’s Bob Harris, Billy Bragg, Stiff Records founder Dave Robinson and BPI chairman Tony Wadsworth.
Allan Jones, Uncut’s editor, said: “It was difficult enough to pick eight albums from our original long-list of 25, and the task now of choosing a winner and runner-up from our short-list is going to be even more daunting. Every one of these albums would make a worthy winner.”
Breakfast show host O’Connell said: “All of them punch above their weight and show what a great year it’s been for real music. It’s going to be some job picking just one winner. The downside is that none were up for payola.
“I had hoped being a judge would see me taking some backhanders, but nothing. I called Kings of Leon saying how nice it would be to see them make the shortlist. They agreed. Then I said how nice a new 48-inch TV would be for me. They hung up.”