The 10 finalists shortlisted for the Choice music prize include the band Villagers, alternative rock group Fight Like Apes and singer-songwriter James Vincent McMorrow.
Others up for the accolade are albums by Wexford trio Adebisi Shank, Waterford group O Emperor, the Dublin band Halves and Northern Ireland’s Two Door Cinema Club. The album Chariot, by Dublin rockers The Cast of Cheers, is only available via download.
The shortlist was selected by a panel of 11 Irish music media professionals representing print, radio, online and TV. The winning album will be announced at the Choice music prize Live Event at Vicar Street, Dublin, on March 3.
The Choice music prize was established six years ago to highlight, promote and showcase the work of Irish artists. It focuses on the music and does not consider sales or airplay.
Previous winners include Julie Feeney (2005); The Divine Comedy (2006); Super Extra Bonus Party (2007); Jape (2008); and Adrian Crowley (2009).
The project is organised by David Reid, while Irish Times music writer/critic Tony Clayton-Lea is the chairman of a judging panel which includes DJs Ray Darcy, Michelle Doherty and Dave Fanning.
The winning act will receive €10,000, a prize fund which has been provided by the Irish Music Rights Organisation (IMRO) and the Irish Recorded Music Association (IRMA).
All of the shortlisted acts will also receive a specially commissioned award, courtesy of the Recorded Artists Actors & Performers Ltd (RAAP).
HMV’s Gennaro Castaldo said the nominee list was among the strongest in recent years.
“It has been another incredible year for Irish music,” he said.
“The Choice awards provide a great snapshot into Irish music and this year’s nominations show just how healthy it is.”
Commenting on the shortlist, Mr Castaldo said Villagers album Becoming A Jackal has already been nominated for the Mercury Prize and featured in many critics’ top 10 albums of 2010.
“Two Door Cinema Club have had a sharp rise to fame with celebrated festival performances and live shows characterising an energetic band with a great future ahead of them,” he continued.
“Fight Like Apes were nominated for their debut album but lost out to Jape.
“This year The Body of Christ And The Legs of Tina Turner was well received by fans and entered the Irish charts at number 3 when it was released.
“An interesting nomination comes in the shape of The Cast of Cheers, whose album was self-released but gained many fans and critical acclaim throughout 2010.
“As ever it will be the judges who get the final say when the prize is announced after each act performs on the night.”