With the actual Mercury Prize shortlist being announced tomorrow (Friday, October 16th), we decided to put together an alternative – because why not, and also because the nominees for the Mercury Prize are traditionally a mix of obvious and why-are-they-in-there (with exceptions, of course: we're not total cynics). We believe that it should be for purveyors of new and exciting music and that's why we've drawn up our own shortlist of whom we believe to be purveyors of new and exciting music.

As with the real nominees, the rules are: albums must be by British and/or Irish artists, with a UK physical release date between Tuesday 9th September 2014 and Friday 25th September 2015 (that's inclusive of the day itself). They must also be available to buy on CD in the UK as well as digitally.

We'll be announcing our winner – chosen by The 405's editorial team – on 19th November, a day before the real Mercury Prize winner is announced. What does the winner get? Aside from a shot of pride and recognition, the winner will also receive a cool (tacky-looking) trophy that we purchased for the occasion (from eBay). It's the thought that counts.

  • 1. Gazelle Twin - Unflesh (Last Gang Records)
  • 2. C. Duncan - Architect (Fat Cat Records)
  • 3. Little Simz - A Curious Tale of Trials + Persons (AGE 101)
  • 4. Girl Band - Holding Hands with Jamie (Rough Trade)
  • 5. Blue Daisy - Darker Than Blue (R&S Records)
  • 6. Romare - Projections (Ninja Tune)
  • 7. Du Blonde - Welcome Back to Milk (Mute)
  • 8. Blanck Mass - Dumb Flesh (Sacred Bones)
  • 9. Zun Zun Egui - Shackles' Gift (Bella Union)
  • 10. Georgia - Georgia (Domino Records)