Bat for Lashes - "Two Suns" (Parlophone/EMI)
"Two Suns" is the second album from alt-folk act Bat for Lashes, the brainchild of singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Natasha Khan. According to the Official Charts Co (OCC), it has sold 85,000 units since its top 5 U.K. release on April 6.
Since then, Khan and co. have spent much of its time on the road, with festival appearances including England's Glastonbury, Latitude and the forthcoming Bestival, as well as Lollapalooza in August. U.S. and Canadian dates will continue until Aug. 31. The act has also announced a string of autumn dates for the U.K., Oct. 1 to 20.
Florence and the Machine - "Lungs" (Island/Universal)
"Lungs," the debut album from Florence and the Machine -- aka South Londoner Florence Welch -- was certified gold (100,000 units shipped) just days after its July 6 release in the U.K. It has now sold 95,000 copies according to the OCC. The rush of posthumous Michael Jackson sales, however, pushed its predicted chart-topping result to No. 2.
The act is in the midst of a U.K. tour, with performances including Glastonbury, the forthcoming Reading and Leeds festival, and three dates at London's O2 Shepherds Bush Empire. Florence and the Machine was the recipient of the 2009 critics' choice award at the BRIT Awards, announced in February.
Friendly Fires - "Friendly Fires" (XL Recordings)
Electro-rock three-piece Friendly Fires achieved a top 40 U.K. chart entry for its debut, self-titled album in the U.K. on Sept. 1 2008. Since then, the OCC reports it has sold 100,000 units. The album is being re-released as an expanded edition with new single "Kiss of Life" on Aug. 31.
An unrelenting touring schedule has seen the band grace stages around Europe for much of the year, including Spain's Benicassim festival, the U.K.'s T in the Park, Ireland's Oxegen festival, the forthcoming Lollapalooza and support for Blur's sold-out Hyde Park concert July 2.
This month the band travels to Australia for its debut shows down under and in August will perform gigs in New York, Brooklyn and Canada.
Glasvegas - "Glasvegas" (Columbia/Sony)
Not many bands can provide a worthy chart challenge against Metallica on the eve of their debut album release. Arguably one of the most hyped bands of 2008, Glasvegas can, and did. The Glaswegian four-piece ultimately bowed out to the heavy metal legends, hitting No. 2 on Sept. 8 with its self-titled set. It has since sold 220,000 units.
A sold-out U.K. tour of September 2008 was followed by 15 more dates to end the year, including the rock band's biggest show to date at the 2,000-capacity O2 Shepherds Bush Empire in London. The band will support U2 on several dates next month and head to the States in September to tour with Kings of Leon.
Kasabian - "West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum" (Columbia/Sony)
Leicester rock outfit Kasabian returned June 8 with its third album, "West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum," which landed at No. 1 on the U.K. album charts and remained there for two weeks. Its single, "Fire," has become the band's fourth U.K. top 10, helping to fuel album sales to an already impressive 250,000 total.
Shortly after, the band appeared at Japan's Fuji Rock festival and returned to the U.K. for a string of headline and festival dates. This month, it plays a 3,000-capacity iTunes festival show at Camden's Roundhouse before delving into an arena tour that includes two dates at London's 12,500-capacity Wembley Arena.
La Roux - "La Roux" (Polydor/Universal)
Electro-pop duo La Roux reached No. 2 on the U.K. albums chart upon the release of its debut, self-titled album on June 29. Although its chart debut was hampered by Michael Jackson sales mania, the OCC reported "La Roux" actually led against the late pop star in the first 48 hours after release.
The album has so far produced two hit singles -- "In For the Kill" and "Bulletproof" -- the latter of which became the duo's first No. 1, and has now sold 110,000 copies in the U.K. The act continues its worldwide touring schedule with dates stretching from Australia to the U.S. and back to the U.K.
Speech Debelle - "Speech Therapy" (Big Dada)
Female hip-hop artist Speech Debelle, hailing from South London, is one of the lesser-known artists on the Mercury Music Prize list. Her debut album, "Speech Therapy," was released on June 1 in the U.K. but is yet to made an impact on the chart. It features contributions from Michachu and label-mate Roots Manuva, and has sold 2,000 copies to date.
Debelle would perhaps be more familiar to the European festival-goer, having filled her touring schedule with dates at events spanning the U.K., Croatia, Poland and the Netherlands this past summer.
Led Bib - "Sensible Shoes" (Cuneiform Records)
Lauded in the U.K. press yet largely unknown among the music-buying masses, London-based experimental jazz quintet Led Bib are perhaps the dark horse of the Mercury nominations list. Its third album, "Sensible Shoes," was released independently May 4 and was supported by a run of U.K. and Dutch live dates. The album has sold less than 1,000 copies to date.
Last month, the band performed at Ornette Coleman's Meltdown festival at London's Royal Festival Hall. Select jazz events and theater dates have been booked for the remainder of 2009.
Lisa Hannigan - "Sea Sew" (Hoop/Absolute)
Irish singer-songwriter Lisa Hannigan first came to the fore as a collaborator with fellow Irish musician Damien Rice, however "Sea Sew" is her first solo album. It was released independently on May 4 in the U.K., selling 15,000 to date according to the OCC, and has already reached platinum in Ireland.
Her commitment to live performance has been unwavering, with a seemingly endless stream of dates before, during and after her album release. These include a theater tour of the States, South by Southwest, a theater tour of the U.K. and festival dates such as Glastonbury.
Sweet Billy Pilgrim - "Twice Born Men" (Samadhisound)
Describing its music as "atmospheric art-pop," Sweet Billy Pilgrim is a trio from Buckinghamshire and "Twice Born Men" is its second album. It was released independently on June 22 in the U.K. and earned rave reviews in the press.
The album has sold less than 1,000 copies to date though it gets a full release in partnership with EMI Label Services on Aug. 3.
Recently, the band was commission by the BBC on a project with fellow electro-folk artist Adem. This summer, its diary is filled primarily with European festival dates, including the U.K.'s Big Chill and Scotland's Wickerman festival.
The Horrors - "Primary Colours" (XL Recordings)
Essex-born art-rock five-piece the Horrors returned on May 4 with a new record, "Primary Colours," which garnered a top 25 U.K. album peak and 15,000 sales according to the OCC. Produced by the band and Portishead's Geoff Barrow, it has so far seen the release of singles "Who Can Say" and "Sea Within a Sea."
Since April, the band has had a run of dates in the States and Europe, appearing at festivals such as Germany's Hurricane, Ireland's Oxegen and Scotland's T in the Park as well as supporting Nine Inch Nails for its three New York dates. In London, it played a 1,100-capacity show at Camden's Electric Ballroom.
The Invisible - The Invisible (Accidental)
Released in the U.K. on March 2, the self-titled album from electro-funk outfit the Invisible is the first outing for the London-based trio. Though the group is well known in the club scene, having worked individually with the likes of Hot Chip, Polar Bear and Zongamin, the album has been more of a slow burner with consumers and has not yet gained a chart position, selling 1,000 copies to date.
As well as a number of festival slots, the band supported U.K. rock act Doves on its tour earlier this year.
Bat for Lashes - "Two Suns" (Parlophone/EMI)