Organizers of the Australian Music Prize (AMP) sprung a surprise today (Jan. 31) when the final nomination Short List 8 carried an extra album title.

The reason was simple, explains Scott Murphy, AMP founder and prize director: there were more than eight great Australian albums released in 2006.

"It was an exceptional circumstance to see nine artists were valid at the end of judging for the Short List 8," Murphy says. "We decided that all - based on the judges evaluations - deserved to be a part of the Short List, and were pleased that we were able to act appropriately and accommodate them."

Stephen Peach, CEO of Phonographic Performance Company of Australia (PPCA), which supplies the A$25,000 ($19,200) cash win, echoed this sentiment.

"The PPCA is excited to see such diversity within the final artists in contention for The AMP 2006," Peach adds. "It really does demonstrate the creative excellence within our industry and PPCA is proud to be supporting that excellence in a very tangible way."

The final nominations are atmospheric band Augie March's "Moo, You Bloody Choir" (Sony BMG); Jebediah guitarist and singer Kevin Mitchell's alter ego Bob Evans "Suburban Songbook" (Capitol); alternate electronica artist Gotye "Like Drawing Blood" (Creative Vibes) which was recorded in bedrooms over two and a half years; rock band Howling Bells' "Howling Bells" (Liberation), which received positive reviews in the United Kingdom; country singer Jackie Marshall's "Fight 'n' Flight" (Television) which was recorded in a farmhouse outside Sydney; award winning film composer and former Dead Can Dance member Lisa Gerrard's "The Silver Tree" (Rubber); theatrical singer songwriter Sarah Blasko's sophomore effort "What The Sea Wants, The Sea Will Have" (Dew Process/Universal); last year's winners The Drones' "Gala Mill" (ATP), which was named after the mill in Tasmania in which it was recorded; and indie pop trio the Grates' debut "Gravity Won't Get You High" (Dew Process/Universal).

The shortlist for the best Australian albums of 2006 was decided by a panel of 73 judges, comprising fellow musicians, media executives and retailers.

The winner will be announced March 7 at a gala event at Sydney's Home nightclub.

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