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Kaiser Chiefs on a roll with Mercury nom

Band earned honor for debut album 'Employment'

LONDON — British rock newcomers Kaiser Chiefs capped a remarkable rise to fame Tuesday when they became the bookmakers’ favorites to collect Blighty’s prestigious 2005 Mercury Music Prize, honoring the best albums of British and Irish music.

Band, which performed at the Live 8 concert in Philadelphia earlier this month, earned a nomination for debut album “Employment.”

It is up against a dozen U.K. acts, including heavyweights Coldplay, whose “X&Y” album recently topped the charts in its homeland and in the U.S.

Others on the noms list are Antony and the Johnsons, “I Am a Bird Now”; Bloc Party, “Silent Alarm”; the Go! Team, “Thunder, Lightning, Strike”; Hard-Fi, “Stars of CCTV”; KT Tunstall, “Eye to the Telescope”; the Magic Numbers, “The Magic Numbers”; Maximo Park, “A Certain Trigger”; M.I.A., “Arular”; Polar Bear, “Held on the Tips of Fingers”; and Seth Lakeman, “Kitty Jay.”

The 12 nominees are chosen by a panel of music industry experts from more than 170 entries. The prize, regarded as a seal of approval from the critics, is hotly contested by the major record companies and smaller independent operations.

The winners receive £20,000 ($34,700), but the acclaim of being on the shortlist usually boosts album sales ahead of the award ceremony on Sept. 6 in London. It will air on pubcaster channels BBC2 and BBC4 and on BBC Radio 1.

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