Birmingham bands Guillemots and Editors have both been nominated for this year's Nationwide Mercury Prize.
The two groups feature among a shortlist of 12 albums in the running for the music industry's most talked-about award.
Guillemots have been nominated for their debut album Through The Windowpane while Editors made the list for their first album The Back Room.
Other artists on the list include Arctic Monkeys, Thom Yorke, Scritti Politti and Muse.
The shortlist was chosen from more than 200 entries and unveiled at the Commonwealth Club in central London.
The judges hailed 2006 as "a rich year for musical excellence and creativity". This year's list draws attention to the musical importance of cities out-side London, they said.
Chair of the judges Simon Frith said: "Above all, this year's shortlist for the Nationwide Mercury Prize is about the art of the songwriter - if you want to know what life is like in Britain today, listen to the country's musicians.
"The list contains songs that are witty, sad, angry and reflective; songs exploring emotions and debating attitudes; songs about love lost and love found; songs both personal and political, happy and anxious; songs using a wonderful variety of genres, beats, sound and moods."
The winner will be announced at a ceremony on September 5 and Arctic Monkeys and Thom Yorke are joint 5-1 favourites with bookmaker William Hill.
Last year's winner was Antony And The Johnsons.