THE DARKNESS Tipped to Win U.K. Mercury Music Prize

British retro-rockers THE DARKNESS are favorites to eclipse COLDPLAY and RADIOHEAD to win one of Britain's most prestigious popular music awards, according to Reuters.

The quartet are expected to grab the Mercury Music Prize on Tuesday (September 9) with their first album, "Permission To Land".

The newcomers are the rising stars of the British music industry, topping the album chart and supporting Robbie Williams at a series of open-air concerts this summer.

Their long hair, skin-tight catsuits and falsetto voices have won them comparisons with QUEEN and AEROSMITH.

They face stiff competition from 11 other artists vying for the 20,000 pounds ($31,700) prize, which rewards the year's best album from Britain or Ireland.

The 2003 winner will be announced at a central London ceremony after 6:00 p.m. (1:00 p.m. EDT) on Tuesday.

Earlier this month, Atlantic Records bumped up the Stateside release "Permission To Land" from early next year to September 16. The release will tie in with THE DARKNESS' headlining appearances at New York's Bowery Ballroom (September 18), Toronto's Lee's Palace (20) and Los Angeles' Roxy (22).


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