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Breakthrough band, The xx, scoop top UK music prize

By Marco Woldt for CNN
The xx, from left to right Oliver Sim, Romy Madley Croft and Jamie Smith.
The xx, from left to right Oliver Sim, Romy Madley Croft and Jamie Smith.
  • The Mercury Prize is awarded every year for the best album in UK and Ireland
  • Among the past nominees are U2, Oasis, Radiohead and Coldplay
  • Winning trio recorded the album in a converted garage

London, England (CNN) -- British electronic rock trio The xx have won this year's Mercury Prize for their album "xx."

The prestigious accolade is awarded annually to the best album from the United Kingdom or Ireland. A win at the Mercury's can mean a huge boost in album sales for the triumphant artist.

The xx became the competition's 19th winners since the prize was first handed out in 1992. The group's self-titled debut album -- which blends electronic elements with rock and R&B -- was released last year to great critical acclaim and has featured in the UK top ten.

The three-piece from Putney, London, recorded the album in a converted garage. "We'd like to put the [prize] money towards a recording studio," 21 year-old lead-singer Romy Madley Croft said at a press conference following the awards.

Video: Who is The xx?
We'd like to put the [prize] money towards a recording studio.
--Romy Madley Croft, singer, The xx

Past nominees for the prize have included U2, Oasis, Radiohead, Coldplay and Amy Winehouse. But the panel of judges -- consisting of musicians, label executives and journalists -- has a history of handing the $30,000 (£20,000) prize to lesser known acts.

The 2009 award went to female rapper Speech DeBelle, who had until then sold just 3,000 copies of her album "Speech Therapy," reinforcing the competition's reputation for unpredictability.

This year The xx were widely expected to win, although a late surge of bets on rock 'n' roll veteran Paul Weller at the bookmakers had pushed him into the circle of favourite.

After hearing each of the artists perform at West London's Grosvenor House Hotel, the panel of judges voted in favor of "xx." A worthy selection in the eyes of many, and one which reflects the current landscape of contemporary British music.