Tonight sees AIM’s first ever Independent Music Awards ceremony take place in London, recognising some of the indie world’s finest artists and labels, hosted by Steve Lamacq and Huw Stephens.
Says AIM CEO Alison Wenham: “In its first year, the AIM Awards have already shone a bright light on some of the most talented and hardworking people in the industry. The response to the awards has been incredible, and signals the start of a new era in recognising a whole new measure of talent and success in music”.
Taking the top prizes, Björk will be given a statue to recognise her outstanding contribution to music, while Domino Records co-founder Laurence Bell will be handed the Pioneer Award. As well as those, twelve other awards will be handed out, with performances from some of the nominees too. Ahead of the ceremony, CMU Editor Andy Malt explores some the artists and labels on the various shortlists for this week’s Powers Of Ten playlist.
AIM AWARDS TEN
Click here to listen to the playlist in Spotify, and then read on to find out more about his choices.
01: Sebadoh – Gimme Indie Rock
As well as seeming somewhat appropriate as the opener for this playlist, ‘Gimme Indie Rock’ by Sebadoh was the first track on the first release on Domino Records in 1993. Having now grown the company into one of the most eclectic and well-respected indie labels in the UK, the label’s co-founder Laurence Bell will accept the Pioneer Award at tonight’s ceremony.
02: The Fall – Spoilt Victorian Child
The album this is taken from, ‘This Nation’s Saving Grace’, is up in the Catalogue Release Of The Year category. I’m including ‘Spoilt Victorian Child’ here mainly because it is a constant source of pleasure to me that a song with this title exists. And if that’s not adequate criteria to award a prize on, I don’t know what is.
03: Bo Ningen – Yurayura Kaeru
London-based label Stolen Recordings is one of four excellent competitors in the Best Small Label category. Amongst its catalogue are releases by the likes of Let’s Wrestle, Screaming Tea Party, My Sad Captains, Pete And The Pirates, and my personal favourites, Japanese psych-rockers Bo Ningen. This track is taken from their brilliant eponymous debut album, which came out last year.
04: Amon Tobin – Journeyman
I’m yet to see the live show that accompanies Amon Tobin’s ‘ISAM’ album, although the jaw-dropping live videos released to promote the show and album mean I’m hugely excited that it’s only a matter of weeks until I do. Nominated for the Most Innovative Marketing Campaign Of The Year prize, activity to promote ‘ISAM’ also included an amazing art installation by Tessa Farmer, who also created the album’s cover artwork.
05: Björk – Mutual Core
Quite rightly, Björk is going to receive the Outstanding Contribution To Music prize. Because her contribution to music is outstanding. I could go anywhere in her back catalogue to prove this, but I’ve gone with something from her latest album, ‘Biophilia’, because after nearly 35 years as a recording artist (in various guises), she’s showing no signs of running out of creativity and ideas just yet.
06: The xx – VCR (Four Tet Remix)
Up in the Most Played Independent Artist category, The xx’s only real competition for the prize is Adele. There was a point when it seemed you couldn’t see a trailer for a TV show on any BBC channel that didn’t feature an xx track. I’ll soften the blow of playing them further by selecting this great remix by Four Tet, which also doubles up as another nod to Laurence Bell and Domino Records, aka the label Four Tet is signed to.
07: Beardyman – Vampire Skank
Beardyman is up against Bring Me The Horizon, Frank Turner, and Random Hand to be named Hardest Working Band Or Artist. For his show at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe he grew toys into his beard and dyed it pink. That’s certainly a time commitment.
08: David Lynch feat Karen O – Pinky’s Dream
Rob da Bank is up for Independent Entrepreneur Of The Year, and faces some stiff competition. However, amongst his achievements this year, he ran two festivals – Camp Bestival and Bestival – and not only booked The Cure to headline the latter but convinced them to let him release their set as a live album through his Sunday Best label for charity. And he just released the debut album by film director David Lynch, which has to count for something too.
09: Adele – Rolling In The Deep
I don’t think people tend to think of Adele as an independent artist. But she is. Signed to XL, she is proof that you don’t need major label money and power behind you to shift millions and millions of albums. Up in the Difficult Second Album and Most Played categories, she’s this year’s biggest independent music success story, and most probably the biggest success of the music industry as a whole in 2011.
10: Bon Iver – Perth
Also up in the Difficult Second Album category, Bon Iver’s eponymous sophomore effort was released on 4AD in March, hot on the heals of slightly unlikely guest appearances on Kanye West’s ‘My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy’. I’m not particularly a fan of his debut, but with ‘Bon Iver’ Justin Vernon has won me right over. And that’s surely what this category will be judged on.