Home Uncategorized A2IM’s Libera Awards Go Virtual

A2IM’s Libera Awards Go Virtual

Indie artists, and the companies that bring their music to the world, have a reputation as fast, nimble and responsive to change. So it’s no surprise that the American Association of Independent Music (A2IM), the trade group for the indie sector, acted quickly in March to reinvent its annual Indie Week conference scheduled for June 15-18 as an online event, with over 50 panels, talks and workshops.

“Because of the challenges being faced by the whole world, it was even more important to bring the family of independents together again this year,” says Richard James Burgess, president/CEO of A2IM, which is marking its 15th anniversary of promoting education, advocacy and community for the indie-music industry.

Burgess notes that the digital delivery of data, “the very technology that disrupted our industry two decades ago, is now enabling us to maintain some momentum through this pandemic. A2IM was formed to deal with a global crisis of change, and we continue to adapt so we can better champion the independent artists and labels whose diverse voices need to be heard.”

The presentation on June 18 of the Libera Awards, which will recognize the best indie releases and feature live online performances, will be the high point of Indie Week. Following is a list of the 2020 nominees, as provided by A2IM.

Album of the Year
Sponsored by The Orchard

FKA Twigs, Magdalene (Young Turks)
Angel Olsen, All Mirrors (Jagjaguwar)
Brittany Howard, Jaime (ATO Records)
Orville Peck, Pony (Sub Pop Records)
Big Thief, U.F.O.F. (4AD)

Best Live Act

Flying Lotus (Warp Records)
Courtney Barnett (Mom + Pop Music)
Mavis Staples (ANTI-)
Fontaines D.C. (Partisan Records)
IDLES (Partisan Records)

Best Alternative Rock Album

The National, I Am Easy To Find (4AD)
Fontaines D.C., Dogrel (Partisan Records)
Big Thief, U.F.O.F. (4AD)
Sharon Van Etten, Remind Me Tomorrow (Jagjaguwar)
Angel Olsen, All Mirrors (Jagjaguwar)

Best Americana Album

The Lumineers, III (Dualtone Music Group)
Keb’ Mo’, Oklahoma (Concord Records/Concord)
Calexico and Iron & Wine, Years To Burn (Sub Pop Records)
Cass McCombs, Tip of the Sphere (ANTI-)
Steve Gunn, The Unseen In Between (Matador Records)

Best Blues Album

Christone “Kingfish” Ingram, Kingfish (Alligator Records)
Various Artists, Ann Arbor Blues Festival 1969 Vol. 1 & 2 (Third Man Records)
North Mississippi Allstars, Up and Rolling (New West Records)
Delbert McClinton and Self-Made Men, Tall, Dark, and Handsome (Thirty Tigers)
Mavis Staples, We Get By (ANTI-)

Best Classical Album

Paul Cardall, Peaceful Piano (Stone Angel Music/CD Baby)
Florence Price, John Jeter/Fort Smith Symphony — Symphonies 1 & 4 (Naxos American Classics)
Beth Gibbons, Henryk Górecki: Symphony No. 3 (Symphony of Sorrowful Songs) (Domino)
Rachel Fuller, Animal Requiem (Wistler Records/Bob Frank Entertainment)
Benny Gebert, Triptych (Arts & Crafts)

Best Country Album

Hayes Carll, What It Is (Dualtone Music Group)
Robert Ellis, Texas Piano Man (New West Records)
Orville Peck, Pony (Sub Pop Records)
Kelsey Waldon, White Noise/White Lines (Thirty Tigers)
Jim Lauderdale, From Another World (Yep Roc Records)

Best Dance/Electronic Album

Holly Herndon, PROTO (4AD)
Thom Yorke, Anima (XL Recordings)
Tycho, Weather (Mom + Pop Music)
Hot Chip, A Bath Full of Ecstasy (Domino)
Flying Lotus, Flamagra (Warp Records)

Best Folk/Bluegrass Album

Bedouine, Bird Songs of a Killjoy (Spacebomb Records)
Patty Griffin, Patty Griffin (Thirty Tigers)
Julia Jacklin, Crushing (Polyvinyl Record Co.)
Jake Xerxes Fussell, Out of Sight (Paradise of Bachelors)
Jessica Pratt, Quiet Signs (Mexican Summer)

Best Hip-Hop/Rap Album
Sponsored by Songtrust

Chance the Rapper, The Big Day (Chance the Rapper/Ditto Music)
Danny Brown, uknowhatimsayin¿ (Warp Records)
Clipping., There Existed an Addiction to Blood (Sub Pop Records)
Denzel Curry, ZUU (Loma Vista Recordings)
Megan Thee Stallion, Fever (300 Entertainment/1501)

Best Indie Rock Album

Crumb, Jinx (Crumb Records)
(Sandy) Alex G, House of Sugar (Domino)
Jay Som, Anak Ko (Polyvinyl Record Co.)
Weyes Blood, Titanic Rising (Sub Pop Records)
Charly Bliss, Young Enough (Barsuk Records)

Best Jazz Album
Sponsored by Qobuz

Terri Lyne Carrington and Social Science, Waiting Game (Motéma Music)
Hiromi, Spectrum (Telarc/Concord)
Nerija, Blume (Domino)
Nat “King” Cole, Hittin’ the Ramp: The Early Years: 1936-1943 (Resonance Records)
Eric Dolphy, Musical Prophet: The Expanded 1963 New York Studio Sessions (Resonance Records)
Bill Evans, Evans in England (Resonance Records)

Best Latin Album

Juan Wauters, La Onda de Juan Pablo (Captured Tracks)
Rodrigo y Gabriela, Mettavolution (ATO Records)
Y La Bamba, Mujeres (Tender Loving Empire Records)
Preservation Hall Jazz Band, A Tuba to Cuba (Sub Pop Records)
Sech, Sueños (Rich Music)

Best Mainstream Rock Album

Melissa Etheridge, The Medicine Show (Concord Records/Concord)
The Raconteurs, Help Us Stranger (Third Man Records)
Desert Sessions, Volumes 11 & 12 (Matador Records)
Reignwolf, Hear Me Out (Reignwolf/Ditto Music)
Cigarettes After Sex, Cry (Partisan Records)

Best Metal Album

Boris, LOVE & EVOL (Third Man Records)
Cattle Decapitation, Death Atlas (Metal Blade)
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, Infest the Rats’ Nest (ATO Records)
Babymetal, Metal Galaxy (Cooking Vinyl)
Periphery, Periphery IV: Hail Stan (3DOT Recordings)

Best Outlier Album

Cate Le Bon, Reward (Mexican Summer)
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, Fishing for Fishies (ATO Records)
Various Artists, Thank You, Mister Rogers: Music & Memories (BFD/Bob Frank Entertainment)
Kim Gordon, No Home Record (Matador Records)
Alex Cameron, Miami Memory (Secretly Canadian)

Best Punk/Emo Album

Amyl and The Sniffers, Amyl and the Sniffers (ATO Records)
The Menzingers, Hello Exile (Epitaph Records)
Empath, Active Listening: Night on Earth (Fat Possum Records/Get Better Records)
American Football, American Football (LP3) (Polyvinyl Record Co.)
Bad Religion, Age of Unreason (Epitaph Records)

Best R&B Album

Sudan Archives, Athena (Stones Throw Records)
FKA twigs, Magdalene (Young Turks)
Blood Orange, Angel’s Pulse (Domino)
Jamila Woods, Legacy! Legacy! (Jagjaguwar)
Durand Jones & the Indications, American Love Call (Dead Oceans)

Best Re-Issue

Various Artists, Kankyō Ongaku: Japanese Ambient, Environmental & New Age Music 1980-1990 (Light in the Attic Records)
Ray Charles, Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music, Volumes 1 & 2 (Concord Records/Concord)
Superchunk, Acoustic Foolish (Merge Records)
Stereolab, 2019 reissue campaign (Warp Records)
Fela Kuti & Roy Ayers, Music of Many Colours (Knitting Factory Records)

Best Sync Usage

IDLES, Peaky Blinders (Partisan Records)
Bon Iver, “Naeem” — Nike “Beginnings: LeBron” (Jagjaguwar)
Kamasi Washington, Apple (Young Turks)
Perfume Genius, The Goldfinch trailer (Matador Records)
Cigarettes After Sex, “Opera House” — Killing Eve (Partisan Records)

Best World Album

Afro B, Afrowave 3 (AfroWave Digital/EMPIRE)
Mdou Moctar, Blue Stage Sessions (Third Man Records)
Altin Gün, Gece (ATO Records)
Tinariwen, Amadjar (ANTI-)
Sinkane, Dépaysé (City Slang)

Breakthrough Artist/Release
Sponsored by Ingrooves

Sudan Archives, Athena (Stones Throw Records)
Black Pumas (ATO Records)
Fontaines D.C. (Partisan Records)
Orville Peck (Sub Pop Records)
Julia Jacklin (Polyvinyl Record Co.)

Creative Packaging

Various Artists, VMP Anthology: The Story of Ghostly International (Ghostly International)
Flying Lotus, Flamagra (Warp Records)
Various Artists, WXAXRXP box set (Warp Records)
Various Artists, Sub Pop Singles Club (Sub Pop Records)
IDLES, A Beautiful Thing: IDLES Live at Le Bataclan (Partisan Records)

Independent Champion
Sponsored by Merlin

Bandcamp
SoundExchange
Spotify
Redeye
The Orchard

Label of the Year (Large)
Sponsored by ADA

Warp Records
Jagjaguwar
Domino Recording Co.
Polyvinyl Record Co.
Partisan Records

Label of the Year (Medium)

4AD
Saddle Creek
ATO Records
Sacred Bones
Drag City

Label of the Year (Small)

Innovative Leisure
Father/Daughter Records
Oh Boy Records
Hardly Art
Wichita Recordings

Marketing Genius

Thom Yorke, Anima (XL Recordings)
black midi, Schlagenheim (Rough Trade Records)
Megan Thee Stallion, Hot Girl Summer (300 Entertainment)
FKA twigs, Magdalene (Young Turks)
Better Oblivion Community Center, Better Oblivion Community Center (Dead Oceans)

Video of the Year

Aldous Harding, “The Barrel” (4AD)
Flying Lotus, “More” (Warp Records)
FKA twigs, “Cellophane” (Young Turks)
Orville Peck, “Dead of Night” (Sub Pop Records)
Fontaines D.C., “Big” (Partisan Records)

This article originally appeared in the June 13, 2020 issue of Billboard.

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