×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Aimee Mann, Funky Four +1 Perform, Slowdive Wins Big at Indie Libera Awards

The independent label sector is the wellspring of creativity in the music industry and fights hard for its market share, but for all that, it’s never really been big on celebrating itself. The annual Libera Awards, launched seven years ago by the American Association of Independent Music (A2IM) trade group, are a rare exception to that rule, and they’ve become a sort of cross between a low-key Grammys and a high-class party for the indie community — a place where you see people dressed up who you ordinarily never see dressed up except at a wedding or in a year when one of their label’s artists has a Grammy nomination. The event, presented by SoundExchange in partnership with BuzzAngle, was held Thursday night at the Best Buy Theater in New York’s Times Square, capped A2IM’s Indie Week conference and confab.

The crowd was treated to stellar performances from singer-songwriters Aimee Mann — who performed a full set an hour later across the river at Celebrate Brooklyn — Natalie Prass, Raul Midon and Sam Outlaw, and a medley of pioneering early hip-hop hits from the Funky Four +1, who received the Independent Icon Awards and said it was the first award they’d ever received in more than 30 years. Most moving, though, was a tribute performance to the late indie soul singers Sharon Jones and Charles Bradley from Saundra Williams and Lee Fields, who were backed by members of the Dap-Kings and the Extraordinaires.

While the event was hosted by comedian Kate Wolff, the most amusing moment of the evening actually came via video from Tom Waits, who paid tribute to Brett Gurewitz, cofounder of legendary punk band Bad Religion, founder of indie labels Anti (which released Waits’ last several albums) and Epitaph and recipient of the Libera Lifetime Achievement award.

The two-minute video, which featured the singer seated in front of an aluminum-sided house, was vintage, inimitable Waits: “What is an independent man?,” he asked the camera. “A man who wears his underwear outside his pants? A superhero? A man who buys a rolls Royce and turns it into a chicken coop? All of the above,” he said. “So hats off to Brett Gurewitz” — and then, of course, doffed his hat.

It was a great year for the indie sector and the event’s big winners reflected that: Reformed British shoegazers Slowdive took home Album of the Year for their eponymous latest outing while Dead Oceans took home Label of the Year (with more than five employees); Nick Cave won Best Live Act. Elsewhere, Daptone won Best Label (with less than five employees) and indie label collective Merlin won Independent Champion Award — the full list of winners appears below.

2018 Libera Award Winners:

Best Live Act
Nick Cave

Best Hip-Hop/Rap Album
Shabazz Palaces – ‘Quazarz: Born on a Gangster Star’
Sub Pop Records

Best American Roots/Folk Album
Aimee Mann – ‘Mental Illness’
SuperEgo Records

Best Blues Album
Benjamin Booker – ‘Witness’
ATO Records

Best Classical Album
Detroit Symphony Orchestra – ‘Copland: Symphony No. 3 & 3 Latin American Sketches’
Naxos

Best Country/Americana Album
Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit – ‘The Nashville Sound’
Southeastern Records /Thirty Tigers

Best Jazz Album
Kamasi Washington – ‘Harmony of Difference’
Young Turks

Best Latin Album
Chicano Batman – ‘Freedom Is Free’
ATO Records

Best Outlier Album
Moses Sumney – ‘Aromanticism’
Jagjaguwar

Best Metal Album
Converge – ‘The Dusk In Us’
Epitaph Records

Best Dance/Electronic Album
Sylvan Esso – ‘What Now’
Loma Vista Recordings

Best R&B Album
Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings – ‘Soul of a Woman’
Daptone Records

Best Re-Issue
Elliott Smith – ‘Either/Or: Expanded Edition’
Kill Rock Stars

Best Rock Album
The National – ‘Sleep Well Beast’
4AD

Best Sync Usage
Cigarettes After Sex – ‘Cigarettes After Sex’
Partisan Records

Best World Usage
Ibeyi – ‘Ash’
XL Recordings

Independent Icon
Funky 4 + 1

Breakthrough Artist
Princess Nokia – ‘1992 Deluxe’
Rough Trade Records

Creative Packaging
Bob’s Burgers – ‘The Bob’s Burgers Music Album’
Sub Pop Records

Independent Champion
MERLIN

Label of the Year (6+ employees)
Dead Oceans

Label of the Year (<5 employees)
Daptone Records

Marketing Genius Award
Run the Jewels – Call Ticketron! 646.846.RTJ3
Run the Jewels, Inc.

Video of the Year 
Perfume Genius – “Die 4 You”
Matador Records

A2IM Lifetime Achievement Award
Brett Gurewitz
2018 A2IM Libera Awards 

Independent Impact Award
Taylor Swift – ‘Reputation
Big Machine Label Group

Album of the Year
Slowdive – ‘Slowdive’
Dead Oceans

More Music

  • J BalvinJ. Balvin in concert at

    J. Balvin, Ozuna, Deadmau5 Among New Artists Launching 2019 Vegas Residencies

    The list of artists heading to Vegas this year is getting a little longer. Reggaeton stars J. Balvin and Ozuna and DJ heavyweights Armin van Buuren, Deadmau5 and Eric Prydz are among the new artists who have announced residencies this spring at the Palms Casino Resort. The performers join previously announced residencies by Cardi B, [...]

  • mark Beaven

    If Spotify Is Holding Town Halls for Songwriters, They Must Be Open (Guest Column)

    Earlier this month, Amazon, Google, SiriusXM and Spotify challenged the Copyright Royalty Board’s decision to increase the compulsory mechanical rates paid to songwriters by 44% over the next five years. The streamers have come under fierce criticism for the move, which they claim is over the complexities of the CRB’s rules but is widely assumed [...]

  • iHeartMedia Promotes Angel Aristone to Executive

    iHeartMedia Promotes Angel Aristone to Executive VP of Communications

    Angel Aristone has been promoted to executive vice president of communications for iHeartMedia, the company announced today. According to the announcement, Aristone will continue to position iHeart as a media and entertainment leader through proactive strategic communication efforts on both a local and national level. She will also continue to oversee media relations and external [...]

  • Grammy Awards60th Annual Grammy Awards, Press

    Recording Academy Narrows Search to Replace Neil Portnow

    The Recording Academy has narrowed its pool of candidates to succeed outgoing chairman/president Neil Portnow to a shortlist of “three to five” finalists, with the Academy now focusing exclusively on executives at the CEO level, sources tell Variety. The next Recording Academy chief is expected to be named in late May, with Portnow staying on through [...]

  • Kanye West attends "The Cher Show"

    Kanye West's Sunday Church Service: Where Spirituality and Exclusivity Meet

    Another Sunday has passed which means another installment of Kanye West’s weekly church service. Launched at the top of the year, it’s become the most prestigious, highly-coveted invitation among the greater music community in Los Angeles — an event that only the select and handpicked worshipers get to experience. So what’s the service like? Think: [...]

  • The myspace website viewed on an

    Musicians Freak Out as They Belatedly Learn Myspace Lost 50 Million Songs

    Myspace-related news travels very, very slowly in the late 2010s. So while the company had quietly acknowledged a massive data loss in response to user inquiries last year, it took until this weekend for the greater public to begin to become aware that all music uploaded to the site prior to 2015 has now migrated [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content