2021 Libera Award nominees announced

Global Ceremony Takes Place On June 17, 2021

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After a year in which the independent music community faced extraordinary challenges, the American Association of Independent Music (A2IM) is proud to announce the nominees for the 2021 Libera Awards Presented by Merlin. Celebrating its 10th year, the Libera Awards offers an opportunity for musicians to honor their peers’ hard work and the kind of vision that has pushed independent music forward every year — and especially in this most unprecedented of years.

This marks the second year the Libera Awards will be held via a live-streaming global ceremony. It’s also the second year that the public will have the opportunity to attend what was previously a private gala event. Produced by The Control Room, the 2021 awards show will take place on June 17. It will feature performances from nominees as well as the presentation of this year’s Independent Icon Awards. This is the second year that Sweet Relief will serve as A2IM’s official charity partner for the Libera Awards, donating 100% of proceeds raised during the show to career musicians and music industry professionals in need.

The nominees for the 2021 Libera Awards include:

Record of the Year 

  • Phoebe Bridgers – Punisher (Dead Oceans)
  • Run the Jewels – RTJ4 (Jewel Runners, Inc.)
  • Perfume Genius  – Set My Heart On Fire Immediately (Matador Records)
  • Yves Tumor – Heaven To A Tortured Mind (Warp Records)
  • Thundercat – It Is What It Is (Brainfeeder)
  • Waxahatchee – Saint Cloud (Merge Records)

Best Live/Livestream Act 

  • Run the Jewels (Jewel Runners, LLC.)
  • Phoebe Bridgers (Dead Oceans)
  • Fontaines D.C. (Partisan Records)
  • Perfume Genius (Matador Records)
  • Arca (XL Recordings)

(For a full list of this years nominees, see the bottom of this press release or visit www.liberaawards.com.)

The Libera Awards are the culmination of Indie Week, the largest independent music conference in the world, taking place from June 14 to 17. Sponsored by SoundExchange, Indie Week is the international conference and networking event that features keynotes, panels, exclusive networking sessions, and more. Indie Week 2021 will mark the second year A2IM will hold the event in an innovative and seamless virtual environment.

Since its inception, A2IM has worked to elevate independent music and serve as a voice for the rights of independent artists and labels. Through its three-pronged mission of education, advocacy, and connection-building, A2IM works to strengthen the independent music sector and ensure that a fair share of value created by independent music is returned to its rights owners and creators.

RSVP to the Libera Awards by visiting A2IM’s YouTube page or by visiting liberaawards.com. Voting is open to A2IM members until 11:59 p.m. ET on April 5th. Follow A2IM on Instagram and Twitter for upcoming programming updates.

To learn more about Indie Week 2021, visit a2im.org/indieweek.

Full list of 2021 Libera Award Nominees: 

A2IM Humanitarian Award

  • Rev. Moose (Marauder/NIVA)
  • Killer Mike & EL-P of Run the Jewels (Jewel Runners, Inc.)
  • Megan Thee Stallion (300 Entertainment)
  • Paul Redding (Beggars Group)
  • Kevin Liles (300 Entertainment)

Best Alternative Rock Record

  • Phoebe Bridgers – Punisher (Dead Oceans)
  • Soccer Mommy – Color Theory (Loma Vista Recordings)
  • Car Seat Headrest – Making A Door Less Open (Matador Records)
  • Lido Pimienta – Miss Colombia (Anti- Records)
  • Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever – Sideways to New Italy (Sub Pop Records)

Best Americana Record

  • Bonny Light Horseman – Bonny Light Horseman (37d03d)
  • Kevin Morby – Sundowner (Dead Oceans)
  • Calexico – Seasonal Shift (Anti- Records)
  • Courtney Marie Andrews – Old Flowers (Fat Possum Records)
  • Lucinda Williams – Good Souls Better Angels (Highway 20/Thirty Tigers)

Best Blues Record

  • Bobby Rush – Rawer Than Raw (Deep Rush Records/Thirty Tigers)
  • Don Bryant – You Make Me Feel (Fat Possum Records)
  • Robert Cray Band – That’s What I Heard (Nozzle Records/Thirty Tigers)
  • Fantastic Negrito – Have You Lost Your Mind Yet? (Cooking Vinyl Ltd.)
  • Sonny Landreth – Blacktop Run (Provogue Records)

Best Classical Record

  • Erik Hall – Music for 18 Musicians (Steve Reich) (Western Vinyl)
  • Paul Moravec – Sanctuary Road (Naxos American Classics)
  • Echo Collective – The See Within (7K!)
  • Niklas Paschburg – Svalbard (7K!)
  • Vitamin String Quartet – Vitamin String Quartet Performs Lana Del Rey (CMH Label Group/Vitamin Records)

Best Country Record

  • Margo Price – That’s How Rumors Get Started (Loma Vista Recordings)
  • Waxahatchee – Saint Cloud (Merge Records)
  • Colter Wall – Western Swing & Waltzes And Other Punchy Songs (La Honda Records/Thirty Tigers)
  • Various Artists – Willie Nelson American Outlaw (Live At Bridgestone Arena/2019) (Blackbird Productions)
  • Jaime Wyatt – Neon Cross (New West Records)

Best Dance/Electronic Record

  • Caribou – Suddenly (Merge Records)
  • Arca – KiCk i (XL Recordings)
  • Ela Minus – acts of rebellion (Domino Recording Co.)
  • Yaeji – What We Drew (XL Recordings)
  • Actress – Karma & Desire (Ninja Tune)

Best Folk/Bluegrass Record

  • Ben Harper – Winter Is For Lovers (Anti- Records)
  • Angel Olsen- Whole New Mess (Jagjaguwar)
  • Gillian Welch – Boots No. 2: The Lost Songs (Acony Records)
  • Jason Molina – Eight Gates (Secretly Canadian)
  • Laura Marling – Song For Our Daughter (Partisan Records)

Best Hip-Hop/Rap Record

  • Run the Jewels – RTJ4 (Jewel Runners, Inc.)
  • clipping. – Visions of Bodies Being Burned (Sub Pop Records)
  • Little Simz – Drop 6 (AGE101/AWAL)
  • The Koreatown Oddity – Little Dominiques Nosebleed (Stones Throw Records)
  • Naeem – Startisha (37d03d)

Best Jazz Record (Presented by Qobuz)

  • Gil-Scott Heron & Makaya McCraven – We’re New Again – A Reimagining by Makaya McCraven (XL Recordings)
  • Jeff Parker – Suite for Max Brown (International Anthem)
  • Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Adrian Younge – Azymuth JID004 (Jazz Is Dead)
  • Christian McBride – The Movement Revisited: A Musical Portrait of Four Icons (Mack Avenue Music Group)
  • John Carroll Kirby – My Garden (Stones Throw Records)
  • Raul Midon – The Mirror
  •  (Artistry Music)
  • Jyoti – Mama, You Can Bet! (SomeOthaShip/eOne)

Best Latin Record

  • Bad Bunny – El Último Tour Del Mundo (Rimas Entertainment)
  • Gabriel Garzón-Montano – Agüita (Jagjaguwar in partnership with Stones Throw Records)
  • The Mavericks – En Español (Mono Mundo Recordings/Thirty Tigers)
  • Buscabulla – Regresa (Ribbon Music)
  • Jungle Fire – Jungle Fire (Nacional Records)

Best Metal Record

  • Architects – “Animals” (Epitaph Records)
  • HUM – Inlet (Earth Analog Records)
  • Ghostemane – Anti-Icon (Blackmage)
  • Ingested – Where Only Gods May Tread (Unique Leader Records)
  • Pyrrhon – Abscess Time (Willowtip Records)

Best Outlier Record (Presented by The Orchard)

  • Khruangbin – Mordechai (Dead Oceans)
  • Oneohtrix Point Never – Magic Oneohtrix Point Never (Warp Records)
  • Yves Tumor – Heaven To A Tortured Mind (Warp Records)
  • Beverly Glenn-Copeland – Transmissions (Transgressive/[PIAS])
  • Mary Lattimore – Silver Ladders (Ghostly International)
  • Moses Sumney – Græ (Jagjaguwar)

Best Punk Record

  • IDLES – Ultra Mono (Partisan Records)
  • Protomartyr – Ultimate Success Today (Domino Recording Co.)
  • METZ – Atlas Vending (Sub Pop Records)
  • Viagra Boys – Common Sense (YEAR0001/AWAL)
  • Porridge Radio – Every Bad (Secretly Canadian)

Best R&B Record

  • Thundercat – It Is What It Is (Brainfeeder)
  • Khruangbin & Leon Bridges – Texas Sun (Dead Oceans)
  • Robert Glasper – “Better Than I Imagined (feat. H.E.R. & Meshell Ndegeocello)” (Loma Vista Recordings)
  • Son Little – aloha (Anti- Records)
  • Orion Sun – Hold Space For Me (Mom + Pop Music)
  • Steve Arrington – Down To The Lowest Terms (Stones Throw Records)

Best Re-Issue

  • J Dilla – Donuts (Jelly Edition)
  •  (Stones Throw Records)
  • Pylon – Pylon Box
  • (New West Records)
  • Hiroshi Yoshimura – GREEN (Light In The Attic)
  • Pixies – Bossanova 30th Anniversary Reissue (4AD)
  • Motorhead – Ace of Spades 40th Anniversary (Sanctuary Records)
  • Elliott Smith – Expanded 25th Anniversary Edition (Kill Rock Stars)
  • Grandaddy – The Sophtware Slump 20th Anniversary Collection (Dangerbird Records)

 Best Rock Record (Presented by Mitchell; Silberberg & Knupp LLP)

  • Fontaines D.C. – A Hero’s Death (Partisan Records)
  • King Krule – Man Alive! (True Panther Sounds/Matador)
  • Bartees Strange – Mustang (Single
  • Memory Music)
  • Bob Mould – Blue Hearts (Merge Records)
  • Caroline Rose – Superstar (New West Records)

 Best Spiritual Record

  • Sun Ra Arkestra – Swirling (STRUT)
  • Lecrae – Restoration (Reach Records)
  • Jon Hopkins – “Singing Bowl (Ascension)” (Domino Recording Co.)
  • Thad Cockrell – If In Case You Feel The Same (ATO Records)
  • Wande – EXIT (Reach Records)

Best Sync Usage

  • Run the Jewels (Jewel Runners, Inc.) – “Ooh LA LA” – Season three of Netflix’s Ozark
  • Black Pumas (ATO Records) “Colors” – Samsung Galaxy S20
  • Brittany Howard (ATO Records) “You’ll Never Walk Alone” – Johnnie Walker’s #KeepWalking Campaign
  • Blood Orange (Domino Recording Co.) “Tuesday Feeling (Choose to Stay)” – Season four of HBO’s Insecure
  • IDLES (Partisan Records) “Grounds” – Watch Dogs: Legion

Best World Record (Presented by Redeye Worldwide)

  • Antibalas – Fu Chronicles (Daptone Records)
  • Bebel Gilberto – Agora ([PIAS])
  • Altin Gün – “Ordunun Dereleri” (ATO Records)
  • Songhoy Blues – Optimisme (Fat Possum Records)
  • Emel – The Tunis Diaries (Partisan Records)

Breakthrough Artist/Release (Presented by Ingrooves)

  • Arlo Parks (Transgressive/[PIAS])
  • Bonny Light Horseman (37d03d)
  • Overcoats (Loma Vista Recordings)
  • Arlo McKinley (Oh Boy Records)
  • Orion Sun (Mom + Pop Music)

Creative Packaging

  • Soccer Mommy – Color Theory limited edition back to school binder (Loma Vista Recordings)
  • Black Pumas – Black Pumas (Deluxe Edition) – ATO Records
  • Perfume Genius – Set My Heart On Fire Immediately vinyl (Matador Records)
  • Pylon – Pylon Box [CD Box Set](New West Records)
  • IDLES – Ultra Mono (Partisan Records)

Independent Champion (Presented by Merlin)

  • Bandcamp
  • SoundExchange
  • Secretly Distribution
  • TuneCore
  • The Orchard

Label of the Year (Big) (Presented by ADA)

  • Partisan Records
  • Sub Pop Records
  • Warp Records
  • Stones Throw Records
  • Ninja Tune

Label of the Year (Medium) 

  • Light In The Attic
  • Sacred Bones Records
  • Matador Records
  • Ghostly International
  • Rough Trade Records

Label of the Year (Small) (Presented by Spotify)

  • Daptone Records
  • Innovative Leisure
  • Fire Talk Records
  • International Anthem
  • Hardly Art
  • Oh Boy Records

Marketing Genius

  • Jewel Runners, LLC – Run the Jewels x Cyberpunk2077 “No Save Point”
  • Beggars Group – Supporting Indie Retail #loverecordstores Campaign
  • Phoebe Bridgers – Punisher (Dead Oceans)
  • Light In The Attic – Social Media & Digital Marketing
  • Perfume Genius – Set My Heart On Fire Immediately Campaign (Matador Records)

Video of the Year 

  • FKA twigs – “Sad Day” (Young Turks)
  • Perfume Genius – “Describe” (Matador Records)
  • Phoebe Bridgers – “Savior Complex” (Dead Oceans)
  • Run the Jewels – “Ooh La La” (Jewel Runners, Inc.)
  • Christine and the Queens – “La vita nuova” (Because Music)
  • ford. – “Fruit&Sun” (Foreign Family Collective)

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