Why Australians need to keep their eye on the Canadian Independent Music Awards (The “Indies”)

The annual Canadian Independent Music Awards, known as the “Indies”, are now in its 17th year, and being held in Toronto next week. Since its debut, the event has proven to be an indicator of the “next big things” out of Canada – a country whose music Australia has always been well attuned to.

From Holy Fuck to Japandroids, PUP to Tokyo Police Club, Grimes and even perhaps July Talk, who briefly popped down to our shores a couple of years ago, there are plenty of names among this year’s nominees who will be familiar to Australian audiences. But it’s the names you haven’t heard of – and the eventual winners – who you should be keeping your eye on. If you’ve never heard of A Tribe Called Red, for one, they’re a band you need to know. And word is that Charlotte Day Wilson is set to explode.

Holy Fuck, Marianas Trench, Metric, Cancer Bats, Alexisonfire, METZ, Fucked Up, deadmau5, The Weeknd, Japandroids, Crystal Castles and even Carly Rae Jepsen have all taken home Indies trophies, often quite early in their career, and now sit as household names both at home in Canada, but all around the world – including here in Australia.

And it’s not just the nominees and the winners. Back in 2011, virtually unknown UK group Bombay Bicycle Club hit the stage months before they exploded onto the international stage, alongside a slew of local Canadian talent, and the incomparable Janelle Monae. This year the event will feature performances from Hollerado, The Wooden Sky, Repartee (nominated for Pop Artist/Group Of The Year), The Nursery (winners of the Jim Beam Make History Talent Search), Dan Mangan (recipient of the Make History Award), and a special set from 54-40 (Hall Of Fame Inductees). So definitely look up any artists you’re unfamiliar with. Dan Mangan of course is no stranger to our shores and Hollerado are Canadian favourites.

Filled with plenty of bands you know – and others you will have never heard of – here are all the nominees for the 2017 Indies:

ALBUM OF THE YEAR

A TRIBE CALLED RED – WE ARE THE HALLUCI NATION (PIRATES BLEND)
ANDY SHAUF – THE PARTY (ARTS & CRAFTS)
BASIA BULAT – GOOD ADVICE (SECRET CITY)
KAYTRANADA – 99.9% (HW&W/ULTRA)
PUP – THE DREAM IS OVER (ROYAL MOUNTAIN)

SINGLE OF THE YEAR

BOB MOSES – TEARING ME UP (DOMINO)
GRIMES – FLESH WITHOUT BLOOD (CRYSTAL MATH)
JULY TALK – PUSH AND PULL (SLEEPLESS)
THE STRUMBELLAS – WE DON’T KNOW (SIX SHOOTER)
THE ZOLAS – SWOONER (LIGHT ORGAN)

GROUP OF THE YEAR

A TRIBE CALLED RED (PIRATES BLEND)
JAPANDROIDS (ARTS & CRAFTS)
JULY TALK (SLEEPLESS)
TOKYO POLICE CLUB (DINE ALONE)
WINTERSLEEP (DINE ALONE)

ARTIST OF THE YEAR

BASIA BULAT (SECRET CITY)
HANNAH GEORGAS (DINE ALONE)
KAYTRANADA (HW&W/ULTRA)
RIVER TIBER (INDEPENDENT)
TANYA TAGAQ (SIX SHOOTER)

SONGWRITER OF THE YEAR

ANDY SHAUF – QUITE LIKE YOU; THE MAGICIAN (ARTS & CRAFTS)
BOB MOSES – TEARING ME UP (DOMINO)
DAN MANGAN – RACE TO THE BOTTOM (ARTS & CRAFTS)
KAI – NEVER BE LIKE YOU (FEAT. FLUME) (FUTURE CLASSIC)
THE STRUMBELLAS – SPIRITS; WE DON’T KNOW (SIX SHOOTER)

ALTERNATIVE ARTIST/GROUP OF THE YEAR

AUSTRA (PINK FIZZ)
CHARLOTTE DAY WILSON (INDEPENDENT)
OPERATORS (LAST GANG)
PLANTS AND ANIMALS (SECRET CITY)
WEAVES (BUZZ)

ELECTRONIC/DANCE ARTIST/GROUP OF THE YEAR

HOLY FUCK (LAST GANG)
JESSY LANZA (GEEJ)
JUNIOR BOYS  (GEEJ)
TIM HECKER (PAPER BAG)
ZEDS DEAD (DEADBEATS)

FRANCOPHONE ARTIST/GROUP OF THE YEAR

ALACLAIR ENSEMBLE (7IÈME CIEL)
DEAD OBIES (BONSOUND)
FRED FORTIN (GROSSE BOÎTE)
KLÔ PELGAG (COYOTE)
KORIASS (7IÈME CIEL)

INDIGENOUS ARTIST/GROUP OF THE YEAR

AMANDA RHEAUME (INDEPENDENT)
CRYSTAL SHAWANDA (NEW SUN)
JACE MARTIN (INDEPENDENT)
SILLA + RISE (BALANCED RECORDS)
TWIN FLAMES (INDEPENDENT)

POP ARTIST/GROUP OF THE YEAR

CHARLOTTE CARDIN (CULT NATION)
COLEMAN HELL (604)
MARIANAS TRENCH (604)
REPARTEE (SLEEPLESS)
VIRGINIA TO VEGAS (WAX)

RAP/R&B ARTIST/GROUP OF THE YEAR

CLAIRMONT THE SECOND (BLACK BOX)
JAZZ CARTIER (INDEPENDENT)
RIVER TIBER (INDEPENDENT)
TANIKA CHARLES (INDEPENDENT)
TASHA THE AMAZON (THE TRUTH MUSIC GROUP / HOT STREAM ENTERTAINMENT)

ROCK ARTIST/GROUP OF THE YEAR

BLACK MOUNTAIN (DINE ALONE)
MONSTER TRUCK (DINE ALONE)
PUP (ROYAL MOUNTAIN)
THE PACK A.D. (CADENCE MUSIC)
WHITE LUNG (DOMINO)

SINGER-SONGWRITER ARTIST/GROUP OF THE YEAR

DANIEL ROMANO (NEW WEST)
DONOVAN WOODS (MEANT WELL)
JOHN K SAMSON (ANTI-)
LISA LEBLANC (BONSOUND)
TERRA LIGHTFOOT (SONIC UNYON)

INTERNATIONAL ARTIST/GROUP OF THE YEAR

ANDERSON .PAAK (STEEL WOOL/OBE)
ANGEL OLSEN (JAGJAGUWAR)
CAR SEAT HEADREST (MATADOR RECORDS)
CHANCE THE RAPPER (INDEPENDENT)
FRANK OCEAN (BOYS DON’T CRY)

The winners will be announced next Wednesday, April 19th, in Toronto as part of Canadian Music Week. Tickets are available at the official CMW website and you can visit the official Indies website HERE.

Photo supplied by official Indies website.