Just found out about something called the Plug Independent Music Awards and I thought they were worth mentioning here, especially because some of my favorite artists are nominated and I figure I can get a few of you to go vote for them! From what I gather, Plug is an informal group of independent music lovers from all walks of life who want to do their part to promote music. They have a very impressive advisory board that includes my old friends Nic Harcourt, host of Morning Becomes Eclectic on KCRW in Santa Monica and Brian Turner of WFMU in NY/NJ.
Anyway, if you go over there and check it out, make sure to vote for some of my favorites. First off, Sufjan Stevens is nominated quite a few times for his latest album, Come On, Feel the Illinoise (Album of the Year, Artist of the Year, Song of the Year, Male Artist of the Year, Indie Rock Album of the Year, Album Art/Packaging of the Year). The album is one of my favorites, and I saw him in concert with some friends at the Chameleon Club. What an amazing show! I'm kind of disappointed that he wasn't nominated in the Live Act of the Year category. One of the best shows I've ever seen.
Other nominees to check out include:
Laura Cantrell - Female Artist of the Year. Laura is an old friend from NYC radio. She has hosted the Radio Thrift Shop on WFMU for years and has put out several beautiful albums. Musically it is a sophisticated country/bluegrass sound reminiscent of Patsy Kline. I love Laura and she deserves every award she gets. A wonderful person with a wonderful voice.
Richard Swift - New Artist of the Year. Dicky isn't really new, but he is just starting to get more exposure thru labels. He is a friend of a friend and I was able to get a hold of his first album, Walking Without Effort probably a year before it came out. It is one of my all-time favorite albums, and I still think it is his best disc, though his newer stuff is also very good.
Paste Magazine - Magazine of the Year. This is an amazing music and culture magazine that a few of my friends started a few years back. I was fortunate enough to write for them early on. Nick Purdy, Josh Jackson and the guys have done a great job with this magazine and their other related businesses over the past few years. They deserve all the awards and kudos they can get.
KEXP - College/Non-Comm Radio Station of the Year and Internet Station of the Year. This is probably my favorite radio station. A former college station it is now owned and operated by Paul Allen's Experience Music Project up in Seattle. Check them out on line and pay special attention to their morning show with my friend John Richards. The best and most entertaining mix of indie music you'll find anywhere. And if you make a request online, tell John that I sent you.
WFUV - College/Non-Comm Radio Station of the Year. This station is owned and operated by Fordham University and I have quite a few friends who work there. Their format is what they call "City Folk" and is the best of adult alternative/alt-country/folk that you'll find on the air. Give them a listen. Great stuff.
WFMU - College/Non-Comm Radio Station of the Year and Internet Station of the Year. The definitive free-form station. This station is unique in that it is a college station that outlasted the college. When Upsala College went under quite a few years back the station stayed alive and within the music industry is one of the most respected and listened to stations. You never know what you will hear. Look up "eclectic" in the dictionary and you'll find WFMU. All others are merely posers.
KCRW - College/Non-Comm Radio Station of the Year and Internet Station of the Year. The professionally run radio station at Santa Monica Community College is at the forefront of public radio programming. Not just in music, but in public affairs, comedy, and even radio drama. Home of Nic Harcourt and Morning Becomes Eclectic among other great shows.
World Cafe with David Dye, WXPN-FM, Philadelphia - I grew up listening to David Dye on the amazing WIOQ in Philly and he is still going strong. The World Cafe is the grandaddy of adult alternative programs and has been on the air for years. A wonderful program on a wonderful station.
So those are the Plug Awards. Check 'em out, cast your vote, and support indie music!