The 7th Annual Independent Music Awards took place last night at Kensington’s Revolt space as the music industry gathered to celebrate Australia’s finest independent talent in a ceremony with all the right elements: entertainment, controversy, recognition, and of course, music.

Presented by the Australian Independent Record Labels Association (AIR) and hosted by Dylan Lewis, the ceremony included a series of thrilling performances – by the likes of Hermitude, Lanie Lane, House Vs Hurricane, and Loon Lake, while 12 awards were handed out honouring the contributions made to the Australian Independent Music Scene.

The biggest winner of the night was also the artist with the most nominations, Melbourne’s one-and-only soultronica act Chet Faker, who claimed two gongs for Breakthrough Independent Artist and Best Independent Single/EP for his critically acclaimed debut Thinking In Textures.

The man behind the beard and the tunes of Chet Faker, Mr. Nick Murphy, also clearly won the crowd as well; giving a surprise performance in a stripped-back version of EP opening cut, ‘I’m Into You’ that silenced an otherwise chatty audience.

Other winners included Brisbane dynamic duo DZ Deathrays, who took out the award for Best Independent Hard Rock or Punk; delivering a video acceptance speech while on tour abroad. Ditto for Sydney’s widescreen indie rock outfit The Jezabels, who sent a pre-recorded thank you for this year’s award for Best Independent Artist, backing up their 2011 sweep.360 told the packed crowd of attendees that he ‘didn’t feel right’ about accepting his award…  considering that he was “still funded by a major label

Aussie hip hop had a strong presence as well, with outspoken MC, 360 living up to his reputation by addressing an elephant in the room early in the evening, telling the packed crowd of attendees that he ‘didn’t feel right’ about accepting his award for Best Independent Hip Hop Album (for Platinum-selling Falling And Flying), considering that he was “still funded by a major label.”

Meanwhile, Urthboy’s homegrown label Elefant Traks took out the inaugural Best Independent Label category, following releases of albums from The Herd, Sietta, The Last Kinection, Sky’High and Hermitude – who also won the Best Independent Dance/Electronica category for their album HyperParadise.

Hermitude also gave the first live performance of the night, with “Speak Of The Devil” bringing a cache of dancing B-boys and beats to the crowd, while later, Paul Kelly stunned all into respectful awe as he delivered ‘On Your Side’ from his new 26th studio album, Spring And Fall.

Other winners included Sydney’s no-nonsense garage punk group Royal Headache, their brief acceptance speech proving just how indie they are: “we never had a manager. Never chased a show… My mum’s gonna be stoked!”Chet Faker also clearly won the crowd… giving a surprise performance that silenced an otherwise chatty audience.

Other winners included Lanie Lane for Best Independent Blues and Roots Album for her debut To The Horses, Tom Piper & Daniel Harley won Best Independent Dance/Electronica or Club single for their collaborative single, “LGFU.”

Mike Nock Trio Plus took home the Best Independent Jazz Album for Hear And Know; while Jess Ribeiro & The Bone Collectors won Best Independent Country Album, with the titular singer-songwriter gushing at the podium to host Dylan Lewis, “I used to love you as a kid!”

Tim Rogers presented Ribeiro with her award while giving a delightfully sardonic turn at the podium. When the frontman was asked what You Am I were up to he replied wryly, that they “forget to be a rock band and spend time socialising…. We want to go back to being Oz’s 12th greatest rock band!”

Rogers also closed the night in a scintillating performance of “I Got Burned”, his collaboration with funk connoisseurs The Bamboos taken from their latest album Medicine Man.


Breakthrough Independent Artist – Chet Faker

Best Independent Single/EP – Chet Faker –  Thinking In Textures

Best Independent Album – Royal Headache – Royal Headache

Best Independent Artist – The Jezabels

Best Independent Hip Hop/Urban Album – 360 – Falling & Flying

Best Independent Hard Rock or Punk Album – DZ Deathrays – Bloodstreams

Best Independent Label – Elefant Traks

Best Independent Dance/Electronica a Club Single – Tom Piper & Daniel Harley “LGFU”

Best Independent Dance/Electronica Album – Hermitude – HyperParadise

Best Independent Blues And Roots Album – Lanie Lane – To The Horses

Best Independent Country Album – Jess Ribeiro & The Bone Collectors – My Little River

Best Independent Jazz Album – Mike Nock Trio Plus – Hear And Know

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