The 12th annual Independent Music Awards—an international program aimed at honoring “exceptional independent artists traditionally ignored by mainstream media and big box retailers”—has announced its nominees for over 80 categories of awards. Among the nominees? Minneapolis power-pop quartet Sleep Study, and last year’s locally grown tribute compilation Minnesota Remembers Vic Chesnutt.
I’ll admit, I wasn’t terribly familiar with the Independent Music Awards prior to this year’s announcement, but after doing a little digging it looks like quite the prestigious organization. The winners are determined by a panel of well-respected musicians, and this year’s judges includes Tom Waits, Ziggy Marley, Suzanne Vega, Meshell Ndegeocello, Del McCoury, Pete Wentz, Shelby Lynne, Brandi Carlile, “Weird Al” Yankovic, and dozens more. There is also an online jukebox where fans can listen to this year’s nominees and place their own votes.
According to the Independent Music Awards site, the organization offers “year-long marketing and sales support, plus performance and licensing opportunities that place winners and nominees in front of 1 billion music fans,” and specifically seeks out artists who wouldn’t have access to a larger network of national support.
Sleep Study was nominated in the “Indie/Alt. Rock” category for their song “Flower Girl,” a lo-fi, driving ’70s pop cut off their debut full-length, 2012’s Nothing Can Destroy. The song is easily their most popular to date, and has garnered over 50,000 views on YouTube since it was released last year.
And the Minnesota Remembers Vic Chesnutt compilation was nominated in the “Tribute Album” category. It was produced and conceptualized by Duluth-born songwriter Luke Redfield, released by nonprofit Rock the Cause, and included covers of Chesnutt’s songs by Dan Wilson, Haley Bonar, Dave Simonett, Charlie Parr, and many others.
Coincidentally, it also happened to feature Ryan Paul Plewacki of Sleep Study dueting with Janey Winterbauer on the track “Flirted With You All My Life,” so Plewacki is technically involved in both IMA nominations.
Here’s Dan Wilson’s cover of “Soft Picasso”: