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Dave & IDLES Win Big at 2019 AIM Independent Music Awards


  • South London rapper Dave and punk juggernauts IDLES celebrate two awards each
  • Other newly-announced winners include Jade Bird, Freya Ridings, Gerry Cinnamon, Georgia, Hot Chip, Partisan Records, Scruff of the Neck 
  • Debbie Harry, Johnny Marr, Allen Kovac and Charles Caldas also honoured


Closing with its inaugural live show, the AIM Independent Music Awards successfully pulled off the most spectacular edition in the awards’ nine year history. Hosted by Lauren Laverne at Camden’s Roundhouse, the ceremony celebrated the stand-out stars of the stronger-than-ever independent music community.

South London MC Dave claimed two of the biggest awards of the night: Best Independent Album for Psychodrama and Best Independent Track for ‘Funky Friday’ ft. Fredo. Psychodrama, his politically charged debut, earned rave reviews and claimed the #1 spot in the UK charts upon release, rocketing Dave to the very top of the UK rap game. Independent success story and Ladbroke Grove local AJ Tracey gave a hyped surprise performance before the awards got underway. 

Riding the wave of success since their first album in 2017, IDLES’ potent follow up Joy as an Act of Resistance secured them Best [Difficult] Second Album. After receiving Hardest Working Group in 2018, it was no surprise that they also picked up UK Independent Breakthrough, having rocked fans up and down the country throughout the year. 

IDLES’ creative home, Partisan Records, also got to share in the limelight, receiving Best Independent Label thanks to the success of their roster, featuring fellow nominees Fontaines D.C as well as Cigarettes After Sex and John Grant.  

With a roster including a slew of fresh talent like Kashmere, Hubbards and Glass Caves, Manchester-based label Scruff of the Neck were named Best Small Label while Jade Bird took home International Breakthrough. Cementing her position as one of the UK’s most promising acts, she wooed fans with her powerful eponymous LP, released in April. Hot Chip, meanwhile, won Best Video for their surreal anti-rom-com ‘Hungry Child’. 

Freya Ridings picked up the PPL Award for Most Played New Independent Artist while Scottish songster Gerry Cinnamon was revealed as the winner of the Best Live Act, having successfully gained the most support in the public vote. Finally, Confessin’ the Blues, a compilation curated by The Rolling Stones and released by BMG, received Best Creative Packaging. 

From the industry side, CEO of digital rights agency Merlin, Charles Caldas, took home the coveted Indie Champion award, with Eleven Seven founder and rockstar manager Allen Kovac receiving the Innovator award.  


Following the star studded ceremony — which also saw The Kinks’ Ray Davies present Debbie Harry with her Outstanding Contribution award, the crowds parted in preparation for the live show. The Smiths’ legend Johnny Marr took to the stage first, having already received the Pioneer Award for his prodigious career. He was followed by electro-pop and percussion sensation Georgia, the recipient of this year’s One to Watch award. 

London rapper Ms Banks brought a high-energy climax to the live show while killer DJ sets from Heavenly Jukebox, BBE Music and electro-pop duo Let’s Eat Grandma kept the afterparty going on until the early hours. 

Reflecting on the night, AIM CEO Paul Pacifico, said: ‘The list of winners tonight reflects the boldness of the independent community - artists and labels who are unafraid to push the boundaries and take risks to produce some of the UK’s most cutting-edge cultural output. As we celebrate AIM’s twentieth year championing independence, it’s amazing to see that creative spirit celebrated in this way at a venue like the Roundhouse.’ 

Said best live act in association with Songkick winner Gerry Cinnamon: “Shout out to indie music creators doing their thing. Believe in yourself, don’t let anyone try to stop you.”

Commented The Kinks’ Ray Davies on Blondie frontwoman Debbie Harry winning Outstanding Contribution to Music award, in association with Merlin: “Wherever she goes she steals the show. And today her star will shine brighter than ever”.  Added Debbie Harry, who had to be dragged from baying journalists to receive her award: “The reason I’m late is that I’m just so goddamn independent, thank you”

Upon receiving their second award of the night, Best [Difficult] Second Album, in association with Key Production, IDLES said: “Thank you... very confusing to be winning Breakthrough and [Difficult] Second Album as well. It’s taken us a very long time to get here. It’s true, it was that difficult. And it’s also weird to be writing this while we’re writing album three today. Thank you, thank you very much

PPL Award for Most Played New Independent Artist winner Freya Ridings, who wasn’t present at the Awards but spoke via a recording, said: “Thank you so much for the award, it really means so much

International Breakthrough, in association with Creative Industries Federation, award-winner Jade Bird thanked her label and team: “Thank you so much for allowing me to make the album I wanted to make”

Commented Richard Branson on Eleven Seven CEO Allen Kovac, winner of the Innovator award in association with Amazon Music, whose dazzling career has seen him work with Mötley Crüe, Papa Roach, Five Finger Death Punch, and Blondie:  “This could not be more well deserved”. Said Allen Kovac on receiving his award: “Independents had 14% of the global market share when AIM started, today we’re 40%”

Upon winning his second award, Best Independent Track, in association with Facebook, Dave said “Thank you guys for the award and the support, and thank you for the award on the album as well. I think that it’s amazing that the song has got the recognition for this award”.

One To Watch, in association with BBC Music Introducing, winner Georgia said: “Thank you so much, this is fucking weird but thank you.”

Beggars Group CEO Martin Mills presented Merlin CEO Charles Caldas with his Indie Champion award in association with ClientEarth, saying: “We owe him enormous thanks from our hearts – and our pockets”. Charles Caldas responded: “Somehow those initial two years have turned into 12. It’s been an extraordinary journey and we have taken great strides to change the value of the independent community. Merlin still has a lot to do in that mission and I believe it will continue to do that long after I leave.“

Said Nile Rodgers of Johnny Marr winning the Pioneer Awardin association with Bucks Music Group “Nobody is more deserving than you. You are off the carts cool; music is just a great big journey for you”.  

“As an independent musician, and an independent fan.. I'd like to thank everyone. Thanks to all you guys working in the independent sector”  said Johnny Marr.  “The weird thing that this tiny island continues to do is spread really good independent music across the world. I’ll finish by saying I’ve often been asked what kind of music I make - I’m an indie musician and that’s good enough for me.” he added. 


AIM Independent Music Awards Winners & Nominees

In order of presentation:

Best Live Act (in association with Songkick)

  • AJ Tracey
  • Calpurnia
  • Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes 
  • Gerry Cinnamon WINNER


Best Small Label (in association with Proper Music Group)

  • Fuzz Club Records
  • Killing Moon
  • Local Action
  • Scruff of the Neck WINNER
  • Speedy Wunderground


Best Creative Packaging (in association with MCPS)

  • Various Artists, hand picked and curated in collaboration with The Rolling Stones, “Confessin' the Blues” WINNER
  • Murlo, “Dolos”
  • IDLES, “Joy as an Act of Resistance”
  • Various Artists, Sick Music 2019 compilation 
  • Keith Richards, “Talk Is Cheap”


UK Independent Breakthrough (in association with YouTube Music)

  • Black Midi
  • Ezra Collective
  • Gerry Cinnamon
  • Jade Bird


Outstanding Contribution to Music in association with Merlin                     

  • Debbie Harry WINNER


Best Independent Album (in association with Spotify)

  • Better Oblivion Community Center, “Better Oblivion Community Center”
  • Christine And The Queens, “Chris”
  • Dave, “Psychodrama” WINNER
  • Fontaines D.C., “Dogrel”
  • Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, “End of Suffering”
  • Jade Bird, “Jade Bird”
  • Jordan Rakei, “Origin”
  • Little Simz, “GREY Area”
  • Snapped Ankles, “Stunning Luxury”
  • Swindle, “No More Normal”


Best [Difficult] Second Album (in association with Key Production)

  • Erland Cooper, “Sule Skerry”
  • IDLES, “Joy as an Act of Resistance.” WINNER
  • Julia Jacklin, “Crushing”
  • Maribou State, “Kingdoms In Colour” 
  • SOAK, “Grim Town”


PPL Award for Most Played New Independent Artist 

  • AJ Tracey
  • Cosmo Sheldrake 
  • Freya Ridings WINNER
  • Guru Randhawa
  • Jorja Smith


International Breakthrough (in association with Creative Industries Federation)

  • Afro B
  • Jade Bird WINNER
  • Maribou State
  • Nilüfer Yanya


Innovator Award in association with Amazon Music

  • Allen Kovac WINNER


Best Independent Video (in association with Vevo)

  • Christine and the Queens, “5 Dollars”
  • Hot Chip, “Hungry Child” WINNER
  • John Grant, “He’s Got His Mother’s Hips”
  • Caleb Steph, “Black Boy”
  • FKA Twigs, “Cellophane”


Best Independent Track (in association with Facebook)

  • Dave, “Funky Friday (ft. Fredo)”  WINNER
  • FKA Twigs, “Cellophane”
  • Fontaines D.C., “Boys In The Better Land”
  • Georgia, “About Work The Dancefloor”
  • JARV IS, “Must I Evolve”
  • Jai Paul, “Do You Love Her Now”
  • Holly Herndon, “Eternal”
  • Little Simz, “Selfish (ft. Celo Sol)”
  • Sharon Van Etten, “Seventeen”
  • Four Tet, “Teenage Birdsong”


One To Watch (in association with BBC Music Introducing)

  • Arlo Parks
  • Barney Artist
  • Georgia WINNER
  • Larkins


Best Independent Label (in association with [PIAS])

  • Brownswood Recordings 
  • Domino 
  • Nuclear Blast 
  • Partisan Records WINNER
  • Rough Trade


Pioneer Award in association with Bucks Music Group     

  • Johnny Marr WINNER


Indie Champion in association with ClientEarth                  

  • Charles Caldas WINNER

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