Heavy metal trio Wolfmother, rock band Powderfinger's singer Bernard Fanning, alternative rockers Eskimo Joe and crossover hip hop posse Hilltop Hoods notched up five nominations each for the Australi

Heavy metal trio Wolfmother, rock band Powderfinger's singer Bernard Fanning, alternative rockers Eskimo Joe and crossover hip hop posse Hilltop Hoods notched up five nominations each for the Australian Recording Industry Assn. awards next month.

The awards are held Oct. 29 at Acer Arena in Sydney, and broadcast on Australia’s national Network Ten that night from 7.30pm local time.

The Final Five announcements were made today (Sept. 13) in Sydney at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. More than a thousand music industry executives voted on the nominees.

Fanning's debut solo album "Tea and Sympathy" (Dew Process/Universal), Wolfmother's self-titled Modular/Universal debut and Eskimo Joe's "Black Fingernails, Red Wine" (Mushroom/Warner) are up for album of the year against atmospheric rock band Augie March's "Moo, You Bloody Choir" (Ra) and alt-rockers the Sleepy Jackson's "Personality: One Was a Spider, One Was a Bird" (Capitol/EMI).

Wolfmother, Augie March and Eskimo Joe will vie with electro-popsters Rogue Traders (Columbia) and guitar trio the Living End (Capitol/EMI) for best group.
Best independent release is a toss-up between Hilltop Hoods' "The Hard Road" (Obese), Ben Lee's "We're All In This Together" (Inertia Recordings), John Butler Trio's "Live At St Gallen" (Jarrah Records), Lior - Doorways Of My Mind (Senso Unico) and Gotye's "Like Drawing Blood" (Independent/Creative Vibes).

Wolfmother and Hilltop Hoods are up for the breakthrough artist award, alongside Rogue Traders, alt-rockers the Grates (Dew Process/UMA) and pop duo the Veronicas (Engine Room Music/Sire Records).

"What has stood out most about 2006 is the diversity of the acts which were successful -- and the amount of debut acts," Universal Music Australia managing director George Ash told Billboard.biz.

The best female category will be contested by country star Kasey Chambers (Capitol/EMI), R&B singer Jade MacRae (Roadshow/SonyBMG) and newcomers Clare Bowditch (Capitol/EMI), Holly Throsby (Virgin/Spunk/EMI) and Jen Cloher (Shiny Records).

Bernard Fanning and Eskimo Joe were multi-winners in the artisan awards, presented at today's event. Eskimo Joe took out the producer category, while Matt Lovell took the engineer category for his work with them. Fanning's "Wish You Well" won production company Head Pictures video of the year, while Debaser took best cover art for "Tea and Sympathy".