Chance the Rapper, FKA Twigs, Courtney Barnett & More Shortlisted For 2020 A2IM Libera Awards

Chance the Rapper
Paras Griffin/Getty Images

Chance The Rapper speaks onstage during 2019 Urban One Honors at MGM National Harbor on Dec. 5, 2019 in Oxon Hill, Md. 

The American Association of Independent Music (A2IM) unveils the nominees for its 2020 A2IM Libera Awards which, for the first time, will take the form of a virtual ceremony.

Chance the Rapper, FKA Twigs, Mavis Staples, Amyl and The Sniffers, Thom Yorke and Tycho are among the shortlisted artists for this year’s show, which coincides with A2IM’s 15th anniversary.

The coveted album of the year category will be contested by FKA Twigs, Angel Olsen, Brittany Howard, Orville Peck and Big Thief, while best live act will be a dust-up between Flying Lotus, Courtney Barnett, Mavis Staples, Fontaines D.C. will IDLES.

Indie Week, an international conference for the independent music industry, takes place for four days every summer in New York City, culminating in the Libera Awards, which honor accomplishments in the independent music sector.

With New York at the center of the current coronavirus pandemic, however, the indie trade association flipped its two flagship annual events -- Indie Week and the Libera Awards – into online experiences on the same dates as originally planned, June 15-18, 2020.

“True to indie music’s form, our organization swiftly pivoted and evolved to serve the needs of our artists, labels, and the fans who support them,” says A2IM President and CEO Richard James Burgess in a statement. “As we all look for good news and a sense of normalcy during these turbulent times,” he continues, “this is a way we can serve the independent music community.”

Hip-hop duo Shabazz Palaces and Latina punk act Alice Bag are among the confirmed performers for the June 18 ceremony, while funnyman Chris Gethard returns as host.

Sponsors this year include ADA, Ingrooves, Merlin, Qobuz, Songtrust, SoundExchange and The Orchard.

The nominees for the 2020 Libera Awards are:

Album of the Year (sponsored by The Orchard)
• FKA Twigs - Magdalene (Young Turks)
• Angel Olsen - All Mirrors (Jagjaguwar)
• Brittany Howard - Jaime (ATO Records)
• Orville Peck - Pony (Sub Pop Records)
• Big Thief - U.F.O.F (4AD)

Best Live Act
• Flying Lotus (Warp Records)
• Courtney Barnett (Mom+Pop Music)
• Mavis Staples (Anti Records)
• Fontaines D.C. (Partisan Records)
• IDLES (Partisan Records)

Best Alternative Rock Album
• The National - I Am Easy To Find (4AD)
• Fontaines D.C. - Dogrel (Partisan Records)
• Big Thief - U.F.O.F (4AD)
• Sharon Van Etten - Remind Me Tomorrow (Jagjaguwar)
• Angel Olsen - All Mirrors (Jagjaguwar)

Best Americana Album
• The Lumineers - III (Dualtone Music Group)
• Keb' Mo' - Oklahoma (Concord Records / Concord)
• Calexico and Iron & Wine - Years to Burn (Sub Pop Records)
• Cass McCombs - Tip Of The Sphere (ANTI Records)
• Steve Gunn - The Unseen In Between (Matador Records)

Best Blues Album
• Christone "Kingfish" Ingram - Kingfish (Alligator Records)
• Various Artists - Ann Arbor Blues Festival 1969 Vol. 1 & 2 (Third Man Records)
• North Mississippi Allstars - Up and Rolling (New West Records)
• Delbert McClinton and Self-Made Men - Tall Dark and Handsome (Thirty Tigers)
• Mavis Staples - We Get By (Anti Records)

Best Classical Album
• Paul Cardall - Peaceful Piano (Stone Angel Music / CD Baby)
• Florence Price - John Jeter/Fort Smith Symphony - Symphonies 1 & 4 (Naxos American Classics)
• Beth Gibbons - Henryk Gorecki: Symphony No. 3 (Symphony Of Sorrowful Songs) (Domino)
• Rachel Fuller - Animal Requiem (Wistler Records/Bob Frank Entertainment)
• Benny Gebert - Triptych (Arts & Crafts)

Best Country Album
• Hayes Carll - What It Is (Dualtone Music Group)
• Robert Ellis - Texas Piano Man (New West Records)
• Orville Peck - Pony (Sub Pop Records)
• Kelsey Waldon - White Noise / White Lines (Thirty Tigers)
• Jim Lauderdale - From Another World (Yep Roc Records)

Best Dance/Electronic Album
• Holly Herndon - PROTO (4AD)
• Thom Yorke - Anima (XL Recordings)
• Tycho - Weather (Mom+Pop Music)
• Hot Chip - A Bath Full of Ecstasy (Domino)
• Flying Lotus - Flamagra (Warp Records)

Best Folk/Bluegrass Album
• Bedouine - Bird Songs of a KillJoy (Spacebomb Records)
• Patty Griffin - Patty Griffin (Thirty Tigers)
• Julia Jacklin - Crushing (Polyvinyl Record Co.)
• Jake Xerxes Fussell - Out of Sight (Paradise of Bachelors)
• Jessica Pratt - Quiet Signs (Mexican Summer)

Best Hip-Hop/Rap Album (sponsored by Songtrust)
• Chance the Rapper - The Big Day (Chance the Rapper/Ditto Music)
• Danny Brown - uknowhatimsayin¿ (Warp Records)
• Clipping. - There Existed an Addiction to Blood (Sub Pop Records)
• Denzel Curry - ZUU (Loma Vista Recordings)
• Megan Thee Stallion - Fever (300 Entertainment / 1501)

Best Indie Rock Album
• Crumb - Jinx (Crumb Records)
• (Sandy) Alex G - House of Sugar (Domino)
• Jay Som - Anak Ko (Polyvinyl Record Co.)
• Weyes Blood - Titanic Rising (Sub Pop Records)
• Charly Bliss - Young Enough (Barsuk Records)

Best Jazz Album (sponsored by Qobuz)
• Terri Lyne Carrington and Social Science - Waiting Game (Motéma Music)
• Hiromi - Spectrum (Telarc / Concord)
• Nerija - Blume (Domino)
• Nat King Cole - Hittin' The Ramp: The Early Years:1936-1943 (Resonance Records)
• Eric Dolphy - Musical Prophet: The Expanded 1963 New York Studio Sessions (Resonance Records)
• Bill Evans - Evans In England (Resonance Records)

Best Latin Album
• Juan Wauters - La Onda de Juan Pablo (Captured Tracks)
• Rodrigo y Gabriela - Mettavolution (ATO Records)
• Y La Bamba - Mujeres (Tender Loving Empire Records)
• Preservation Hall Jazz Band - A Tuba to Cuba (Sub Pop Records)
• Sech - Sueños (Rich Music)

Best Mainstream Rock Album
• Melissa Etheridge - The Medicine Show (Concord Records / Concord)
• The Raconteurs - Help Us Stranger (Third Man Records)
• Desert Sessions - Volumes 11 & 12 (Matador Records)
• Reignwolf - Hear Me Out (Reignwolf/Ditto Music)
• Cigarettes After Sex - Cry (Partisan Records)

Best Metal Album
• Boris - LφVE & EVφL (Third Man Records)
• Cattle Decapitation - Death Atlas (Metal Blade)
• King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard - Infest The Rats' Nest (ATO Records)
• Babymetal - Metal Galaxy (Cooking Vinyl)
• Periphery - Periphery IV: Hail Stan (3DOT Recordings)

Best Outlier Album
• Cate Le Bon - Reward (Mexican Summer)
• King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard - Fishing For Fishies (ATO Records)
• Various Artists - Thank You, Mister Rogers: Music & Memories (BFD/Bob Frank Entertainment)
• Kim Gordon - No Home Record (Matador Records)
• Alex Cameron - Miami Memory (Secretly Canadian)

Best Punk/Emo Album
• Amyl and The Sniffers - Amyl and The Sniffers (ATO Records)
• The Menzingers - Hello Exile (Epitaph Records)
• Empath - Active Listening: Night On Earth (Fat Possum Records / Get Better Records)
• American Football - American Football (LP3) (Polyvinyl Record Co.)
• Bad Religion - Age Of Unreason (Epitaph Records)

Best R&B Album
• Sudan Archives - Athena (Stones Throw Records)
• FKA twigs - Magdalene (Young Turks)
• Blood Orange - Angel's Pulse (Domino)
• Jamila Woods - Legacy! Legacy! (Jagjaguwar)
• Durand Jones & the Indications - American Love Call (Dead Oceans)

Best Re-Issue
• Various Artists - Kankyō Ongaku: Japanese Ambient, Environmental & New Age Music 1980-1990 (Light In The Attic Records)
• Ray Charles - Modern Sounds In Country and Western Music, Volumes 1&2 (Concord Records / Concord)
• Superchunk - Acoustic Foolish (Merge Records)
• Stereolab - 2019 Reissue Campaign (Warp Records)
• Fela Kuti - Music Of Many Colours (Knitting Factory Records)

Best Sync Usage
• IDLES - Peaky Blinders (Partisan Records)
• Bon Iver - “Naeem” - Nike ‘Beginnings: LeBron’ (Jagjaguwar)
• Kamasi Washington - Apple (Young Turks)
• Perfume Genius - Goldfinch trailer (Matador Records)
• Cigarettes After Sex - "Opera House" - Killing Eve (Partisan Records)

Best World Album
• Afro B - Afrowave 3 (AfroWave Digital / EMPIRE)
• Mdou Moctar - Blue Stage Sessions (Third Man Records)
• Altin Gün - Gece (ATO Records)
• Tinariwen - Amadjar (Anti Records)
• Sinkane - Dépaysé (City Slang)

Breakthrough Artist/Release (sponsored by Ingrooves)
• Sudan Archives - Athena (Stones Throw Records)
• Black Pumas (ATO Records)
• Fontaines D.C. (Partisan Records)
• Orville Peck (Sub Pop Records)
• Julia Jacklin (Polyvinyl Record Co. (US))

Creative Packaging
• Various Artists - VMP Anthology: The Story Of Ghostly International (Ghostly International)
• Flying Lotus - Flamagra (Warp Records)
• Various Artists - WXAXRXP Boxset (Warp Records)
• Various Artists - Sub Pop Singles Club (Sub Pop Records)
• IDLES - A Beautiful Thing: IDLES Live at Le Bataclan (Partisan Records)

Independent Champion (sponsored by Merlin)
• Bandcamp
• SoundExchange
• Spotify
• Redeye
• The Orchard

Label of the Year (Large) (sponsored by ADA)
• Warp Records
• Jagjaguwar
• Domino Recording Co
• Polyvinyl Record Co.
• Partisan Records

Label of the Year (Medium)
• 4AD
• Saddle Creek
• ATO Records
• Sacred Bones
• Drag City

Label of the Year (Small)
• Innovative Leisure
• Father / Daughter Records
• Oh Boy Records
• Hardly Art
• Wichita Recordings

Marketing Genius
• Thom Yorke - Anima (XL Recordings)
• black midi - Schlagenheim (Rough Trade Records)
• Megan Thee Stallion - Hot Girl Summer (300 Entertainment)
• FKA twigs - Magdalene (Young Turks)
• Better Oblivion Community Center - Better Oblivion Community Center (Dead Oceans)

Video of the Year
• Aldous Harding - “The Barrel” (4AD)
• Flying Lotus - “More” (Warp Records)
• FKA twigs - “Cellophane” (Young Turks)
• Orville Peck - “Dead of Night” (Sub Pop Records)
• Fontaines D.C. - “Big” (Partisan Records)

For more information about the Libera Awards, visit


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