New York-based rock acts TV On The Radio and Interpol took top honors at last night’s (Feb. 9) Plug Awards in New York City. TV On The Radio won album of the year for its Touch & Go release “Desperate Youth, Bloodthirsty Babes,” while Interpol was named artist of the year.
Other top winners included the Arcade Fire, new artist of the year, Jean Grae, female artist of the year, and Tom Waits, male artist of the year. With a total of 24 categories, the Plug Awards aimed to recognize the artists, labels, publications, retailers and bloggers that strengthen the independent community.
The awards were handed out at New York’s Webster Hall and featured performances by Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, RJD2, the Dillinger Escape Plan and Sufjan Stevens. Winners were tallied by online voting, which ended on Feb. 3. Approximately 10,000 people were believed to have voted.
The Plug Awards began in 2001 as the brainchild of Gerry Hart, head of sales for artist administration and management company World’s Fair and a contributor to CMJ. This is the first the Plug Awards have been held since their initial year, and at that time, Plug was little more than a ballot on the Internet.
Nominations were chosen by a board known as the “Plug Cartel,” including Warp Records founder Steve Beckett, journalist Greg Kot, comedian David Cross, Rough Trade founder Geoff Travis, producer T Bone Burnett, Stones Throw founder Peanut Butter Wolf and Goldenvoice president Paul Tollett, among others.
This is the second independent-focused award the TV On The Radio album has won in recent months, having won the Shortlist Prize late last year in Los Angeles. Nominees for the Shortlist Prize are based on the album’s sales level (below 500,000 U.S. copies at the time of release), whereas Plug nominees are only required to have released their album on an independent label.