News May 30, 2019

Five dynamic indie labels make it to AIR nominations list

Five dynamic indie labels make it to AIR nominations list

The Australian Independent Record Labels Association (AIR) has narrowed its label nomination list to five.

The winner is announced at the in Adelaide on July 25 before the country’s independent sector.

The winner gets a digital marketing package valued at $20,000 from ticketing company moshtix to showcase their talents.


Aside from spotlighting triple j supported music like Hottest 100 and Like A Version series ABC Music also highlights country music, the latest being Lee Kernaghan’s Backroad Nation and Golden Guitars 2019.

ABC Music pushes the envelope, using rock names as Dan Sultan and Regurgitator for children’s projects, Kate Miller-Heidke to work with orchestras, and bringing chill-out vibes to classical music piano and guitar.


With the motto “Making a label is creating the world you want to see,” Chapter Music’s Guy Blackman and Ben O’Connor have since 1992 been throwing up left-of-centre music that pushed the envelope.

Their current crop heavy on the TMN playlist includes The Goon Sax, Honey 2 Honey, Sweet Whirl, Laura Jean, Lakes, Gregor, Little Ugly Girls and School Damage.


Cooking Vinyl Australia – set up in 2013 by Leigh Gruppetta, Stu Harvey and Martin Goldschmidt – works with a variety of international and domestic label partners in addition to signing artists directly.

The latter include Luca Brasi, Ceres, Baroness, Endless Heights, Boydos, High Tension and latest signings, Eliza & The Delusionals.


Starting in late 2009, four housemates threw a house party to pay off some gas bills.

Their creed was always to give exposure to the sort of acts that their favourite record companies would sign.

Some of them like DZ Deathrays, Violent Soho and DMAs went on to find global success.

I OH YOU, now part of Mushroom Group, is working on the next generation of hitmakers as Brightness, Day Wave, Green Buzzard, Jack River, Mossy and Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs.

They’re already working on two more acts under cover until they’re ready.


Spirit Level is an artist-run music label based in Melbourne with its own studio, and set up in 2014 by electronic musician and broadcaster Tim Shiel and Basics drummer Wally de Backer who was behind the Gotye solo project.

The label covers a diverse range of acts from all over Australia as well as exotic Vermont and Oslo.

Aside from Shiel, the roster has Braille Face, Donald Hugh, Telling, Happy Axe, Wauwatosa, Hemm and Zammuto.

In 2018, the Best Independent Label trophy went to Milk! Records.

Its co-founder Jen Cloher said, “Winning last year was a wonderful recognition of all the hard work that so many of us do behind the scenes in the independent music community.

“To know that your peers and friends are judging, makes it feel even more special.

“We wish this year’s nominees all the best.”

The awards are part of Indie-Con Australia (July 25 & 26) which will explore topics including sync, mental health, insights into China, label leadership, technology, e-sports and video gaming, as well as provide professional development and industry networking opportunities.

Keynote speakers are IMPALA executive chair Helen Smith and New York-based Mom + Pop co-president Thaddeus Rudd.

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