Indie acts dominate ARIA noms


SYDNEY -- Independent label acts dominate the nominations for the annual Australian Recording Industry Assn. awards, announced Wednesday at the Sydney State Theatre.

Topping the list with six nominations was Sydney dance act Sneaky Sound System (Whack Recordings). Its nods are in the best group, single of the year, album of the year, dance, independent and breakthrough categories.

The act is made up of singer Connie Stevens, MC Double D and producer/songwriter Black Angus. According to its label, the trio's self-titled debut album sold 100,000 units (platinum is 70,000) domestically this year.

Sneaky Sound System's appearance on the Sydney Live8 concert in July drew interest from labels in the United States, manager Amber Zada, of Bacon Fat Mamma Management, tells Billboard. biz. The act is currently touring in the United Kingdom and Europe.

Fellow indie roots act John Butler Trio (Jarrah Music) collected five nominations, while rock band Silverchair (Eleven A Music Company) and singer-songwriter Goyte (Creative Vibes) collected four each.

Universal Music Australia's multi-platinum rock band Powderfinger also picked up a quartet of nominations.

Further multi-nominees were singer-songwriter Josh Pyke (Ivy League Records) with three, quirky Queensland teen pop band Operator Please (Virgin/EMI) with two, and Missy Higgins (Eleven A Music Company) with one.

The nominations are based on votes by 1,000 executives from all sectors of the music business.

The winners will be announced at the ARIA Awards ceremony on Sunday Oct. 28 at Acer Arena before a crowd of 6,000, to be aired on free-to-air TV channel Network Ten. So far, Powderfinger, Silverchair, Sneaky Sound System, John Butler Trio and Missy Higgins are confirmed to play.

ARIA also announced the winners of its technical categories, the Artisan Awards, today. Producer of the year went to Josh Pyke and Wayne Connolly for Pyke's debut album "Memories And Dust" (Ivy League Records). Connolly also received the engineer award for the same release.

Film directors Paul Goldman and Alice Bell took best video for Silverchair's chart-topping "Straight Lines" single. Aaron Hayward & David Homer, who work as design team Debaser, won best cover art for Powderfinger's "Dream Days at the Hotel Existence."

Winners in the classical, jazz, world music and soundtrack/cast/show recording categories will be announced Oct. 15.