The 53rd Annual Grammys Goes Indie

In a year that has seen the top of the Billboard charts occupied by a number of indie acts like
Vampire Weekend and Arcade Fire, the 53rd Annual Grammy Awards has decided to give these acts their well-deserved time in the spotlight.

While the Grammy Awards is typically a chance for the major labels to pat themselves on the back for a job well done, the current climate of music industry has forced some of the focus away from the blockbuster pop-stars like Justin Bieber and Katy Perry and shifted it to the year’s indie success stories.

The most astonishing “Little Engine That Could” story of the year is evidence of this. British folk band Mumford & Sons is not only nominated in the category for Best New Artist, but they will also perform a salute to acoustic music with Bob Dylan and the Avett Brothers. Mumford & Sons debut album, Sigh No More (Glassnote), has sold over 700,000 copies since it came out in late 2009 and peaked at #3 on the Billboard charts. They are a true example of long-tail success in an otherwise diminished music industry that relies on flash-in-the-pan artists to hit annual projections.

Mumford & Sons is not the only indie band that will be performing live at the Grammys. Everyone’s favorite Canadian indie heroes Arcade Fire, whose third album The Suburbs (Merge) hit #1 on both the U.S. and U.K. charts, are set to perform one of their latest hits. They are also up for the prestigious Album of the Year Award for The Suburbs, but faces stiff major label competition from Eminem, Katy Perry, Lady Antebellum and Lady Gaga. While the Arcade Fire remains a long shot to take home the hardware, Nonstop Sound is certainly pulling for them.

Let’s also not forget New York’s own Vampire Weekend who also enjoyed the success of #1 record on the Billboard Top 200 with their second album Contra that was released on the independent label XL in early 2011. The album received a nomination for Best Alternative Music Album alongside Arcade Fire’s The Suburbs and albums from Broken Bells, Band of Horses and Black Keys. It may be difficult for Contra to get the nod when The Suburbs is also nominated for Album of the Year, but my fingers are doubly crossed for these hometown nice guys.

The 53rd Grammy Awards will take place on Sunday, February 13 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA and will be broadcasted on CBS beginning at 8pm. Put on your skinnest jeans, a nice flannel and bath in the recognition of your favorite indie rockers.

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