IMPALA European Independent Album of the Year Award 2011

This award is a mercury-style award which celebrates the musical talent and diversity of independent European releases, aiming to promote exceptional artists and the independent sector alike. The winner is selected from a shortlist based on a national and non-national album nominations from European territories. A jury of Impala board members choose the winner based on musical merit alone. The criteria for nominations and the selection process may well evolve with the progression of the award.

The nominated albums for the 2011 edition of the award are listed below, along with the label and nationality. Album reviews and further information can be viewed by clicking on the artists’ names. Nominated albums were required to have been released in 2011 (1st January - 31st December), on a European independent label.




Country of Artist

Country of Label



XL Recordings

United Kingdom

United Kingdom

Ane Brun

It All Starts With One

Balloon Ranger Recordings



Arrayan Path

Ira Imperium

Pitch Black Records



Claude Hugo

Claude Hugo




Hladno Pivo

Svijet Glamura





New Brigade




Justyna Majkowska

Zakochana Od Jutra




Kaizers Orchestra

Violeta Violeta Vol. 1

Petroleum Records



Kitty, Daisy & Lewis

Smoking In Heaven

Sunday Best

United Kingdom

United Kingdom

Little Dragon

Ritual Union



United Kingdom


Hurry Up We’re Dreaming




Maia Vidal

God Is My Bike

Crammed Discs








Nick & Simon

Symphonica in Rosso

Volendam Music

The Netherlands

The Netherlands

Ocho Macho

Online A Vilag

CLS Music




Human Technology

Muve Recordings



Raphael Gualazzi

Reality and Fantasy

Sugar Music








Selah Sue

Selah Sue

Because Music





Young Turks

United Kingdom

United Kingdom

Sigur Ros




United Kingdom

The Glockenwise

Building Waves

Lovers & Lollypops



Vetusta Morla


Pequeno Salto Mortal



For further information on this and other IMPALA Awards, please visit our website here.

Artist: Adele                                                                        Back to List
Album: 21
Label: XL Recordings
Adele is an English singer-songwriter. She was offered a recording contract from XL Recordings after a friend posted her demos on Myspace in 2006. The next year she received the Brit Awards "Critics' Choice" and won the BBC Sound of 2008. Adele released her second album, 21 in 2011. The album was well received critically and surpassed the success of her debut commercially. 21 has been certified 14 times platinum in the UK; and in the US the album became the longest an album has held the top position since 1998. The success of 21 earned Adele numerous mentions in the Guinness Book Of World Records. She is the first artist to sell more than 3 million copies of an album in a year in the UK. With her two albums and the first two singles from 21, "Rolling in the Deep" and "Someone Like You", Adele became the first living artist to achieve the feat of two top five hits in both the UK Official Singles Chart and the Official Albums Chart simultaneously since the Beatles in 1964. Adele has also received two Grammy awards.   





Artist: Ane Brun                                                                    Back to List
Album: It All Starts With One
Label: Balloon Ranger Recordings
Ane Brun (born Ane Brunvoll on 10 March 1976 in Molde, Norway) is a songwriter, guitarist and vocalist. Since 2003 she has recorded eight albums, four of which are studio albums, a live DVD and a collection of duets. She has lived in Stockholm, Sweden since 2001, where she writes, records and runs her own label (Balloon Ranger Recordings) when not on tour.







Artist: Arrayan Path                                                                       Back to List
Album: Ira Imperium
Label: Pitch Black Records

A follow-up to 2010's highly acclaimed “Terra Incognita” (nominated for IMPALA’s European Independent Album of the Year Award) Arrayan Path's third album, “Ira Imperium” can only be described with one word: masterpiece! Fans of melodic epic power metal should brace themselves! “Ira Imperium” features a guest appearance by the legendary Tony Martin (ex BLACK SABBATH) and also sees the return of Vagelis Maranis (SANVOISEN) lending his voice on several songs. (Source: Pitch Black Records website)






Artist: Claude Hugo                                                           Back to List
Album: Claude Hugo
Label: Five-O Music/Fakto Records

Claude Hugo is the jazz alter ego of musician/producer Wim Arys.
This project started around the time he won Studio Brussel's remix contest for Marc Moulin's 'Into The Dark' (EMI, Blue Note) in 2002. Until his untimely death in 2008, Mr. Moulin became somewhat of a mentor, giving advice and providing feedback on compositions as well as giving introductions to jazz musicians and music industry in...siders like DJ Smash. Since then, Claudz’s repertoire and influences have grown to incorporate more elements of soul and funk. Other tracks on this album include guest performances by diverse artists like Jim Cole, Bart Maris (dEUS, Zeta Swoon, Marc Moulin,…) Laurens Smagghe (Sioen, Barbie Bangkok), and beatboxer Fatty K. (Source: official biography)  






Artist: Hladno Pivo                                                                    Back to List
Album: Svijet Glamura
Label: Menart

Hladno Pivo is a Croatian punk rock band formed in 1988. Svijet glamura (English: The World of Glamour) is their seventh studio album, and their first in four years. Tracks were written in January 2011 in Jelov Klanac near the Plitvice Lakes National Park   and then recorded in February at the RSL Production recording studio in Novo Mesto, Slovenia. The band's frontman, Mile Kekin, has described the album's sound as influenced by the music of Foo Fighters and Gogol Bordello.






Artist: Iceage                                                             Back to List
Album: New Brigade
Label: Tambourhinoceros

New Brigade is the debut album from Danish punk rock band Iceage. The album, recorded in 4 days, has received much critical praise: Pitchfork placed the album at number 37 on its list of the "Top 50 albums of 2011" while Uncut placed it at number 46.





Artist: Justyna Majkowska                                       Back to List
Album: Zakochana Od Jutra
Label: Anaconda

Justyna Majkowska (born Zdu?ska Wola, 17 July 1977) is a Polish singer. Her career started with the band Erato. Next, she was a member of Ich Troje, which represented Poland in the Eurovision Song Contest 2003 in Riga with the 7th place song "Keine Grenzen - ?adnych Granic. Zakochana Od Jutra is her first solo album with Anaconda.

Artist: Kaizers Orchestra                                                            Back to List
Album : Violeta Violeta Vol. 1
Label : Petroleum Records
Kaizers Orchestra is a Norwegian alternative rock group formed in  2000.  Kaizers Orchestra are notable for being among the first non-black metal Norwegian bands or artists singing in their native language to become popular beyond Scandinavia. To other Norwegians, the band is instantly recognizable both because of their unique, unpredictable style, and because of vocalist Ottesen's marked Jæren dialect, shared by four of the other band members.










Artist: Kitty, Daisy & Lewis                                                         Back to List
Album: Smoking In Heaven
Label: Sunday Best

Kitty, Daisy & Lewis is a three-piece band comprising the siblings of the Durham family. Their music is influenced heavily by R&B, swing, jump blues, country and Western, blues, Hawaiian and rock 'n' roll. They are all multi-instrumentalists playing guitar, piano, banjo, lapsteel guitar, harmonica, double bass, ukulele, drums, trombone, xylophone and accordion between them. Smoking In Heaven is their fourth album.







Artist: Little Dragon                                                             Back to List
Album: Ritual Union
Label: Pecefrog
Little Dragon is a Swedish electronic band, formed in Gothenburg in 1996. Ritual Union is their third studio album, released on 25 July 2011. The album debuted at number twenty-two on the UK Albums Chart. Upon its release, Ritual Union received generally positive reviews from most music critics, with a five star review from The Daily Telegraph. Uncut placed the album at number 37 on its list of "Top 50 albums of 2011".






Artist: M83                                                                 Back to List
Album: Hurry Up We're Dreaming
Label: Naïve
Hurry Up, We're Dreaming is the sixth studio album by French electronic band M83, formed in 2001 by French musician Anthony Gonzalez. The musical style of M83 owes something to the shoegazing genre in its extensive use of reverb effects and lyrics spoken softly over loud instrumentals. Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming was released on 18 October 2011 by Naïve Records. Critics have noted musical influences from '80s artists such as Kraftwerk, Simple Minds, Peter Gabriel and Harold Faltermeyer, as well as modern electronic artists such as Cut Copy. The album came 3rd in Pitchfork’s 2011 Albums of the Year list.







Artist: Maia Vidal                                                               Back to List
Album: God Is My Bike
Label: Crammed Discs
Maïa Vidal (born in Santa Barbara, California in 1988) is an American born composer, songwriter, musician, and visual artist. Currently based in Europe (primarily Barcelona and Paris), she has toured in Europe, Canada, and the United States. Barcelona design company Desigual commissioned Vidal to compose music for the "Dreams 2011" ad campaign featuring designs by Christian Lacroix. While writing and recording new material she transitioned to using her given name, Maïa Vidal, as her performance name. Her first effort as 'Maïa Vidal', 'God is my Bike' was recorded in Barcelona and was released in Europe and Japan by the Belgian label Crammed Discs.







Artist: Modeselektor                                                                       Back to List
Album: Monkeytown
Label: Monkeytwon
Modeselektor is an electronic music band formed in Berlin, featuring Gernot Bronsert and Sebastian Szary. The group draws heavily from IDM, glitch, Electro house and hip hop. Monkeytwon is their third LP.





Artist: Nick & Simon                                                               Back to List
Album: Symphonica In Rosso
Label: Volendam Music

Nick & Simon is a Dutch singer-songwriter duo composed of Simon Keizer and Nick Schilder. They have released four studio albums since their self-titled debut in 2006, three of which have reached Number 1 in the Dutch charts. Nick had his first appearance on TV on Idols, the Dutch version of American Idol, where he became 11th. With his good friend Simon, they began to perform together. Nick and Simon were the most booked artists in the Netherlands in 2007. The duo were coaches in the first and the second season of The Voice of Holland.






Artist: Ocho Macho                                                                          Back to List
Album: Online A Vilag
Label: CLS Music
Ocho Macho is a Hungarian band formed in Szombathely, Hungary in 2003 playing a unique mixture of reggae, ska, Latin, and punk musical genres, which they call "huppogás". Online a Vilag is their second album.





Artist: Pegasus                                                          Back to List
Album: Human Technology
Label: Muve Recordings
Albeit only in their early twenties, the four lads of Pegasus have already gained a hardened and substantial amount of routine from their touring experiences from small dive venues all the way to the big stage of the „Stade de Suisse“. With Human Technology, they have created 11 new songs, which many of their onlookers probably would have never expected from them, adding levels of modern influences, which Pegasus somehow seemed to have neglected in the past such as dance, R’n’B or the epic rock gesture.

Artist: Raphael Gualazzi                                                                Back to List
Album: Reality And Fantasy
Label: Sugar Music
Raffaele Gualazzi (born 11 November 1981 in Urbino), better known as Raphael Gualazzi, is an Italian singer and pianist. On 19 February 2011, Gualazzi was chosen among the participants at the Sanremo Festival 2011 to represent Italy at the Eurovision Song Contest 2011, held in Düsseldorf, Germany. Gualazzi was the first Italian singer to represent the country since the Eurovision Song Contest 1997. "Madness of Love" finished second of 43 countries of all Europe.













Artist: Rubik                                                                  Back to List
Album: Solar
Label: Fullsteam
With three successful full-length albums behind them in their home of Helsinki, Finland, synthpop act Rubik attempts to be the first Finnish band to cross over into international pop consciousness since Hanoi Rocks. For (…) Solar, Rubik pulls off an electropop record that manages to touch on so many of Phoenix’s and of Montreal’s buoyant, poppy qualities without ever dipping into the cloying territory that other similar-sounding artists are often found guilty of entering. (Source: Consequence of Sound).







Artist: Selah Sue                                                               Back to List
Album: Selah Sue
Label: Because Music
Selah Sue is a Belgian musician and songwriter. Her debut album Selah Sue was a major success, selling over 400.000 copies in Europe, 200.000 in France alone. Today, she has chart success with the hit singles 'Raggamuffin', 'Crazy Vibes' and 'This World'. In 2011, Selah Sue won an European Border Breakers Award (EBBA). In January 2012 during the EBBA award ceremony she was presented with the EBBA Public Choice Award.






Artist: SBTRKT                                                               Back to List
Label: Young Turks
SBTRKT (pronounced as "subtract") is the stage name of Aaron Jerome, a musician and producer from London. SBTRKT began his career as a DJ in the east London club "Plastic People". SBTRKT has remixed songs by artists such as M.I.A, Radiohead, Modeselektor, Basement Jaxx, Mark Ronson and Underworld, and has released singles, EPs, and this self-titled album. SBTRKT's music is a mixture of two-step, UK funky, dubstep, US R’n’B and Chicago house.

To further support his anonymity, SBTRKT wears modern interpretations of native society ceremonial masks designed by Hidden Place.





Artist: Sigur Ros                                                               Back to List
Album: Inni
Label: Krunk

Sigur Rós is an Icelandic post-rock band known for its ethereal sound, frontman Jónsi Birgisson's falsetto vocals, the use of bowed guitar and for incorporating elements of classical and minimalist into their music.

Inni is a live motion picture and album released in 2011. The concert footage was directed by Vincent Morisset and filmed at the Alexandra Palace in 2008. It was released on various formats, including vinyl, DVD, Blu-ray and CD. It contains live tracks from all but one of the band's five studio albums, and features the latest album, Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust, prominently.


Artist: The Glockenwise                                                             Back to List
Album: Building Waves
Label: Lovers & Lollypops

Portuguese punk rock band signed to Portuguese DIY label Lovers & Lollypops and distributed by Popstock Recs.


Artist: Vetusta Morla                                                               Back to List
Album: Mapas
Label: Pequeno Salto Mortal
Vetusta Morla is a Spanish alternative rock band from Tres Canots (Madrid area), singing in Spanish. They have been active for more than 10 years and Mapas is their third album.