Listen Tracks: An AIM Awards 2022 special

We look back at tracks from some of this year’s nominees, including Wet Leg, Rina Sawayama, Dave and more.

This week, the 2022 edition of the AIM Awards will be taking place and, after a couple of more necessarily low-key years, this time they’ll be returning all guns blazing with a huge show at London’s Roundhouse.

As well as featuring performances from the likes of The Libertines and Lethal Bizzle - yep, we bet you never expected those two names in the same sentence - this year’s AIM Awards will once again be shining a light on some of music’s most incredible independent names. From Rina Sawayama and Stormzy - both of whom have been confirmed as special prize winners - through to the likes of Mitski, Fontaines DC and Wet Leg, there’s a literal ton of brilliant acts on the shortlist this year.

And so, in order to help celebrate properly, we’ve dived into DIY’s archive to dig out some of the best and biggest tracks to come from a selection of this year’s nominees. What are you waiting for? Just scroll down to reminisce over the past year with us…

Wet Leg - Too Late Now

How Wet Leg have managed to somehow channel Yeah Yeah Yeahs at their most wide-eyed despite coming from a place (the Isle of Wight) that’s physically separated from the nearest bustling metropolis by a literal ocean we’ll never know, however ‘Too Late Now’ does just that. Twinkling into life atop singer Rhian Teasdale’s sweet and simple vocal, it drops out for a speaky bit that capitalises on the Legs’ knack for a one-liner (“I don’t need no dating app to tell me if I look like crap / To tell me if I’m thin or fat, to tell me should I shave my rat”) before crashing into a Violent Femmes-y finale that’s giddy and joyful in a way that’s increasingly becoming their signature. Looks like they’ve nailed it again. (Lisa Wright)

Wet Leg are nominated for UK Independent Breakthrough in association with YouTube Music, Best Independent Track in association with Meta, and PPL Award for Most Played New Independent Artist.

FKA twigs - Killer

While also possessing the fun, offhand nature that not-quite-album releases offer, January’s ‘Caprisongs’ also showcased a steelier side to FKA twigs: moments that were unashamedly intended to place her firmly in the pop world. ‘Killer’, written alongside long-established hitmakers Jimmy Napes and Amanda Ghost, continues this. The song sees twigs’ singular sonic palette placed around an immediate, made-for-radio chorus: pop magic, without losing any of her artistic identity. (Bella Martin)

FKA twigs is nominated for Best Independent Video in association with VEVO, Best Independent Track in association with Meta, and Best Independent EP/Mixtape.

Walt Disco - How Cool Are You?

Centred around a sing-song merry-go-round chant that has more than a hint of the Bugsy Malones to its “la la la”s, this track from theatrical Glaswegian sextet Walt Disco is as gloriously unpredictable a romp as we’ve come to expect from the group. The icy ‘80s pouts and operatic vocal trills are present and correct, but musically - entering into debut LP ‘Unlearning’ - they’re trying all sorts of new tricks. A Viennese waltz of a piano dances about somewhere in the background, bombastic crescendoes of vocals and overdriven guitar notes punctuate at random intervals, and the whole thing feels plucked out of a wonderful fever dream. How cool are they? Very, as we already knew. (Lisa Wright)

Walt Disco are nominated for Best Independent Album in association with Spotify.

Nova Twins - Puzzles

Nova Twins do blazing bad bitch rock anthems like no other band, and in the run up to their second album ‘Supernova’, they’ve been on explosive form. With female empowerment at the centre of their mission, the notion of them writing a sultry sex positive rager seems incredibly fitting, and they slip into their sexy side effortlessly. “Big band candy man, give a girl a bone/Don’t want you to love me, you just need to make me moan,” frontwoman Amy Love purrs over buzzing, hot-blooded riffs with spike of R’n’B influence. If the quality of this and the singles that have come before it are anything to go by, ‘Supernova’ will be utterly thrilling. (Emma Wilkes)

Nova Twins are nominated for UK Independent Breakthrough in association with YouTube Music, and Best Independent Track in association with Meta.

Dave feat. Stormzy - Clash

Dave announcing his second album with a Stormzy feature is already a flex, but ‘Clash’ is brimming with them: not least its video centred around the Aston Martin factory (“Dave’s got the new Aston Martin plug, could you get me one? / He said, ‘No need to be rentin’ one’”). And for every outright brag (“My AP cost thirty-one, milimeters: forty-one”, “Crocodile bag, I bought her one”) there’s a witty pop culture reference (“Off the set, they storm like Piers”, “I’m Pep, I ball with flair”, “Got away with murder, this that Viola Davis one”). (Louisa Dixon)

Dave is nominated for Best Independent Track in association with Meta, and Best Independent Album in association with Spotify.

Nilüfer Yanya - Stabilise

Nilüfer Yanya’s ‘stabilise’, the first preview of second album ‘PAINLESS’, sees her sing about the claustrophobia of living in a city, where “nothing goes above the high rise”. This sense of inescapable grey is transmitted perfectly via tense, skittish instrumentation, with guitars and drums interlocking in the style of Radiohead’s ‘In Rainbows’ as Yanya sings with a fervent intensity like we haven’t heard from her before. The genius of ‘stabilise’, though, is how it transcends its cramped setting and becomes a soaring euphoric escape, like she could fly high above the buildings and far away. (Will Richards)

Nilüfer Yanya is nominated for Best Independent Album in association with Spotify, and Best [Difficult] Second Album in association with BBC6 Music.

Fontaines DC - The Couple Across The Way

An outlier in Fontaines DC’s discography, ‘The Couple Across The Way’ is a tender and reflective song written by Grian Chatten about the warring elderly couple who lived across the street from his tiny North London flat. On the song, written with just Chatten’s voice and an accordion, he reflects on relationships and the passing of time with beautiful sincerity and thoughtfulness, and its recent music video adds further context to the gorgeous tale. (Will Richards)

Fontaines DC are nominated for Best Creative Campaign in association with Able.

Mitski - The Only Heartbreaker

While Mitski’s offering ‘Working for the Knife’ - the first to be showcased from her album ‘Laurel Hell’ - was a more brooding affair, building into a powerful crescendo, it’s on ‘The Only Heartbreaker’ that things feel that little more to the point. ’80s style synths bloom into life from the off, while the track’s lyrics feel instantly direct and honed: “If you would just make one mistake / What a relief that would be / But I think for as long as we’re together / I’ll be the only heartbreaker.” A frank but powerful reminder that things aren’t always what they seem. (Sarah Jamieson)

Mitski is nominated for Best Live Performer, International Breakthrough in association with Deezer, and Best Creative Campaign in association with Able.

Amyl and the Sniffers - Guided By Angels

Like with anything, discussing bands is a matter of context, and so while Amyl and the Sniffers’ comeback track is - for them - a slightly more refined affair, that’s not to say that singer Amy Taylor sounds anything less than a feral wildcat trying to punch her way out of a cage. Still, there is something a little more polished to the guitars that stab throughout ‘Guided By Angels’, the rowdy recorded-in-a-cupboard feel of the Sniffers’ early material given an injection of, well most likely cash. It suits them though, allowing Amy’s wild-eyed declarations of “I’ve got plenty of energy” (no shit, Sherlock) to sound even more passionate within a stronger framework. (Lisa Wright)

Amyl and the Sniffers are nominated for International Breakthrough in association with Deezer.

Rina Sawayama - ‘Holy (Til You Let Me Go)’

‘Holy (Til You Let Me Go)’, a highlight of Rina Sawayama’s new album ‘Hold The Girl’, was presented in demo form to a number of producers, with the floor open to the track going in any direction. The producer’s version she chose to go with was from For Those I Love, who adds a distinctive, soaring sound to the club anthem. It’s one of many examples on the new record of Rina dipping gleefully into every corner of the pop landscape with help from some of the best around. (Will Richards)

Rina Sawayama has won the AIM award for Innovator in association with Amazon Music.

Tags: Nova Twins, AIM Awards, Listen, Features, Tracks

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