Will alternative acts score major Grammy nominations?

Although Grammy nominations won’t be announced until later this year, indie/alternative acts the Black Keys and Florence + the Machine look to be early frontrunners for major nominations. Both artists released critically and commercially successful albums near the end of 2011 and will have eligible material for next year’s Grammys.

The Black Keys released five albums before finally scoring Grammy recognition last year for “Brothers,” their sixth studio album. That album earned five nominations and won three: Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group and Best Rock Song for “Tighten Up” and Best Alternative Music Album. Earlier this year, the Keys scored a Pop Duo/Group nomination for “Dearest.”

Their latest album, “El Camino,” has received universal acclaim and is selling well. It’d be surprising if they didn’t score additional Grammy nominations for this effort. Nominations for Album of the Year and Alternative Music Album are a safe bet. Their acclaimed single, “Lonely Boy,” could score nominations in the pop or rock and video fields depending on Grammy submissions. And the single has an outside chance at Record and Song of the Year nominations.

Florence + the Machine earned a Best New Artist nomination in 2010 for their debut album, “Lungs.” Their sophomore album, “Ceremonials,” has matched the acclaim and has nearly surpassed its successor in sales. At this point, an Album of the Year nomination is a safe bet.

Depending on Grammy submissions, look for nominations in the pop, rock, video and alternative fields. The album’s latest singles, “Shake It Off” and “Never Let Me Go,” are big, grandiose songs that seem tailor made for Record and Song of the Year. The latter single is being used to promote the “Titanic 3D” re-release. In addition, lead singer Florence Welch participated in the well-received Aretha Franklin tribute at the 2011 Grammys so her group could be on voters’ radar thanks to the extra exposure.

Sometimes Grammy voters take awhile to embrace alternative, indie singer-songwriter acts. Canadian indie rock band Arcade Fire only received three nominations for their first two albums. However, their third album, “The Suburbs,” was a major breakthrough and won 2010 Album of the Year. And Ddspite being one of indie’s most acclaimed acts, Radiohead didn’t earn any Album of the Year nominations or win a Grammy until the release of “OK Computer,” their third album.  

Both the Black Keys and Florence + the Machine are burgeoning Grammy darlings who are on the brink of growing Grammy momentum and could follow in the footsteps of Radiohead and Arcade Fire with their latest releases.

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