Connecting the dots

In the local scene, anything goes
By MATT PARISH  |  June 10, 2010

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AWESOME AND MORE AWESOME We’re hoping Girlfriends can headline a bikers-versus-surfers brawl real soon.

Nearly a year has gone by in the city of eternal youth turnover and ageless scenesters — and has anything really changed? Reporting from a cave lined with utterly confusing spreadsheets of Best Music Poll results that my vintage Matthew Broderick WOPR computer refuses to analyze, I'm going to say the answer is yes, with the following trends as totally unscientific back-up.

Check out the complete results from the 2010 Boston Phoenix Best Music Poll.
SCHIZO SCENE| This town is all over the place. In fact, it reminds me of the early '90s, a time in life when I happily made mixtapes off the radio that paired Boyz II Men and Ugly Kid Joe. Call it regression, call it starting over, call it whatever you want. To the undecided music fiend in Boston, all paths are open. Look who topped the Best Local Act category — stright rock like MEAN CREEK, old-school sing-along punk like RAZORS IN THE NIGHT, the shuffling bedroom anthems of MAGIC MAGIC. On top of that, bands from disparate categories like World Music and Garage/Psych have regularly set up shows together. Which means they're not waiting for anyone to connect the dots between the only categories that really matter — awesome bands and more-awesome bands.

VIDEOS HAVE NO COVER CHARGE | Despite what I just wrote, there's an enormous population who will never catch your Tuesday-midnight set over at McDumpy's Way-Off-Any-Bus-Lines Club. But they will take five minutes out of their Facebooking-at-work time to watch your video and pass it along to their friends and everyone else they couldn't figure out how to filter with their privacy settings. Make the new evil empire work for you! Our four Best Local Video winners this year range from TELEVANDALS' glue-and-scissors Michel Gondry approach to WASTED TALENT's drunk Charlie Card road trip. All more than worth your bandwidth.

YOUR FRIEND'S BAND ISN'T PLAYING TONIGHT | Face it: four-band bills can be a bit harsh. BORN OF FIRE (Best Club Night: Rock) makes do with just one, letting the rest of it ride with some quality face time, some videos, and a chance to craft retarded txts to send to the BarCast dealie in the corner. Another option: scrap the bands altogether and take us on a tour through some dark corners of your vinyl collection. If it's as good as Rock Night runner-up PRIMITIVE SOUNDS, we're there. We've been watching the dance scene rule with solid programming and adventurous use of space for years (take a bow, Best Club Night: Dance winner the PILL). It's good to see the guitar people catching up.

GARAGE ROCK, REGROUPED | You thought it went down with the Abbey, but bands like Garage/Psych winners GIRLFRIENDS and third-runners-up NEEDY VISIONS rock Michael Nesmith–approved melody over blown-speaker jams with enough bite to take us past five-years-ago heydays all the way to the real thing. Second-runners-up HANDS AND KNEES represent the acid-tinged, bad-TV-effects tangent, whereas first-runners-up THICK SHAKES command an arsenal of mean pulp kitsch. If these guys could orchestrate some kind of bikers-versus-surfers brawl at the next show, I doubt anyone would complain.

PEOPLE OUTSIDE 495 LIKE MUSIC TOO | I know we're dealing with local bands here, but the All-Ages Act category threw things into a kind of Alice in Wonderland upside-downness. First-runners-up GIRLS LIKE BOYS are currently on a tour where, every night, Good Charlotte and Third Eye Blind are opening for them. Winners A LOSS FOR WORDS are hitting blogs upside the head with a Motown covers album and selling varsity jackets to teens across the country. It's enough to make most bands' monthly flyer run up and down Harvard Avenue feel a bit lonely.

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