Loyal readers and local-music fans have already noted that we have moved the Best Music Poll and Portland Music Awards show from its previous time of the year (late spring and early summer) to early winter. The BMP/PMA event used to follow almost immediately from our annual Best of Portland poll and awards show; two back-to-back events was too much, and a year too long to wait in the interval, so we spread them out a bit. Change always comes with a bit of risk, but we are pleased to report that even in the post-Halloween sugar crash and the often-frantic lead-up to Thanksgiving, thousands of you took time to tell us your opinions about who’s best in the Portland music scene this year. It’s no surprise that the big winner was a fantastic all-around guy who is also among the hardest-working: Spose released nearly 50 tracks this year alone. Congratulations to all the winners, and big thanks to all in the community who participate in the musical life of the Forest City — whether by making music, handling sound boards and lights, getting up in front of crowds, or applauding from the wings, you make our life more than a little bit better. And to those of you who take part by attending live shows and buying local music, the biggest thanks of all: Without the audiences, all this energy and talent would be unnoticed, unappreciated, and unsupported. We are all lucky to have each other.
_Jeff Inglis, managing editor
BEST ACT + BEST HIP-HOP ACT + BEST SONG: Spose + “All Rs”
SPOSE | Photo by Peter Jensen Bissell
It’s an insult to call Spose one of the smartest rappers you’ll ever meet. He’s one of the smartest people you’ll ever meet. And the hardest worker. And the most humble. Pack that together with charm and talent and you’ve got a special kind of artist.
“All Rs” is wholly unlike the pop hit that made him famous, and if you hear it in passing, it may not instantly grab you. But holy shit does it hold up to repeated listens. Get past the gimmick, that literally all of the hundreds of words in the song start with the letter R. Listen to the way he can still craft a narrative from that, how he groups the rounded enunciations into staccato syllables that meld effortlessly with the bounding beat.
Then watch the video. Do the scavenger hunt. See Jay Caron cut the sample back. Dive into Spose’s world of Roomball and Wells, Maine, and being broke and not giving a fuck. Then go listen to “All Rs” 20 more times in a row. See if you can’t. | pdank.com
Runners-up for Best Act: Rustic Overtones, Mallett Brothers Band, Murcielago
Runners-up for Best Hip-hop Act: Trails, Brzowski, Eyenine and Shupe
Runners-up for Best Song: Anna Lombard, “Leave Town”; Spencer, “California Calling”; Coalsack in Crux, “Blackeyed Beauty”