Pffft. That Phoenix Best Music Poll is just a popularity contest! No shit. When you have people voting who’s the best, that’s exactly what it is. As the music world has become increasingly fractured, with thousands of bands each commanding loyal fanbases, it’s nice to have some kind of barometer of what other people like. If lots of people in your city think a particular band are the best around, aren’t you more likely to check them out? The Best Music Poll is that barometer, and the readings are sometimes surprising.
When June 9 rolls around and the Portland Music Awards show begins at 5:30 pm at the Asylum, who’s up and who’s down? Here’s my personal handicapping of what’s going to happen. (I get no sneak peeks at the results.)
- Samuel James 20-1
- Lady Lamb the Beekeeper 12-1
- Pete Kilpatrick Band 2-1
- Rustic Overtones 3-1
- Sparks the Rescue 3-1
- Spose 2-1
On its face, this category should be a slam-dunk for Spose. He’s had tremendous airplay, and all the buzz that comes with signing a major-label record deal in a small town. But don’t be too sure. I think this might actually be reigning champion Kilpatrick’s to lose, with Rustic on his heels.
BEST NEW ACT
- Dead Man’s Clothes 8-1
- Hessian 4-1
- Holy Boys Danger Club 8-1
- Zach Jones 14-1
- Marion Grace 8-1
- Theodore Treehouse 6-1
All these bands have devoted followings, but in niches: Theodore Treehouse are the favorite of the SPACE crowd, Holy Boys of the Empire, Hessian of Geno’s, etc. Because of the huge showing by Geno’s loyalists last year (remember the write-ins for Hatchetface and the Vipers?) I’m picking Hessian to win.
- Spencer and the School Spirit Mafia, Candy, Cake and Ice Cream 3-1
- Honey Clouds, Fall on the Honey Clouds 8-1
- Samuel James, For Rosa, Maeve, and Noreen 6-1
- Rustic Overtones, New Way Out 3-2
- dilly dilly, Of Art and Intention 4-1
- Roy Davis, We Are a Lightning Bolt 6-1
Dilly dilly could surprise people, as she knows how to conduct a Web campaign, and Samuel James has broad appeal. My dark horse is Roy Davis — people love that album.
BEST MALE VOCALIST
- Jacob Augustine 9-1
- Dominic Lavoie, the Lucid 6-1
- Dave Gutter, Rustic Overtones/Paranoid Social Club 2-1
- Jonny Balzano-Brookes, Phantom Buffalo 15-1
- Dean Ford, Goodnight Process 4-1
- Pete Kilpatrick 1-2
For yet another year, I don’t see any way Kilpatrick loses this category, despite the enduring popularity of Gutter, who once made this category his bitch. A lot of great singers here, but none with their broad name recognition.
BEST FEMALE VOCALIST
- Darien Brahms 7-1
- Amanda Gervasi, Gypsy Tailwind 5-1
- Aly Spaltro, Lady Lamb the Beekeeper 4-1
- Marie Moreshead 5-1
- Sara Hallie Richardson 8-1
- Melynda Amann, By Blood Alone 3-1
She was a write-in winner last year, so being on the ballot might actually hurt Melynda. Marie’s had the best year, with a very good EP and lots of face time on big shows, like the Ray LaMontagne/Overtones gig that wound up in the Civic Center.