With 2014 coming to a close, there's no better time than now to debut our very own, first-ever SoundDiego Music Awards. OK, so we're not quite handing out any trophies or oversize checks, but sometimes a little recognition goes a long way. We surround ourselves with, and hopefully spread the word about, San Diego acts all year long, and we think it's only fitting to do a year-end roundup of sorts. For what it's worth, we settled on eight categories that we feel matter the most, and surveyed our SoundDiego team in a highly unscientific voting method for their nominees. After tallying the votes at a top secret bunker, the results are in. Without further adieu, we're proud to announce the winners. Who would you nominate for these? Leave us a comment below and let us know.
Best Live Band
There’s a reason 91x handpicked Schitzophonics to open their Wrex the Halls rock extravaganza -– they knew the fuzz rock trio would be a tough act to follow. This band is simply unebelievable live, and if you've never seen 'em, you seriously need to do something about that the first chance you get -- oh, and on that note, you should probably go ahead and RSVP to our next SoundDiego LIVE party since they're set to perform with We Are Scientists and Nicky Venus also on the bill [RSVP here].
Best New Artist
(Tie) Shady Francos/Prayers
We witnessed Shady Francos firsthand at our November SoundDiego LIVE, and like us, everyone who was there immediately fell in love with their energetic psych rock. That’s the sign of an absolutely killer band. [Watch them in action here] Prayers are an entirely different animal. They burst onto the scene this year with a visceral brand of electro goth that had music fans like our own Dita Quinones scrambling to pick up their record [read her profile on their "Gothic Summer" video here], and had bands like the Cult calling them to open their SoCal shows. Pure insanity.
Concert of the Year
Nine Inch Nails at Sleep Train Amphitheatre
This category had some pretty stiff competition but in the end, the Nine Inch Nails/Soundgarden show got the most votes. The double whammy of hard-rock juggernaut co-headliners aside, Trent Reznor and Co. were on top of their game and arguably delivered the performance of the year. [Read our show review here / See our photos from the show]
Unforgettable Music Moment of the Year (Five way tie)
Paul McCartney at Petco: It’d been 40 years since Macca hit San Diego, and when he returned, it was everything we had hoped for, and more. Simply unforgettable.
Kirk Hammett with Exodus at Comic Con: Metallica’s lead guitarist teamed up with an all-star cast of metalheads -- along with his old band Exodus -- at this packed-to-the-gills Comic Con afterparty at F6ix. [See our photo gallery from the show here]
Jacuzzi Boys kissing each other at our SoundDiego TV shoot: The guys from Jacuzzi Boys had a grand old time and got in some lip-smacking fun during their SoundDiego TV video shoot with Dita Quinones. Always a riot, the band made this video shoot extra great. [Watch their segment here]
Ms. Lauryn Hill's two-night stand at the North Park Theatre: The hip-hop/soul songstress finally made her way back in a big way this year, and needless to say, her two shows in town were truly epic. [See our photo gallery from the show here]
Mariachi El Bronx at SoundDiego LIVE: Maybe we’re just a little biased on this one but the roaring from the crowd while Mariachi El Bronx were onstage made everything we do all year long completely worth it. It was incredible. [Watch our video here]
Break Out Artist of 2015
Prayers may have tied for Best New Artist, but 2015 is their year. If the duo can keep their momentum up and capitalize on the insane amount of press they’ve been getting (we’ve heard even Travis Barker’s a huge fan) – the sky’s the limit.
Album of the Year
The Burning of Rome, “Year of the Ox"
Nearly impossible to describe, this record spans genres like punk rock, glam rock, psych folk, gypsy, spaghetti Western and good ol’ arena anthems -- all at the same time. It’s so good, it ended up in our SoundDiego Record Club [read our review here], and we haven’t been able to stop listening to it since.
Song of the Year
Hideout, “Where You’ve Been”
This new duo of Cults members Cory Stier (who also books Soda Bar and drums in Mrs. Magician), and Gabe Rodriguez popped up out of nowhere this year with an impressive debut album and this sweet, soaring lead single that we’ve had on repeat [hear it here]. You can catch the band's local live debut at Soda Bar on Saturday.
Artist of the Year
The Burning of Rome
This quintet of awesomeness have been crisscrossing the nation since the release of “Year of the Ox” this year (which might as well have been titled "Year of TBOR"), making a splash with their insane live performances wherever they go [watch them at SxSW right here]. Even though they've been at it for a few years, we have a feeling they're just getting started and we couldn't be more thrilled to see where they go.