Due to the untimely arrival of an epic storm that was expected to grind America’s Finest City to a halt with up to one-quarter inch of rain, the 2013 San Diego Music Awards were pushed back one week to Oct. 16. Even though the postponement dampened some spirits, it’s given us some extra time at the water cooler to place our bets on who will be taking home some of the evening’s biggest awards.
Album of the Year: The Burning of Rome's With Us
Delta Spirit took home this trophy last year, beating out local favorites Crocodiles and Blink-182. The win was a coup d’état, if you will, considering that people were already scratching their heads about what an L.A./N.Y.-based band was doing in the running to begin with. This year, we’re going with the only choice that makes sense: With Us, by the Burning of Rome. Even though all signs point to Pinback probably snagging this category, we’re suckers for upsets, and this one fits the bill. The group has generated massive buzz -- not only in town but on a national scale -- while touring the country nonstop since its album’s release.
Best Music Video: “There Is No God," by Mrs. Magician
All the videos in this category are legitimate contenders. It’s no secret that, sometimes, the biggest name in a category result in instant wins, but there isn’t a courtesy inclusion in the bunch. Being a new category, we don’t have a lot of data to analyze so we’re simply going with our office fave.
Artist of the Year: The Heavy Guilt
Honestly, there were arguments over this one. Little Hurricane’s camp nearly came to blows with the dudes in Pinback’s corner (one guy’s beanie got seriously trampled), but a small but dedicated faction of fans of alt-rock juggernauts the Heavy Guilt started throwing off our trophy spidey sense. It’s no secret they’ve been winning over music lovers one dynamic, soulful, rock jam after another over the years. And while the band has steadily evolved with each album, it has definitely come into its own, and it's the Heavy Guilt's year. (Full disclosure: The Heavy Guilt's lyricist/percussionist Alfred Howard is a contributor to SoundDiego.com -- Ed.)
Best Live Band: The Styletones
This category is stacked, too, as anyone who's ever seen the Silent Comedy, the Creepy Creeps or the Burning of Rome can attest. But for our money (and we've got a lot riding on it), we're going with San Diego funk/soul maestros the Styletones. No one in town does it better or with as much style as these guys. Stevie Harris, their frontman extraordinaire, prowls the stage like a man possessed and ventures out into the crowd in his trademark white suit and sunglasses, making people dance who never thought they'd dance again (cue "Careless Whisper"). If that ain't the mark of a truly awe-inspiring live band, we don't know what is.
(Full disclosure: Dustin Lothspeich is nominated for four San Diego Music Awards as a member of Boy King, Chess Wars and Old Tiger, which are not nominees in any of these categories-- Ed.)