With the 2018 San Diego Music Awards right around the corner (March 19 at House of Blues y'all), we’ve decided to consult our trusty crystal ball, peer into the future, and drop our predictions on who might (or should) win a few of the gala's most prestigious awards. (By the way, here's a pro tip: Enter to win four tickets to the show at House of Blues on March 19 right here!)
Best Rock Album: "It's Always Never," by the Paragraphs. While we're definitely big fans of a few of these nominees, our nod goes to North County boys the Paragraphs. Their latest album seemed to take forever to drop (four or five years?), but when it did, it was all sorts of unleashed fury, self-reflective lyricism and oodles of good ol' fashioned rock & roll -- and that's what this category's all about.
Best Indie/Alternative Album: "Hallucinations & Hospitalizations," by Splavender. These quirky lads straddle rock, pop, jazz, funk and all sorts of other random goodness. Somehow it congeals on their latest album. and aside from being infinitely interesting, it's riotiously good, too.
Best Pop Album: "Stories from Atlantis," by Marie Haddad. The celebrated local singer/songwriter took us on a winding journey of beautiful ballads and top-notch musicianship with her new album, and we'd like to see her take home the trophy. Is that so wrong?
Best Hip-Hop/Rap Album: "Solus Superstes," by 1019 the Numberman. OK, to be upfront: 10-19 (otherwise known as J. Smith) is a SoundDiego contributor -- but don't let that detract from the genius that is his latest album. There are some great albums in this category to be sure, but "Solus Superstes" is a wandering collection of dreamy, druggy, hazy hip-hop helmed by Smith's stream-of-consciousness wordplay and the AK's off-kilter production. Give 'em the gold.
Best Jazz Album: "I Am Calm," by Matt Smith Neu Jazz Trio. These cats are some of the coolest around, and this album is full of impeccable playing, gorgeous grooves and new-school jazz charm. In other words, it's a winner.
Best Live Performer: The Schizophonics. We awarded a tie between these garage fuzz-rockers and fellow Live Perfomer nominees Mrs. Henry at our own SoundDiego Music Awards in December, but because we gotta pick one, we're going with the Schizos for this. In a live setting, they're simply unrivaled -- you can expect to be knocked out at one of their shows -- quite literally in some cases, like, say, last year’s San Diego Music Awards. Join us in a short prayer for the unfortunate bands that have to follow them onstage.
Best New Artist: Sights & Sages. Solid options in this category too, but for our money, we're going with Sights & Sages. They're stellar live performers, write complex yet catchy songs and are distinctly on the rise. We can't get enough of 'em and for that reason, they win here.
Song of the Year: "Sex It Sells," by Buckfast Superbee. This long-dormant rock group got back in the saddle last year and dropped this highly topical bombshell on our earholes and surrounding radio waves. It's nice to see a San Diego band write riff-hungry, conscientious music about society's ills without being overly preachy -- and that's no easy feat. Hats off to TJ and his BfSb mates; you guys deserve this one.
Album of the Year: "Fists Like Gotti," by the Parker Meridien. Difficult to choose, this one is. Joshua White always blows us away with his piano work, and, of course, we're big fans of Little Hurricane and Ariel Levine (it's like we're forced to pick our favorite kid), but this year, we're switching things up and awarding Album of the Year to an experimentally charged, live hip-hop trio that dropped an incredible, home-recorded record -- as its debut, no less. They're performing at this year's awards, so you'll get an up-close and personal look at why they should win this category at the show.
Artist of the Year: Between us, we don't even know what's up with this one. Nothing against the six very fine nominees (or, like, 13 if you count all those Redwoods bands) -- but no matter how you cut it, there's absolutely no reason the Frights, Elise Trouw and Rob $tone aren't up for this award, too. They're among the biggest and newest San Diego acts making actual, huge waves in the music world around the country. The academy missed the target completely on this one. So, you know what? We're writing in a Frights/Elise Trouw/Rob $tone tie as a formal protest.
Disagree with our selections? Leave us a comment below and let us know.