News Column

Boston's new Bad boys

December 9, 2013

YellowBrix

Dec. 09--The Boston Music Awards got it right last night.

They got it right over and over and over again.

When the nominations dropped last month, I mocked fellow members of the Boston Music Awards Nominating and Voting Academy for celebrating Aerosmith over more deserving bands. I think the print lashing did some good.

At yesterday's awards ceremony at the Liberty Hotel, the Academy and public shut out Aerosmith -- as well as well-known past winners and 2013 nominees Dropkick Murphys, Amanda Palmer and Peter Wolf.

Instead, the night belonged to Artist of the Year Bad Rabbits, Album of the Year winner Kingsley Flood, Song of the Year champs the Field Effect and Live Artist of the Year victor Eddie Japan.

These Big Four winners represent a slice of Boston's booming scene. Paisley punks Bad Rabbits and roots rockers Kingsley Flood went from local notables to national names in 2013 with spots on festival main stages, late-night TV and critics' best-of lists. Current Rock 'n' Roll Rumble champion Eddie Japan and power pop quartet the Field Effect dominated great bills and had breakout years in the city.

The bands aren't household names, but the BMAs shouldn't celebrate the establishment. They rightly spotlight emerging acts, soon-to-be and should-be household names.

Even in the genre specific categories, the winners were impressive -- not always my first choice, but never an embarrassment.

Delightful noise rockers Speedy Ortiz took home New Artist of Year from a field packed with amazing talent (the New Highway Hymnal, Potty Mouth, Ruby Rose Fox and Thunderbloods). Speedy has already graduated to grander stages: The group has four dozen tour dates booked for this winter, including shows in Europe and opening slots for the Breeders.

Aoife O'Donovan, with her angelic voice and ace songwriting, scored Folk Artist of Year. Indie dance band Bearstronaut captured Electronic Artist of the Year with help from the sublime new single "Where I'll Die." Moe Pope & Rain nabbed Hip-Hop Artist of the Year thanks to "Let the Right Ones In," an album featuring rappers, rockers, soul singers, new wave kids and experimental folk/pop songwriter Lady Lamb the Beekeeper.

The BMAs hand out too many awards not to slip up on a couple. Karmin and frontwoman Amy Heidemann grabbed two awards. I genuinely dig Heidemann, but Ruby Rose Fox should have edged her out for Female Vocalist of the Year, and Karmin's Ke$ha ripoff "Acapella" is absolutely the worst of the five videos nominated.

But Aerosmith didn't win; so I'm happy. Not that I want a ban on Aerosmith.

When the band comes up with "Toys in the Attic II," I'll demand it wins a half-dozen awards. Until then, the BMAs rightly belong to the pop proletariat of the city.

Go to Jed Gottlieb's Boston Herald.com Guestlisted blog for a complete list of winners and coverage of the night's live performances.

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(c)2013 the Boston Herald

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