With City Weekly's 2016 Best of Utah Music, our goal is to recognize more of the great local music being made right in our backyard. To that end, instead of holding a multi-venue showdown as we have in the past, this year, all of the voting will take place online, giving you, our readers, the opportunity to decide what truly represents the best of Utah music.
As you can tell from the ballot, Best of Utah Music 2016 gives you more to vote on. Last year, we had only three categories: best band, best rap group and best DJ. You're out there in the music scene. You know it's not that simple; there's a whole lot more happening. BoUM 2016 casts a wider musical net with a whopping 21 categories covering rock, metal, punk, blues, roots/Americana, country, folk, Electronic, DJ (open format), pop and jazz. In addition, readers will decide who among our musical microcosm deserves such prestigious titles as Artist of the Year, Best Live Act, Album of the Year, Best Producer, Best Venue and Best Album Cover/Poster Artist.
BoUM 2016 also resurrects the Best Friend of Local Music award, honoring podcasters, radio personalities, fans, promoters and venues—all the people who work hard to give local musicians a boost.
First up: Local Band That Should Reunite. Now, more than ever, the Salt Lake City music scene bubbles over with goodness. Not that we've ever experienced a dearth of good local tunes. Think back five years: Which local bands drew you out of the house on a Friday or Saturday night? Who would you risk a workday hangover to see at the Urban Lounge on a weeknight? Same question, but go back 10, 15, even 20 years. Many truly great local bands have rocked this town, and soundtracked scenes from your lives. So, who do you wanna see one more time? We've come up with a sweet shortlist that includes legendary math rockers Form of Rocket, semi-nebulous art-rock collective big band Vile Blue Shades, beloved indie rockers The New Transit Direction, alt-country darlings Band of Annuals and avant-garde wall-of-sound merchants Ether. Will the winner answer the call?
The other new BoUM category is self-explanatory: "Readers' Choice: What Did We Forget?" Allow us to explain. There's always that nagging feeling that we're forgetting something, and those nagging emails that say, "Hey, fools—how could you forget satanic ambient and post-silent derpstep?!" Here's your chance, readers: Review the ballot and point out the blips our radar didn't pick up. Except post-silent derpstep, which is lame.
Who, exactly, is "we?" Well, it's not just the hipster tastemakers here at City Weekly—although we'll have our say with a separate batch of 15 staff picks singling out other noteworthy musical achievements of the past year. For the readers' ballot, City Weekly formed a nomination committee composed of local musicians, promoters, venue owners and even record-store proprietors to help us select nominees worthy of recognition. Some of our judges were even nominated in certain categories, but were not allowed to vote in any category where there would be a conflict of interest. Lending their expertise to City Weekly for BoUM 2016 are Adam Tye and Alana Boscan of Diabolical Records, Jeremy Cardenas of Thunderfist, Ransom Wydner of King Niko and BassMint Pros, Jarom Bischoff of Crucial Fest and Exigent Records, Steve Williams of KCPW, Excellence in the Community's Jeff Whiteley, Corey Fox of Velour, producer and musician Mike Sasich, Court Mann of the Daily Herald, KRCL's Bad Brad Wheeler, Flash and Flare, Brian Kelm of the Utah Blues Society, Al Cardenas of NightFreq and past BoUM winners Max Pain & the Groovies, DJ Matty Mo and Chase One Two. We thank them for their service.
Let's address the elephant (not) on the stage: The lack of a battle-of-the-bands competition. With BoUM 2015, 10 artists from each of the three categories performed on six different downtown stages. While that was a great way to kick off voting, expanding our focus meant more nominees—roughly double the 2015 batch, which meant an event like this would be a massive and tricky undertaking. It seems like a worthwhile exchange, though, if it enables us to recognize more local musicians.
Another bright side is that no showdown means we can put more into the customary "winners show" held after the results issue hits the streets. We're still knockin' out the details, but the Best of Utah Music shindig will be big. Expect this much: You'll get to see the winners do what they do best and participate in other activities. (Note to promotions dept.: Can I mention the petting zoo? Note to Enrique: We're totally stealing the goat as an office pet. Note to edtiors: Be sure to delete this after promo replies. And watch for tpyos.)
Finally, three winners will be invited to open a show at the Twilight Concert Series next summer. Getting out the vote will be crucial to a band's eligibility for the prize. So mobilize your bass—er, base!
Voting is live as of Wednesday, Jan. 27 and will run through Monday, Feb. 15. Results will be in the March 3 issue. Best of luck to the nominees!