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Best Punk Band
For those who want punk to be dangerous again ... have you seen Nomads? Nomads are a "punk band" in the same way that an intercontinental ballistic missile is a "bomb." Mix the confrontational aggression of Black Flag with the stripped-down simplicity of English act Discharge with the glorious cacophony...
Best Cover Band
The Goodtime Boys
It's sometimes difficult for cover bands to transcend the cheesiness associated with their craft, but The Goodtime Boys make it look easy. That's particularly remarkable considering they're the house band for '70s-themed Hollywood bar Good Times at Davey Wayne's, which is dripping in kitsch. Every Friday and Saturday night at...
Best Latin Alternative Musician
At least when it comes to Los Angeles artists, the genre tag "Latin Alternative" usually refers to some sort of cumbia/rock/electronic hybrid. Which is why it has been exciting to see Irene Diaz develop on the scene here, since she's not easily pigeonholed, melding influences that include blues and soul...
Open Mike Eagle
It's a brilliant, rare thing in hip-hop (or any art form, for that matter) when an artist abandons pretense entirely and settles into himself. Such is the case on Dark Comedy, the latest album from Los Angeles rapper Open Mike Eagle. Though the Project Blowed veteran is still far from...
Last year local gloom rockers Jail Weddings released their second full-length, Meltdown — A Declaration of Unpopular Emotion, a perhaps too-optimistic assessment of the songs within. The eight-member collective journeyed to hell and back to make the work (in the process they lost members, went nuts, spent all their money,...
Best Blues Singer
So many contestants on television talent shows think they can sing the blues — with all that huffing and puffing and twisting of faces into grotesque grimaces, you'd think they were lifting mountains instead of making music. Of course, real blues of any style involves a deep communication between performer...
Charlie Cox has been busking at the La Brea Tar Pits park for so long that the city literally grew him a shade tree to stand under. The talented music man moved from North Florida to L.A. in 1975. "I had a job lined up, but it didn't work out,"...
Best Live Band
Mars and the Massacre
The unanimous winners of L.A. Weekly's best live band contest, Mars and the Massacre throw everything but the kitchen sink into their live performances (and we're not discounting the possibility of a kitchen sink at a future show). They play psychedelic garage rock, but if you can't picture that, just...
Best Radio DJ
During last year's fund drive for college radio station KXLU, DJ Mukta Mohan offered donors T-shirts with "MUKTA" on the front. The shirts sold out immediately, and not only because her indie-kid fan base loves the way she mixes, say, '60s girl bands with twee small-label releases with sultry French...
Best Metal Band
Metal in 2014 has been hopelessly splintered into a million different subgenres. But we love Whittier quartet Exmortus because they play heavy metal — the pure, unadulterated kind. The group members are all in their mid 20s but planted their roots in the field plowed by such '80s thrash greats...
Best Powerviolence Band
Powerviolence is the ultra-fast, ultra-brutal form of hardcore punk, and it was born right here in California. It's cool and all, but it's got one problem: A lot of it can sound the same. The best bands working in the genre, however, get that powerviolence is just another form of...
Best Lounge Act
As surreal as a David Lynch film, 79-year-old Jimmy Angel says he was a former teen idol, a friend and high school classmate of Elvis Presley and the adopted son of infamous mob boss Joe Columbo. We don't know about all that, but with his coal-black pompadour and a voice...
Best Sound Guy
Some people complain about the sound guy, or just ignore him altogether, but one local band was so enamored with their soundman that they named themselves after him. The now-defunct pop-punk group Otto needed to find a new name after signing with Sub Pop around 2000, so they called themselves...
With a vocal rasp that makes her sound like someone from the '60s, Jenny O. seems wiser than her 30 years. Then again, her lyrics contain slang such as "I'm never gonna be a pro skater 'cause I can't do tricks and I'm not that sick," so let's just call...
In an age of six-figure-a-night DJs who play the same 12 songs every time (usually their own), it can be hard to find art and finesse in contemporary electronic dance music. But sets by L.A. house king Marques Wyatt will bring you back to earth, with his nods to New...