What follows are a few random notes on LA-based nominees for the 2009 Grammys, which were announced yesterday in downtown LA. If you're looking for thoughts on the big-ass pop categories, go elsewhere; we're going to try and wade through the rock and lesser known categories without throwing up.
For the full list of nominees, check here.
In the Best New Artist category, Silversun Pickups received a nomination even though they've been a band for four years, which is odd and confusing considering all the brouhaha over whether Lady Gaga would be considered for the category or not. Also, considering 2009's non-stop rumors that Columbia head Rick Rubin's job was on line, it should be noted that two of the five bands — MGMT and the Ting Tings — were signed under the guidance of Rubin. (MGMT, in fact, are one of the year's biggest surprises.)
The Best Electronic Dance Album category has honored longtime LAers The Crystal Method and achingly bad Angeleno duo LMFAO.
The Best Solo Rock Performance nominees could have been the same list as any year in the last 30: Prince, John Fogerty, Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young and Bob Dylan. And you wonder why the Grammy ratings suffer? Are there no deserving singers under, say, 50? By the looks of this embarrassing list — which is not to deny the impressive achievements of each nominee — rock music will have no choice but to die sometime before 2020.
Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals: Did anyone other than diehard Steve Winwood and Eric Clapton fans even know that the pair released an album together?
Best Hard Rock Performance: AC/DC, Metallica, Nickelback, Alice in Chains, Linkin Park. ROCK IS DEAD. This is a list created by people who haven't bought a new album in years, who have no idea what new music sounds like, whose blinders are so tightly fit around their head that it's cutting off circulation to their brain. There is no joy, no surprise, in this list.
Best Metal Performance: Slayer, Ministry, Megadeth, Lamb of God, Judas Priest. METAL IS OLD.
Best Instrumental Rock Performance: Brian Setzer, Mr. Surfin' Goes Jazz. Read that category name again. Now read the title again. Please kill me.
…Sorry. This is too frickin' depressing. I can't do this. The nominations always have a few embarrassing missteps, but these rock choices are getting more and more ridiculous every year. To say nothing of the fact that, while the major label system is collapsing before our very eyes, it retains nearly complete control of the Grammys. Check back later and maybe I'll have digested it.
One thing, though: Congrats to Greg Kurstin for the nomination in the Best Producer, Non-Classical division. Kurstin's one half of the Bird and the Bee, and helmed Lily Allen's It's Not Me, It's You.