One of the toughest aspects of compiling an annual music awards package is working the nominees into 10 distinct ballot categories, which readers then use to vote for their favorite acts. It's a reductive action that goes against the nature of the Bay Area. We're a region of tenuous borders, musically and geographically. Our top local acts often collaborate, inspire, and overlap; meanwhile, individual musicians move east to west and back again — and by that, we mean to and from both the Easy Bay and the East Coast.
For this year's Music Awards feature package, we've focused on the theme of border-crossing. In two cases, the landscapes traveled through are literal. In the pages following, you'll find one group, Crown City Rockers, which uprooted from Boston to Oakland; and another, Lazer Sword, which is dividing its membership between San Francisco and New York. These critically acclaimed acts are also genre vagabonds, the Rockers merging hip-hop with a full live band, and Lazer Sword swirling rap beats into a dense thicket of dubstep and electro.
The third chapter in this music package gathers opinions about releases from a diverse set of local acts, ranging in style from pop to dance-punk to hyphy (Mistah F.A.B., the Hot Toddies, Hottub, and Tempo No Tempo), blurring yet another line, that between musician and music critic. Finally, check out the Music Awards pullout program in this issue, our guide to all the nominees and performers at the big ceremony at Ruby Skye on Thursday, Oct. 15, with genre-skippers Wallpaper., Loco Bloco, and Lazer Sword.
Now, if local artists would just stay put, these awards would be much easier to produce — and the Bay Area would be so much duller on the ears. In the end, we'd much rather celebrate the creative ways our artists travel further toward inspired ground.
Music Awards Feature
Music Awards: Lazer Sword by Shawn Reynaldo
Music Awards: Crown City Rockers by Ezra Gale
Music Awards sidebar: Should I Stay or Should I Go? by Ezra Gale, Jennifer Maerz and Shawn Reynaldo
Music Awards: Jukebox Roundtable by Dan Strachota
Music Awards Program Guide
Music Awards intro by Jennifer Maerz