If the San Diego Music Awards are our Grammys, it's not because it recognizes the best in local talent, but because the nominations are either bizarre or obvious and sometimes the least-deserving nominee wins the big prize. Since I am neither a member of the “Academy” nor allowed to vote on most categories (yeah, I'm kinda bitter), I'll break down some of the bigger awards and predict not only the winners, but also who gets robbed. Drama! Suspense! Drunken rock stars! At least it's all for a great cause. Best Rock
The nominees: Deadline Friday, Dirty Sweet, Reeve Oliver, Roses on Her Grave, The Creepy Creeps, The Muslims, Transfer, Truckee BrothersDeadline Friday sounds more like the pop-country they play on KSON. Dirty Sweet may rock, but Reeve Oliver are a lot less derivative. Roses on Her Grave aren't wholly original, and The Creepy Creeps and Truckee Brothers are stretches.Who should win: I love Transfer, but The Muslims, with major buzz and a killer bass, are the future of local rock.Who will win: The fact that this category is voted on by the public makes for the will of the people, but in this case, the band with the most rabid MySpace friends will win. Dirty Sweet's 8,004 MySpace friends will narrowly beat out Reeve Oliver's 11,846, if only because DS are heavily promoting their nomination.Album of the Year
The nominees: As I Lay Dying, An Ocean Between Us; Augustana, Can't Love, Can't Hurt; Louis XIV, Slick Dogs and Ponies; Pinback, Autumn of the Seraphs; Slightly Stoopid, Chronchitis; Steve Poltz, Traveling; The Night Marchers, See You in Magic; Tristan Prettyman, Hello…XAugustana is cock rock posing as alternative, while Louis XIV is cock rock that isn't very good. Slightly Stoopid lives up to their stupid name. Pinback and Prettyman both seem to be on autopilot. Steve Poltz and As I Lay Dying have both won a ton of SDMAs, but An Ocean was a huge leap forward for the latter.Who should win: Guess what—they're not even nominated! Grand Ole Party's Humanimals was great, Greg Laswell's Three Flights from Alto Nido was even better, but Delta Spirit's Ode to Sunshine was undoubtedly the year's best record.
Who will win: Pinback may be due (they haven't won this one since 2002), but John Reis (amazingly) hasn't won in a decade. Night Marchers rule!Best New Artist
The Nominees: Calico Horse, Fing, Hotel St. George, Revolution 89, Smart Brothers, The Silent Comedy, Wild Weekend, WriterThere are some names missing (Crocodiles, The Sess, Janu and the Whalesharks and, especially, The Donkeys), but overall, this is one category the nominators got right.Who should win: Calico Horse is like an indie-rock super-group, but The Silent Comedy have been around longer and have rocked way more socks off.
Who will win: For once, the most deserving. Fing may be way more self-promoting, but The Silent Comedy will have the last laugh. Song of the Year
The nominees: Grand Ole Party, “Look Out Young Son”; Jason Mraz, “I'm Yours”; P.O.D., “Addicted”; Slightly Stoopid, “2AM”; Switchfoot, “This is Home”; The Muslims, “Extinction”; The Night Marchers, “Who's Lady R U”; Tristan Prettyman, “Hello”The Night Marchers sound like Hot Snakes sounding like Rocket From the Crypt. Jesus, P.O.D and Switchfoot are still around? Grande Ole Party's song has been around in some form for more than two years. Why now? I liked Slightly Stoopid's “2AM” a lot more when Sublime did it. “Hello” is catchy, and “Extinction” is great, but neither sounds half as good on record as it does live. Who should win: None of the above. Delta Spirit's “Trashcan,” The Sess' “Fuck The Navy,” Transfer's “You Are the Wolf,” Silent Comedy's “49” and, especially, Greg Laswell's “What a Day” all deserve to duke it out over this award.
Who will win: Jason Mraz's “I'm Yours” might be the cheesiest Jack Johnson rip-off since Jack Johnson ripped himself off, but it's currently No. 4 on the iTunes chart—so there you have it.Artist of the Year
The nominees: Angels & Airwaves, As I Lay Dying, B-Side Players, Grande Ole Party, Greg Laswell, Peter Sprague, Switchfoot and Tristan Prettyman.I'm sure it's written in the SDMA bylaws that Angels & Airwaves, B-Side Players and Switchfoot must be nominated even if they don't deserve it. Greg Laswell made a great album but lives in Los Angeles. Who the fuck knows who Peter Sprague is outside of jazz nerds? Tristan Prettyman also made a decent album but doesn't live up to the hype outside of SoCal. Grande Ole Party released one of the year's best albums, but best artist? And where the fuck is Pinback? They've never won this category!Who should win: As I Lay Dying may be unknown to non-metalheads, but they're certainly the most deserving. Then again, they've already won twice.
Who will win: I wouldn't be surprised to see Laswell pull it off since he promoted his nomination online, but beware the Angels. They're due for a win.
The San Diego Music Awards show will be held Wednesday, Sept. 17, at Viejas' Concerts in the Park, with performances from As I Lay Dying, Louis XIV, Jayo Felony, Steve Poltz & the Cynics, Joel Rafael, Anya Marina and Mundell Lowe. 619.220.TIXS. www.sandiegomusicawards.com.