At the 2011 Grammy Awards, when Arcade Fire won Album of the Year, a collective response came flooding from Twitter: "Who?!" Arcade Fire are hardly unknowns, but up against Eminem, Lady Gaga and Katy Perry, they clearly were the underdogs. And when they took home the trophy in an upset, an Internet meme was born: whoisarcadefire.tumblr.com.
At the San Diego Music Awards ceremony on Oct. 16, a feeling of déjà vu arose (albeit on a much smaller scale) when relatively unknown indie-folk group Soda Pants claimed the award for Best New Artist. In fact, against a round of nominees that was particularly stacked with talent—including Chess Wars, Barbarian, Flaggs and The Midnight Pine, each of which includes one or more veterans of the local music scene— to hear the name Soda Pants spoken from the podium almost required a double-take. Even in a field of "new" artists, Soda Pants seemed like underdogs.
So, how did they win?
The Best New Artist category, like every other non-album category, is voted on by the public. And if I were to posit a guess as to how Soda Pants ended up on top, it'd be that they simply ran a better campaign to gather the votes. Either that or I'm woefully misinformed about the level of exposure the band's been getting, though I'm certainly not alone. Not to go all Pauline Kael-on-Nixon on you, but I certainly don't know anyone who voted for them.
Soda Pants' music is pleasant and catchy—nothing earthshattering, but nice enough. That's the beauty of democracy, though: Your vote counts just as much as mine. And they got the votes.
The band plans to record a new album soon, which presents an opportunity. You have our attention, Soda Pants. Show us what you've got.