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Boston Music Awards names 2017 nominees

Lowell band PVRIS

Lowell-bred “St. Patrick” rockers PVRIS, Allston alt-rock act Palehound, and rising Boston rapper Cousin Stizz are among the wide-ranging crop of nominees for this year’s Boston Music Awards, announced Friday morning.

The annual awards, which were inaugurated in 1987, are always a reliable metric by which to measure the success of local talent, and this year’s set of nominees drives home the breadth of genres Boston-area musicians are operating within. Rock is most prominently featured in the major categories, with indie-rock outlets like Animal Flag, Palehound, Pile, and Weakened Friends represented in the paramount Artist of the Year section; hip-hop/rap acts also had a strong showing between Cousin Stizz, Joyner Lucas, and STL GLD’s presence there.


But across the myriad categories open for voting this year are nestled Americana-folk idols (Hayley Thompson-King, who just released experimental disc “Psychedelic Melancholia”), lo-fi Bandcamp-bred singer-songwriters (Sidney Gish, who opens for Margaret Glaspy at The Sinclair Thursday), and neo-folk pioneers (the Ballroom Thieves, playing at Canton’s Festival at the Farm this weekend alongside fellow nominees Julie Rhodes, Matthew Stubbs, and Session Americana). With the huge swath of genre-traversing talent on display, consider these awards (as usual) the ultimate rejoinder to that cousin at the Thanksgiving table who thinks Boston music starts and stops at Dropkick Murphys.

The Boston Music Awards changed hands last year, with Redefined CEO Paul Armstrong stepping up to help showcase local talent by honoring a variety of performers, producers, venues, and even photographers. This year’s awards mark the event’s 30th anniversary, so the 30 greatest Boston artists of the last 30 years will also be chosen; both committee members and the general public will be allowed to contribute nominees starting today, with a shortlist due to be announced for voting Oct. 2. Additionally, voting will take place on two outside-the-box categories — Music Photo of the Year and Music Artwork of the Year — once nominees for those categories are revealed on Oct. 2.


Voting is open to the public at www.bostonmusicawards.com/vote/ and ends Oct 30. Those over 18 who want to attend the ceremony at the House of Blues on Dec. 7, which traditionally features performances by nominated artists, can snag tickets for $25 here.

Artist of the Year

Animal Flag

Cousin Stizz

Julie Rhodes

Joyner Lucas





The Ballroom Thieves

Weakened Friends

New Artist of the Year

Ali McGuirk


Bat House

Carissa Johnson


Mint Green

no hope / no harm


Sidney Gish

Vintage Lee

Unsigned Artist of the Year

Animal Flag



Carissa Johnson

Julie Rhodes

Lady Pills

Latrell James



Weakened Friends

Album of the Year

Avenue, “Mass Ave & Lenox”

Bad Rabbits, “American Nightmare”

Cousin Stizz, “One Night Only”

Eddie Japan, “Golden Age”

Joyner Lucas, “508-507-2209”

Palehound, “A Place I’ll Always Go”

Pile, “A Hairshirt of Purpose”

PVRIS, “All We Know of Heaven, All We Need of Hell”

STL GLD, “Torch Song”

The Ballroom Thieves, “Deadeye”

Song of the Year

Avenue, “Ain’t [Expletive] Funny”

Cousin Stizz feat. Offset, “Headlock”

Millyz, “Lessons”

Palehound, “If You Met Her”

Pile, “Texas”

PVRIS, “Heaven”

Ruby Rose Fox, “Rainbow Sufragette”

STL GLD, “Good”

The Rationales, “Ready to Go”

Weakened Friends feat. J Mascis, “Hate Mail”

Music Video of the Year

Converge, “I Can Tell You About Pain”


Cousin Stizz feat. Ofset, “Headlock”

Joyner Lucas, “Just Like You”

Palehound, “If You Met Her”

PVRIS, “Heaven”

Token, “Exception”

Music Video of the Year (Unsigned Artist)

Avenue, “Ain’t [Expletive] Funny”

STL GLD feat. Dutch ReBelle, Tigerman WOAH, Julie Rhodes, “Feels Like Home”

Bat House, “Alright, Spaceboy”

The Devil’s Twins feat. Slaine, “Satan Stone”

Megan Tracy & the Missed Connections, “Color the Air”

Dutch ReBelle & Marcela Cruz, “Don’t Know Why / Mophizzy”

Live Artist of the Year


Cousin Stizz

Julie Rhodes

Latrell James




The Ballroom Thieves

Walter Sickert and the Army of Broken Toys

Weakened Friends

Alternative/Indie Artist of the Year

Bent Knee

Future Teens

Lady Pills



Weakened Friends

Americana Artist of the Year


Julie Rhodes

Session Americana

The Rationales

These Wild Plains

Tigerman WOAH

Blues Artist of the Year

Barrence Whitfield & The Savages

Matthew Stubbs & The Antiguas

Monster Mike Welch

Peter Parcek

Shor’ty Billups

The Silks

Country Artist of the Year

Annie Brobst

Ashley Jordan

Girls Guns and Glory

Hayley Thompson-King

Houston Bernard Band

Jessie Chris

DJ of the Year


DJ Knife

Frank White

Leah V



Electronic Artist of the Year


Camino 84




Radclyfe Hall

Folk Artist of the Year

Dan Blakeslee and the Calabash Club



Tall Heights

The Ballroom Thieves

Town Meeting

Hip-Hop Artist of the Year



Cousin Stizz

Dutch ReBelle

Latrell James

Michael Christmas


International Artist of the Year

Debo Band

Dub Apocalypse

Jireh Calo

Shun Ng

Ubuntu Band

Yoko Miwa

Jazz Artist of the Year

Alison Keslow

Esperanza Spalding

Grace Kelly

Jireh Calo

People Like You

Yoko Miwa

Metal Artist of the Year





Protean Collective


Pop Artist of the Year



Jenna Lotti



Ruby Rose Fox

Punk/Hardcore Artist of the Year


Choke Up

Nice Guys


The Hotelier

The Kominas

R&B Artist of the Year

Bad Rabbits

Haasan Barclay

Marcela Cruz

Rebecca Zama

Rey Royale


Rock Artist of the Year

Animal Flag

Black Beach

Carissa Johnson


Salem Wolves

The Devil’s Twins

Singer-Songwriter of the Year

Abbie Barrett

Hayley Thompson-King

Lori McKenna

Marissa Nadler

Ruby Rose Fox

Will Dailey

Female Vocalist of the Year

Courtney Swain (Bent Knee)

Ellen Kempner (Palehound)

Julie Rhodes

Lyndsey Gunnulfsen (PVRIS)

Ruby Rose Fox


Male Vocalist of the Year

Evan Kenney (Dirty Bangs)

Fredua Boakye (Bad Rabbits)

Martin Earley (The Ballroom Thieves)

Tad McKitterick (Sidewalk Driver)

Walter Sickert (Walter Sickert & The Army of Broken Toys)

Will Dailey

Session Musician of the Year

Dave Brophy

Duke Levine

Jonathan Ulman

Matthew Girard

Mike Levesque

Paul Ahlstrand

Live Production Engineer of the Year

Benjamin Stoppelman

Brendon Downey

Chris Johnson

Dan Gonzales

Ian Nault

Reid Calkin

Studio Engineer of the Year

Benny Grotto

Brian Charles

Dave Minehan

Ed Valauskas

Janos Fulop (The Arcitype)

Sean McLaughlin


Music Photographer of the Year

Ben Stas

Cara DiFabio

Eddy Leiva

Greg Gaffney

Jen Vesp

Jonathan Beckley

Matthew Shelter

Natasha Moustache

Richard Knowles

Tim Bugbee

Music Promoter of the Year

Aaron Gray, Grayskull Booking

Alyssa Spector, Lysten Boston

Jason Trefts, Illegally Blind

Lisa Finelli, Xperience Creative

Ned Wellbery, Leedz Edutainment

Ryan Agate, RTT Presents

Live Music Venue of the Year

Brighton Music Hall

House of Blues

Paradise Rock Club


The Middle East Downstairs

The Sinclair

Intimate Live Music Venue of the Year

Atwood’s Tavern

Great Scott

Lizard Lounge

O’Brien’s Pub



Music Night of the Year

Emo Night at The Sinclair

Heroes at Middle East

Make It New at Middlesex Lounge

PVRPLE at Good Life

Soulelujah at Zuzu

The Wave by CLLCTV Boston at Middlesex Lounge

Live Ongoing Residency of the Year

Bearly Dead at Thunder Road

Country Club at State Park with These Wild Plains

Downbeat Mondays at The Sinclair with Matthew Stubbs and The Antiguas

Gospel Brunch with The Revelations at Atwood’s Tavern

OldJack Last Saturdays at Lizard Lounge

Tim Gearan Band at Atwood’s Tavern

Music Blog of the Year

Allston Pudding

Boston Hassle


Red Line Roots

Sound of Boston


Isaac Feldberg can be reached at isaac.feldberg@globe.com, or on Twitter at @isaacfeldberg.