Fuse Rock Preview: Locally Yours, The Boston Music Awards Nominees for Rock Artist of the Year

Will You Can Be A Wesley be your pick for Rock Artist of the Year? Who will it be, Boston? Make your Nate Silver-style predictions and let me know what you think!

By Kathleen Burke.

Earthquake Party! — a purveyor of noise-pop.

Now that the presidential election is over, we turn our attention to more local and hopefully less political elections, those of the 25th Annual Boston Music Awards. Voting is already underway in the almost 30 categories that compose the awards and will continue until the deadline on November 19th. You still have time to cast your vote for your favorite musicians in contests ranging from “Artist of the Year” and “Best Boston Artist Who Doesn’t Live in Boston” to many genre-specific awards. Today we take a look at the nominees for “Rock Artist of the Year” and give you the scoop on who’s who.

First up are Dirty Dishes who have been playing since 2009, when they apparently emerged from a basement on Halloween while attending Berklee College of Music. Their song “Blur,” a Sonic Youth-meets-Belly-meets-Deftones-meets-Kay Hanley explosion of solid, guitar-driven rock music is a key track from their March 2012 release, The Most Tarnished Birds. Jenny Tuite is the guru behind “Dirty Dishes,” serving as lead vocalist, guitarist, and primary songwriter. Add Zack Fierman on drums, Alex Molini on synth and guitar, and Doug Warman on the bass, and you have the ’90s inspired, shoegazy goodness of Dirty Dishes.

Earthquake Party! latest recording Let’s Rock, OK? is a speedy mix of low-fi, under two minute songs that sound like Sebadoh fighting Bikini Kill at a Sunny Day Real Estate concert. Self-described as “noise-pop,” Earthquake Party! plays at Great Scott on December 1st along with headliners Mean Creek, who are up for Artist of the Year at the BMA’s. Earthquake Party! is a thrashing trio made up of Justin Lally, Mallory Hestand, and Josh Carrasco. The Boston Phoenix named them “Best Band in MA” before the group even had a single tune recorded.

Quilt is a trio of art students-turned musicians who layer ’60s-infused vocal harmonies over jangly guitars and sparse drumming to create tunes that would have sent Andy Warhol into an awkward, stuttering state of joy. The music of Quilt is all about up front vocals that have been absolutely soaked in reverb. It is a lo-fi party at the BMA’s this year, and Quilt is definitely in on it. Often-out-of-tune guitars only add to the stoner mystique, and if you are looking for something to sway around a dirty kitchen to while you’re hammered on cheap Chianti, then Quilt is for you (I’m not the only one into that, right?).

Ribs are a technically proficient bunch of musicians. No lo-fi here. Dark, moody, and well-written hooks are the hallmarks of this Boston three piece. While the songs are all rock, there are echoes of dance and ’80s era pop/rock to ’90s industrial. Not to trivialize their style, however, Ribs paint a unique and lush landscape of layered sounds and instruments along with substantial lyrics and vocal parts. Ribs could easily be mainstream given the right circumstances and of course the desire to be something so fruitful and yet unholy. I’ll just go ahead and say it: these guys are my favorite pick for Rock Artist of the Year. It’s not like I have to be unbiased. This isn’t CNN or Fox News or some such.

According to You Can Be A Wesley, they are “a Boston-based post-promwave band with heavy influences stemming from their routes in indie-prance.” I’ll add my dumbed-down description and say they sound something like a lady-fronted Death Cab for Cutie playing Dinosaur Jr. songs. If that’s not indie-prance-post-promwave than I just don’t know what is, people. Will You Can Be A Wesley be your pick for Rock Artist of the Year? Who will it be, Boston? Make your Nate Silver-style predictions and let me know what you think!

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