Hip-Hop/Top Vote Getters Overall Blue Scholars

This is getting ridiculous! Except for the Nu-Soul Tribe scoring the Hip-Hop vote four years ago in our first

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The Winners Are . . .

The results of Seattle Weekly's 2006 Music Awards poll.

Hip-Hop/Top Vote Getters Overall Blue Scholars

This is getting ridiculous! Except for the Nu-Soul Tribe scoring the Hip-Hop vote four years ago in our first Music Awards, the Scholars have reigned like a mean fourth-grade teacher with a splintered ruler. Just kidding—they're more like the pleasant sub you actually want to bring an apple for, the one who can tell you what you need to know without making you feel like a total dunce. MC/lyricist Geologic and DJ Sabzi are all over town with their various projects, and while tallying the ballots we can see their efforts are appreciated. There's no stepping down from their position at the moment, so it'll be interesting to watch them step it up in '06 and beyond. RACHEL SHIMP

Americana/Folk/Country Jesse Sykes

Jesse Sykes' voice seems to waft from her throat like a sweet puff of smoke. It's deep, haunting, and raspy, and she uses it to deliver songs rife with dark imagery and an overall sense of pain and loss. With Phil Wandscher (Whiskeytown) on guitar and the absurdly talented Anne Marie Ruljancich handling violin, Jesse Sykes & the Sweet Hereafter are like a moody midnight waltz through the backwoods of gothic America. Their 2003 album, Oh, My Girl (Barsuk), got them plenty of raves from the national and international press, and they even scored an opening slot on Bright Eyes' I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning tour. BRIAN J. BARR

Best New Artist Common Market

KEXP trendsetter John Richards called Common Market "the most exciting thing happening in Seattle music," and the tag couldn't have been more deserved. Mixing a flair for nostalgic sounds with a desire for progress, the duo is a promising glimmer for Seattle's current hip-hop renaissance. With RA Scion already noted as one of the city's most passionate emcees and Sabzi a near icon for his work with local faves the Blue Scholars, Common Market have put a fresh stamp on Northwest hip-hop, ensuring that all artists who follow will look to them as inspiration. BRIAN J. BARR

Blues Alice Stuart

As one of the trailblazing women in blues rock, Alice Stuart has shared stages with Van Morrison, Joan Baez, and the great Mississippi John Hurt. Cited by Bonnie Raitt as one of her main influences, Stuart is recognized as one of the first women to play guitar, lead her own band, and perform on international rock tours all at once. She and Frank Zappa struck up a musical partnership in the early days of the Mothers of Invention but eventually drifted apart. Stuart continued touring and recording, and her songs have since been covered by the likes of Kate Wolf and Jackie DeShannon. BRIAN J. BARR

Cover/Tribute Hell's Belles

Another year, another triumph for the Belles—the Northwest's ferocious, all-female AC/DC tribute band (see interview). Though the lineup has changed in the last four years, fans have given it up for every incarnation. Currently composed of bassist Mandy Reed (Cliff), lead vocalist Jamie Nova (Brian/Bon), guitarist Adrian Conner (Angus), rhythm guitarist Lisa Brisbois (Malcolm), and drummer Melodie Zapata (Phil), the group tantalizes locals when not jetting around the country and pulling pranks on each other. Proving that they aren't one-trick dames, most have outside projects, like Reed's punk band, Neutral Boy, and Zapata's the Isms. In the words of Bon Scott, "She's got balls." RACHEL SHIMP

DJ/Turntablist DJ Fucking in the Streets

If Capitol Hill is your haunt, it's impossible to miss Eric Grandy, aka DJ F.I.T.S., who beat out the healthy competition (including some of his Mass Mvmnt comrades) as your favorite DJ for the second year. His long-running Members Only party at the Baltic Room is supplemented by monthlies like Comeback, one-offs, and supersecret after-hours. Grandy's mantra may be "Dance! Party! Dance! Party! Dance! Party! Sleep. Repeat," but don't think the all-nighters are leaving him brain-dead. In the last three years, he's done more than most to expand the rockist consciousness of Seattle's party hood into one that accepts—and adores—electronic music. RACHEL SHIMP

Electronica United State of Electronica

Having graced the cover of our Music Awards issue last year, U.S.E. remain your favorite in the shake- what-ya-mama-gave-ya category, which the band has ruled for four years now. They aren't the first to match four-on-the-floor rhythms with a pop song structure (Modjo, Stardust, and Daft Punk paved the way), but they're arguably the best this side of late-'90s France. Huge in Japan and with a mess of devoted, awkwardly dancing N.W. fans, these members of Wonderful, Dolour, and the Catch have been keeping it somewhat lo-pro around town as they work on the follow-up to their 2004 self-titled debut. Hurry up, guys—music sounds better with U.S.E.! RACHEL SHIMP

Jazz/Experimental The Dead Science

"Teeth pulled and punctured/The nerves dead worn." Nobody ever tagged the Dead Science as a sunshine-and-kittens band. In fact, they've been dubbed "gloom rock" by more than a few local publications. With vocals echoing back to Jeff Buckley and jazz-punk crossover musicianship, the Dead Science are easily Seattle's finest of the sort. As romantic as they are icy, the trio evoke a madness and playfulness, which were exquisitely captured by producer Ryan Hadlock (Black Heart Procession, Blonde Redhead) for last year's Frost Giant (Absolutely Kosher) LP. Having shared stages with Deerhoof, Interpol, and Xiu Xiu, the group is now finishing up a U.S. tour. BRIAN J. BARR

Guitarist Leif Andersen (of Vendetta Red)

Say what you will about Vendetta Red, but they never catered to anyone but themselves. Even while they were polishing their "mainstreamo" (as one critic called it) act, their lyrics were controversial and their guitars always chugging with a clear, crisp power courtesy of Andersen, this year's favored guitarist. VR's second Epic release, Sisters of the Red Death, got mixed reviews, and the band recently parted ways with the label. Holding up his end of the "inspired by Sunny Day Real Estate" deal, Andersen should have no trouble finding a new niche for his anthemic, searing guitar sounds. RACHEL SHIMP

Metal/Hard Rock Kinski

With their raucous, hard-edged riffs and blasts of psych noise, Kinski are one of Seattle's most visceral experimental acts. Combining a fondness for Black Sabbath, the Groundhogs, and Ash Ra Tempel, along with a fetish for avant-garde composers like Terry Riley, Kinski take straight-ahead guitar rock and infuse it with an innate sense of melody and exploration. But more importantly than that, they remain listenable and fun. Since their formation in 1998, they've toured with the likes of Comets on Fire, Oneida, and Acid Mothers Temple. Their latest album, Alpine Static, was released by Sub Pop in 2005. BRIAN J. BARR

Indie/Garage Minus the Bear

Like this year's winners in the Punk/Hardcore category, Minus the Bear rose from the ashes of seminal Seattle hardcore/math-rock bands Botch, Kill Sadie, and Sharks Keep Moving. Since 2001, followers of Botch guitarist Dave Knudson looking for an update have been taken aback—and subsequently won over—by the new directions forged with MTB bandmates Jake Snider (guitars/vocals), Erin Tate (drums), and Cory Murchy (bass). Last year's Menos el Oso, their second album for Suicide Squeeze, was produced by Matt Bayles of Isis/Mastodon fame and sounds like Yes, Fugazi, and Ted Leo at a picnic in Volunteer Park. As Urb writes, "Virtuoso musicianship + smart songwriting = Seth Cohen's wet dream." RACHEL SHIMP

Lifetime Achievement Jack Endino

By now, Jack Endino is as synonymous with grunge as Nirvana. The man who once had a $5-per- hour basement studio and a band called Skin Yard pretty much defined the "Seattle Sound" of the late '80s and early '90s. Launching Reciprocal Recordings in 1986, Endino went on to produce landmark records by the likes of Mudhoney, Soundgarden, the Screaming Trees, and yes, Nirvana. Since then, he's twisted the knobs for countless other bands, including the Murder City Devils, the Black Halos, and Zen Guerilla. His latest solo album, Permanent Fatal Error (Wondertaker), was released in September 2005. BRIAN J. BARR

Punk/Hardcore These Arms Are Snakes

These Arms Are Snakes come on hard, angular, and loud. With singer Steve Snere spewing vocals that fuzz against the edge of your speakers and guitarist Ryan Frederiksen slicing off razor-sharp fills, These Arms Are Snakes have been smashing Seattle's eardrums since 2003. Born out of the breakups of Botch and Kill Sadie, the band helped pick up the slack left by the Murder City Devils, who left Seattle in dire need of a hard-ass rock band. Their latest album, Oxeneers, or the Lion Sleeps When Its Antelope Go Home, was released by Jade Tree in 2004. BRIAN J. BARR

Singer-Songwriter Rocky Votolato

"If I had to put money on it, I'd say Damien Jurado will win," said Rocky Votolato the Monday before the final ballots were counted. Good thing Votolato's not a betting man. As it turns out, he has more fans in his hometown than he thought. But this is just one more accolade he can add to his growing pile. On top of releasing his Barsuk Records debut in January, Votolato won heaps of praise from Rolling Stone and Spin for his introspective songs, one of which ("White Daisy Passing") was featured as NPR's Song of the Day. BRIAN J. BARR

Soul/R&B Altered States of Funk

Having band members named Mr. T, Moose, Low End Theory, Funk Doc, Sasquatch, and Da Funkscribe means you best be one funky band, and Altered States of Funk definitely pull it off. With each one exploring their own little improvisational niche, Altered States of Funk achieve jams that are equal parts Southern soul and hip-shaking grooves. They made audiences get on their feet at Nectar, EMP's Liquid Lounge, and Tost. Throughout the month of May, you can catch the band at 9 p.m. Wednesdays in the Musiquarium Lounge above the Triple Door. BRIAN J. BARR

World/Reggae Clinton Fearon and Boogie Brown Band

Clinton "Basie" Fearon and his band deal in roots-rock reggae and live dub, and Seattle is addicted. With a pedigree this impressive, it's easy to see why: Coming of age in '60s Kingston, Fearon was a Studio One mainstay as bassist with the group the Gladiators, and worked with genre greats like Lee "Scratch" Perry and Yabby You. His colleagues are equally talented. Drummer Nelson Miller earned his chops with Burning Spear; keyboardist-vocalist Barbara Kennedy with the Abyssinians and Chata Ady; and bassist Jeff DeMelle, percussionist Iré, trumpeter Bill Jones, and saxophonist Izaak Mills have each burned up their reggae, ska, and jazz scenes—and keep the flame lit in Boogie Brown. As Marley sang: "Hey mister music/Sure sounds good to me." RACHEL SHIMP

Vocalist Geologic (of Blue Scholars)

It goes without saying that the Blue Scholars' rhymesayer is Seattle's most ubiquitous—and well-loved—MC. With beat-maker Sabzi, the Scholars have had the Hip-Hop category on lockdown since 2004 (though this year, his colleague's side project takes center stage). The sensitive son of just folks ("Blue is for the color of the collar/Of my mother and my father") and a dad himself, he teaches awareness from the Ave to the ID. Getting recent recognition from Urb, XLR8R, and Spin for their Long March EP, the Scholars will be the lone hip-hop soldiers on the Sasquatch mainstage this year. He's got the anthems, so you know what to do. RACHEL SHIMP

Percussionist Ben Hooker (Of Visqueen)

There is a rock and roll axiom that says if a drummer drools out of both sides of his or her mouth, it means the stage is level. While I've never been close enough to Ben Hooker to notice, I would suspect his bandmate Rachel Flotard has called him out for drooling in the tour van at least once or twice. As the thoroughbred pounder for Seattle's sprightly pop-punk outfit Visqueen, Hooker is the backbone behind Flotard's power-chord sass. But nearly as important, he is her between-songs foil—the one guy tough enough to keep smiling while she makes him the butt of her onstage jokes. BRIAN J. BARR

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