Dubious praise

Starting in 2008, Portland was treated to an unsolicited taste of Hollywood glitz with the Portland Music Awards, founded by Craig Marquardo.

Starting in 2008, Portland was treated to an unsolicited taste of Hollywood glitz with the Portland Music Awards, founded by Craig Marquardo.

This year, the event seems to have grown enormously in size and general interest, with 22,000 votes ostensibly cast for such categories as “Best Live Act,” “Best Compilation Album” and the “Pioneer Award.”

However, the question many fans and musicians are asking about the awards show is “What’s the point?”

In a city that prides itself on producing musicians in a decidedly un-entertainment-biz fashion, why indulge in the licking of egos and imitation of a world where music is celebrity rather than artistic expression, as void of “the man” as possible? 

Of course, there are others embracing the idea that local musicians will now have the ability to be recognized by their community and peers in a forum that could potentially reach beyond that of print or the Internet. In many journalistic circles, however, the awards show has been attacked based on Marquardo’s sarcastic tongue and somewhat questionable ability to tell the truth.

Whatever your standpoint though, one thing is for sure: The list of nominees provides music fans an excellent mapping of local talent. So, to appease the ever-curious, gossip-thirsty, culture junkie in every good Portlander, here’s a look at those nominated for the PMA’s 2009 “Band of the Year.”

Tea for Julie
A modestly atypical approach to the expected indie rock formula. Husky vocals meet sensitive lyrics of longing and introspection, injected with a genre-bending dose of electronic pops and punk influences.

They sound hip and talented in very much the same way that many other bands sound hip and talented. There’s nothing particularly revolutionary, and you aren’t going to walk away with your mind blown from the abounding genius, but they do their genre(s) proud nonetheless.

Acoustic Minds
Adorable twin sisters and songbirds showcase their haunting ability to harmonize through pop-drenched, folk-soul storytelling. Clearly very talented, the Price twins offer catchy chorus lines and simple melodies.

Their most stand-out moments occur when the songs dabble in synthesizers and other techno toys, breaking them away a bit from the otherwise super-saturated fem pop market.

The Dimes
A fusion of folk, rock ‘n’ roll and signature indie harmonics, The Dimes’ timeless masterpieces are engulfing. Each song is based on a romanticized piece of history, retold through a puncturing coordination of instruments complimenting each other without diluting their own contribution. You can listen to them for hours on end without feeling polluted by pretentious beats or in-your-face swings of style. They’re recognizable yet unobtrusive. Definitely one of the best.

Horse Feathers
One of the most mesmerizing musical offerings Portland has turned up in a very long time. Lead vocalist Justin Ringle could turn Satan himself into a cuddly bunny. This band is a gem. Enchanting. Peaceful. Soothing. Essentially, any positive synonym for “beautiful” would suffice.

The Slants
A throwback to the glory days of punk rock, The Slants add a very marketable aspect to a historically irreverent genre. The beats are extremely fresh and original, with powerful vocals that contain themselves well.

The music is everything you want to club, work out or create an unnecessary but highly entertaining dance YouTube video to. With the exception of a few sparse moments of strain by the vocalist, the sound is fluid and unexpected, melting together a contrasting palette of noise, beat, melody and rhythms.

To find out the nominees for the rest of the categories visit www.myspace.com/musicspectator and check out the blog. Winners will be announced at the show in an Academy Awards fashion. The awards show is also seducing potential attendees with a kick-ass lineup.

Floater will be there, along with Tea for Julie and Acoustic Minds. The whole night is sponsored by Comcast OnDemand, on which the event will be televised, allowing anti-establishment Portlandites to indulge without anyone being the wiser.