As another year worth of music wraps up, it’s the time of year that all of the music publications pull together a list of bands and artists that they feel stood above the rest throughout the year. For this year’s edition of our awards, we have five categories again. For each category, we’ve selected five acts that we felt best represented each category. However, this year, YOU will have the opportunity to vote on each category and help influence the final decisions on the winners. (Your vote comprises 40% of the final results). As much as this type of situation often turns into a popularity contest, we still feel that it’s vital for fans to have a say in year-end award selections. Voting closes at 6pm on January 3rd, and winners will be revealed soon after.
Note: Special thanks to Angela and Ethan for helping out. I couldn’t have been able to put all of this together without you two! -Nick
Band of the year:
Breathe Carolina released their third full-length record this year, Hell Is What You Make It, which was a very solid CD, but they didn’t stop there. The duo and their support band went on to headline multiple tours throughout the year, along with getting themselves some major radio playtime. Major props to them for helping get the alternative music scene some mainstream recognition.
On top of having a tour schedule that included time out with bands such as Augustana, The Maine also found time to produce what very well may be our Album of the year, Pioneer. They’ve grown to be so much more than the pop-punk band with a huge fanbase and catchy music that they used to be. The new album shows their maturity off very well and makes a very strong case for them being Band of the year.
As much as some may dislike the UK stadium-metalcore outfit, they still turned out a very impressive year. Coming back from their setback with Danny Worsnop’s drunkenness in Seattle, Asking Alexandria went on to co-headline a large-scale tour with Hollywood Undead, and put out an album (Reckless And Relentless) that shed a lot of their cliched sound from their debut album, while adding in pieces of the arena-rock sound that the band strives for.
Four-piece political-punk act Rise Against’s newest album, Endgame may not have been their best-known effort to date, but it was still a very well-written disc. In addition to releasing a new record, the band also headlined a tour which brought along punk legends Bad Religion, and up-and-coming pop-punk band Four Year Strong. Later in the year, they even got to support Foo Fighters on part of their North American Tour. How cool is that?
My Chemical Romance
MCR won our Album of the year honors last year, and in 2011, they toured in support of Danger Days. The band showed that they still have it after all these years by headlining a large North American tour, followed by playing in support of punk icons blink-182. All of this went on amidst talk of another new album coming in 2012.
Who is YOUR pick for Band of the year?
- The Maine (45%, 14,372 Votes)
- My Chemical Romance (42%, 13,364 Votes)
- Asking Alexandria (10%, 3,058 Votes)
- Breathe Carolina (2%, 512 Votes)
- Rise Against (1%, 472 Votes)
Total Voters: 31,776
Album of the year:
The Maine’s “Pioneer”
Pioneer was a huge surprise and a great, early Christmas gift for listeners this December. The Maine’s third full-length effort is undoubtedly their best so far in their young careers. John O’Callaghan’s vocals are a real treat, and the guitar tones on the record are wonderful to hear over and over again.
Asking Alexandria’s “Reckless and Relentless”
Following Stand Up And Scream, Reckless And Relentless almost seems like it was made by a brand new band. Asking Alexandria did everything that they could to shed the immature synth-laced hardcore sound that they became known for. On Reckless And Relentless, Asking Alexandria cooked up a raw-feeling sound that helps them along towards their 80s arena-rock goal.
Sleeping With Sirens’ “Let’s Cheer To This”
Before Let’s Cheer To This” was even released, Sleeping With Sirens frontman Kellin Quinn boldly proclaimed that it would be the “album of the year.” Well, he may just be right. The band’s newest effort makes major strides from their debut, with less of a heavy feel and more of an alt-rock vibe. Kellin’s vocals are a huge selling point for the disc, backed up by solid musicianship.
D.R.U.G.S.’ “Destroy Rebuild Until God Shows”
As the first record put out by a group of well-accomplished musicians assembled by Craig Owens, Destroy Rebuild Until God Shows’ self-titled album has been quite successful. Their music has got them onto major tours during the past year, such as Vans Warped Tour (on the Tegart/Main Stage) and World War III Tour. The songs are a bit more mainstream than anything Craig was a part of with Chiodos, but breakdowns and catchy choruses are still a major factor.
I Am Empire’s “Kings”
Kings is an album with a huge sound that comes from a fairly unknown band. I Am Empire released their debut album this year via Tooth & Nail Records. With a major Mötley Crüe sound to the the record, Kings is an easy-to-listen-to record with plenty of hooks and extremely catchy solos.
Who is YOUR pick for Album of the year?
- The Maine's "Pioneer" (61%, 7,278 Votes)
- Asking Alexandria's "Reckless And Relentless" (20%, 2,404 Votes)
- Sleeping With Sirens' "Let's Cheer To This" (8%, 986 Votes)
- D.R.U.G.S.' "Destroy Rebuild Until God Shows" (7%, 840 Votes)
- I Am Empire's "Kings" (4%, 475 Votes)
Total Voters: 11,981
Music video of the year:
Rise Against’s “Make It Stop (September’s Children)”
Rise Against’s music video for “Make It Stop” was made in order to drum up more support for the It Gets Better Project, and shine light onto the issue of bullying towards LGBT youth. A better job could not possibly have been done, as the video came out as one of the strongest and most moving music videos in recent history.
Bring Me The Horizon’s “Blessed With A Curse”
Bring Me The Horizon released three videos in 2011, so it was inevitable that we chose at least one (or two) of them for our list. “Blessed With A Curse” was the most simple video that involved two polar opposite curls reflecting on bad memories while the band was surrounded by upside down hanging balloons.
Asking Alexandria’s “To The Stage”
“To The Stage’s” video basically summarizes the events leading up to a fictional show in the lives of Asking Alexandria. However, on the way to the stage, Danny ends up getting dragged off to have a little too much fun, and the rest of the band is left searching for him, only to find him overdosed.
Bring Me The Horizon’s “Alligator Blood”
“Alligator Blood” is one of the creepier songs from Bring Me The Horizon’s most recent effort and they matched it with a creepy video. Leading through a back alley casino involving roulette and tarot cards predicting Sykes’ accompanied by just as creepy people and animals. In the end not one of them make it out alive.
Miss May I’s “Masses of a Dying Breed”
Miss May I generally keeps their music simple and to the bare minimum, which is reflected by this video. No fancy shots of the band, just some smoke and a good story. The plot is in an early America during the Civil War where race becomes no object between two men. Drama shouldn’t stand between people when help is required. Good message, good video.
What is YOUR pick for Music video of the year?
- Asking Alexandria's "To The Stage" (33%, 1,944 Votes)
- Bring Me The Horizon's "Blessed With A Curse" (24%, 1,415 Votes)
- Rise Against's "Make It Stop (September's Children)" (22%, 1,308 Votes)
- Miss May I's "Masses of a Dying Breed" (11%, 673 Votes)
- Bring Me The Horizon's "Alligator Blood" (10%, 589 Votes)
Total Voters: 5,929
Upcoming band/artist of the year:
Crown The Empire
Texas-based Crown The Empire is still unsigned, and just released their debut EP, Limitless. They’re the only band up for Upcomer of the year that isn’t signed. The band takes the now-common synth and hardcore combination and takes it to a new level, with extremely catchy songs. Make sure to watch for a signing involving them during 2012. Check out: “Voices”
The Venetia Fair
The Venetia Fair is one of the craziest live performances ever to take a stage. Every second of every one of their sets is a mind-blowing experience, and they bring their show all over the country. In addition to being great performers and van-dwellers, they also make some fine music. It cannot be described well as anything other than alternative/indie-rock, which makes it sound bland compared to what it truly is. They released an EP this year entitled The Pits. Check out: “I’m Still Amazed”
I Am Empire
With their debut record, Kings already up for album of the year, it goes without saying that I Am Empire must have some talent. On top of their debut, the band also did a considerable amount of touring throughout the US this year. They’ve definitely proven themselves a worthy band to look out for in the near future. Check out: “Brain Damage”
I, The Breather
Their first full-length came out last year, which was followed by their touring full-time throughout this year. Just a few weeks ago, the band started recording their next effort. They’ll be making a return to their touring schedule very soon as they will be support on August Burns Red’s upcoming headliner. Check out: “Forgiven”
Oh, to be young and in love with music. Title Fight is a group of young guys that have been playing together since they were early teenagers. They’ve released multiple demos, EPs and two full lengths, and were featured on this year’s AP Fall Tour. Title Fight leads with young determination which is needed to stand out in music today. They’re expected to be releasing a new full length in 2012. Check out: “27″
Who is YOUR pick for Upcoming act of the year?
- Crown The Empire (44%, 3,617 Votes)
- The Venetia Fair (32%, 2,648 Votes)
- I, The Breather (8%, 694 Votes)
- I Am Empire (8%, 683 Votes)
- Title Fight (8%, 593 Votes)
Total Voters: 8,233
Stand-out moment of the year:
Jonny Craig.. being Jonny Craig
Anything from his beautiful voice, to “selling laptops,” entering detox, and reportedly making a comeback with a solo career, this one pretty much sells itself without much explanation.
Danny Worsnop in Seattle
It’s known that Asking Alexandria likes to party, but after Danny Worsnop was too intoxicated to perform on stage, sides started to separate. The band took the right steps saying Worsnop would enter rehab and that they would go back to Seattle and play a free show.
Sam Parsons leaves The Venetia Fair to go to space
A story like this one could only really come from the camp of The Venetia Fair. Back in April, Sam left the band in order to dedicate himself to a career with NASA and have a chance to return to space. For those that have seen The Venetia Fair play, you may be a little concerned about one of their former members having anything to do with operating any form of spacecraft, but have no fear; we’re sure that Sam is making a great astronaut.
Austin Carlile rejoins Of Mice & Men
If you’re a Twitter user you probably remember this day very distinctly: “Austin Carlile” was trending worldwide. After joining and leaving multiple bands before, many fans were unsure of this move from Carlile and co. Fast forward to December 2011 and OM&M are still going strong.
Jona Weinhofen breaks hand in pit
We may never know if that alleged mishap between Sykes and a fan in the crowd actually happened a few years back, but there’s proof that Weinhofen was throwing punches this year. After getting upset with something on the floor, he jumped into the pit of his own show which led to a broken hand.
What is YOUR pick for Standout moment of the year?
- Danny Worsnop in Seattle (35%, 1,701 Votes)
- Austin Carlile rejoins Of Mice & Men (33%, 1,642 Votes)
- Jonny Craig being Jonny Craig (11%, 553 Votes)
- Sam Parsons leaves The Venetia Fair to go to space (11%, 543 Votes)
- Jona Weinhofen breaks his hand in a pit (10%, 488 Votes)
Total Voters: 4,926