OC Music Awards: And the winners are…

And our biased opinions on some of the winners…

[By Monica Harris]

After all the votes were tallied, and following three exciting months of live showcases at such Orange County hotspots as Detroit Bar and The Slidebar, the Orange County Music Awards was presented at City National Grove of Anaheim on March 3, 2012.  And the winners are:

Best Album: Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes, Social Distortion
Best Song: “Cough Syrup,” Young the Giant
Best New Artist: Jeramiah Red
Best Pop: the Aquabats
Best Rock: Thrice
Best Alternative: Young the Giant
Best Indie: Kiev
Best Blues: Jeramiah Red
Best Country/Americana: Nicole Vaughn and Her Lovely Band
Best Folk: Micah Brown
Best Club DJ: DJ Thrifty Lips
Best Electronic: Free the Robots
Best Hip-Hop: BLOK
Best Jazz: Nancy Sanchez
Best Latin: Boogaloo Assassins
Best Metal: Railroad to Alaska
Best Punk: The Adolescents
Best Surf: The Growlers
Best World: The Dirty Heads
Best Live Acoustic: Allensworth
Best Live Band: Railroad to Alaska
Best Music Video: “Cough Syrup,” Young the Giant
Best Youth: Ugly Paint
People’s Choice: Fusion Beat
Orange County Impact Award: Thrice
Lifetime Achievement Award: Rodney Bingenheimer, aka Rodney on the ROQ

Although we disagree with some of the winners (Best Music Video “Cough Syrup”…really? Great song, but the video doesn’t do it justice), and we notice that the OCMAs tend to award artists with the most notoriety and chart success (let’s face it, none of the nominees against Thrice had a chance. Thrice has been an OC principal since 1998), we noticed there were a lot of extremely talented nominees this year.

AND some artists really caught our attention:

Best New Artist winner: JERAMIAH RED [Photo above]. No, this is not a solo artist named Jeramiah. In fact, no one in the group of five is named Jeramiah. But Wes Dickson (vocals) is mesmerizing onstage, and seems to channel the passion of Robert Plant or Jack White when he sings. I can’t seem to stop watching. Congrats for winning Best New Artist and Best Blues!

Best Country/Americana: NICOLE VAUGHN – At first glance, she is just a sweet, simple girl with a guitar and a harmonica. But then she steps to the mic and opens her mouth – and wow. Nicole is an old soul who is a natural onstage, with songs full of passion and catchy choruses. Definitely one to keep our eyes on.

Nicole Vaughn, photo courtesy NicoleVaughn.com

Best World Music: THE DIRTY HEADS.  This group, made up of skaters/smokers Dustin Bushnell, Jared Watson, Jon Olazabal, Matt Ochoa, and David Foral, hails from Huntington Beach and offers smooth, laid-back reggae music. We like.


Best Electronic: FREE THE ROBOTS – we like this choice. Free The Robots is Chris Alfaro, a one-man wonder from Santa Ana, who fuses jazz, psychedelic, electronic and hip-hop beats into genre-defying sound.


Best Hip Hop: BLOK – I’m not sure I agree with this choice as “the best.” Picture a fashionable guy spitting rhymes with a Ke$ha look-alike dancing at his side, and you’ve got Blok.  Although I like their music, I must say this is an interesting choice for Best hip hop, especially over the likes of Speach Impediments. I listen to Blok and I hear “dance” or “Club” music. Yes, they are unique and put on a fun avante garde live show. But…hip hop? Not sure.

This is just a sampling of our (biased) opinions on the night’s winners.  If you agree or disagree, feel free to leave a comment. And alas, its about the music and how it makes you feel, after all, not about winning awards. We understand that.

We would like to congratulate all of the winners and nominees, and we’re looking forward to hearing more good music in the coming year.


(c) Life-is-Awesome.net