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The Washington Area Music Association announced the nominees for the 25th iteration of its annual awards show last week—-news I somehow missed, but which TBD’s Sarah Godfrey thankfully brought to my attention today. WAMA members vote for the nominees and winners each year, and, as with all awards shows, they make plenty of weird decisions and omissions every go-around. Taste is subjective, and so is the collective taste of WAMA.
Besides, as proponents of the Wammies are quick to remind critics, if you don’t like the artists that WAMA rewards, you can always pay to join the organization and have a vote next year.
Godfrey has an excellent post on the hits and misses among this year’s nominees. Check it.
I’ll add one miss, which I think speaks to the notion that the Wammies privilege known quantities over neophytes.
Check out the Washington Area Record Company category (toward the bottom of the full ballot): Eight labels are nominated. One of them is Dischord, the legendary punk label. It released only one (very good) album of new material this year, and continued reissuing titles from its catalog. Sockets Records is not nominated, even though the local label run by Sean Peoples released five very goodalbums this year and packed the Black Cat at a showcase last January. The label and its releases earned positive notices throughout the year in City Paper and the Post.
Fine, whatever. There’s a reason none of the Wammies’ categories employ the word “best.” These are WAMA’s picks; they’re no more a be-all-and-end-all exercise than any group or publication’s annual list of superlatives.
But a browsing of this year’s Wammies nominees raises enough red flags—like, where’s all the good indie rock? It’s great that Bob Mould is nominated again, but did he actually release music in the last year? Props for nominating Nadastrom, but why does the list otherwise ignore the EDM scene’s banner year?—to suggest that this well-intentioned awards ceremony is pretty removed from much of the great music that comes out of D.C. each year.
I trust my colleagues Mike West and Steve Kiviat will want to add their thoughts.
Meanwhile, Sockets has its annual showcase this Saturday at the Black Cat. Vote with your feet and go.