The Dollar Bin Award

Goes to the record most deserving of a spot in the dollar bin at your used record store in 2010. And the nominees are:

Sleigh Bells – Treats
Interpol –  s/t
Wolf Parade – Expo 86
Broken Social Scene – Forgiveness Rock Record

This is such a difficult award to give out — I regret buying each and every one of these records.  Sleigh Bells is grating as all get out.  Both the Broken Social Scene record and the Interpol record were samey and uninspired, while the MIA record wasn’t fit for a woman with half her star power.  Yet, the winner of the The Dollar Bin Award has to go to Wolf Parade. With each successive release they get proggier and proggier.  At this point they might as well call themselves Rush and get it over with.  Or, break up the band for a bit, which is exactly what they did.

The Grand Michael Stanley Band Award

Goes to the top Northeast, Ohio artist of 2010. And the nominees are:

Cloud Nothings

It was just a few short months ago where I lamented on this very website that many of the Cleveland bands who dominated the latter part of the past decade were breaking up.   Turns out, we had nothing to worry about.  There’s no shortage of up and coming talent in Cleveland with Prisoners, Cloud Nothings, and Herzog  leading the way.  Now, while many would peg Cloud Nothings as Cleveland’s top act, and they have many supporters in town and across the internet, I’m going to pick Herzog for the 2010 Grand Michael Stanley Band Award.  Nick Tolar’s new project is unquestionably his best project to date.  As he’s gotten older, he’s learned the values of plugging in and rocking out.  Plus, while the volume of his songs may have gotten louder, he’s still retained that acute sense of melody which has graced all of his previous work.

The LL Cool J Don’t Call it a Comeback Award

Goes to the best band reunion of 2010. And the nominees are:

John Spencer Blues Explosion
Guided by Voices (The Classic Lineup)

At the beginning of the year, it appeared this award was destined for that merry band of California slackers, Pavement.  Their oft-rumored reunion finally happened.  They toured all over the world and headlined the indiest of indie rock festivals, The Pitchfork Music Festival.  However, as the year progressed it was an unexpected reunion that would ultimately be the biggest, baddest, and best of 2010.  That would be the reunion of the classic Guided by Voices lineup of Robert Pollard, Mitch Mitchell, Tobin Sprout, Greg Demos, and Kevin Fennel for a fall US tour. I had the fortune of catching Uncle Bob and the boys in Columbus and Detroit and each time they rocked out (And boozed and smoked and rock-kicked) like a group half their age.  Then, there’s the songs — too many classics to name — all sung boisterously and echoed by the adoring crowds.

The New Kids on the Rock Block Award

Goes to 2010’s best new artist. And the nominees are:

Super Wild Horses
Dum Dum Girls
Cloud Nothings

Few Cleveland bands in recent memory have the ability to jam pack the Beachland Tavern on a Saturday night.  Cloud Nothings is one of those bands.  This past Saturday, it was wall to wall, elbow to elbow people, and Dylan Baldi and the Cloud Nothings didn’t disappoint with their seemingly endless collection of frantic power pop and punk.   Their reward, besides a few extra bucks for the holiday season from that big time gate, is The New Kids on the Rock Block Award.

The We Jam Econo Award

Goes to the best live performance of 2010. And the nominees are:

Guided by Voices
Ted Leo and the Rx
Titus Andronicus
Jon Spencer Blues Explosion

No offense to the other band’s on this list, you, and I do mean all of you put on some memorable shows in 2010, but only one band can win the We Jam Econo Award and I only really considered one band — Guided by Voices. Congratulations, GBV, you can expect your commemorative rock in the mail any day now.  It works great as a paper weight or a hammer.

The Keith Richards Un-Memorial Award

Goes to the best performance by a veteran band or artist in 2010. And the nominees are:

Guided by Voices
Roky Erickson

There were other veteran bands who impressed in 2010, besides Guided by Voices.  John Spencer Blues Explosion delivered one of the best live sets at the 2010 Pitchfork Music Festival, showing all the young ‘uns what it means to be a performer.  Superchunk, meanwhile, rediscovered the agitated energy which made their early releases so vital.  Roky Erickson, well, he’s overcome so much it’s simply amazing he’s recording and touring.  The Keith Richards Un-Memorial Award for 2010 is going to Grinderman. The kids could learn a few things about what it means to lead a rock band by studying the late career resurgence of its front man, Nick Cave.  They are as vile, impulsive, invigorating, and ultimately, as necessary as any band out there.  And the members of Grinderman could be your dad.  Go figure.

The Solid Gold Easy Action Award

Goes to the best record label of 2010. And the nominees are:

Southern Lord

The Solid Gold Easy Action Award goes to Hozac Records. While every release may not be an 11 out of 10 on The Rockometer, they are stupid consistent in their output of garage rock, punk, mucked up new wave, psychedelic rock, and  pop.  As a result, Hozac is becoming an indie label like one of those old-timey labels, where no matter who the band and no matter what the format, you want to get your ears on it.

The Thank the Record Maker Award

Goes to the best vinyl reissue/vinyl compilation of 2010. And the nominees are:

Earth – A Bureaurcratic Desire for Extra-Capular Extraction (Southern Lord)
Boris – Absolutego/Amplifier Worship (Southern Lord)
Pavement – Quarantine the Past (Matador)
Spiritualized – Ladies and Gentleman We Are Floating in Space (Plain Records)
Rolling Stones – Exile on Main Street (UMVD Labels)

Everyone who’s shopped for records on eBay has been disappointed more than once as they’ve watched the price of prized vinyl skyrocket over $100.  That’s why I’ve invented the Thank the Record Maker Award to recognize the best vinyl reissue of the year.  And, for the inaugural award, I can think of no better recipient than Spiritualized’s seminal collection of  space-rock and gospel, Ladies and Gentleman We Are Floating in Space.

The Jay Reatard Memorial Award

Goes to the band punks and rockers who most embody the late Jay Reatard’s style of loud, snotty and rowdy Rock ‘N’ Roll. And the nominees are:

Ty Segall
Eddy Current Suppression Ring
Idle Times
Super Wild Horses

Granted, the Cleveland band Prisoners don’t curse as much as Jay Reatard.  Nor, do they get all belligerent and start fights with their fans when people get to close to their sh*t.  However, Prisoners do have an amazing grasp of what it takes to play garage rock.  They play it loud and loose and like they couldn’t give a sh*t to the world.  Yet, at the same time, they hold the great songs and the songwriters of past ages in reverence, pulling out a cover here, or a melody there.  In other words, listening to Prisoners, like listening to Jay Reatard, reminds you why you were first attracted to rock music all those years back.  Prisoners, Jay Reatard would be proud.  Enjoy your rock.

The Golden Axe of Odin Award

Goes to 2010’s top guitarist. And the nominees are:

Mitch Mitchell – Guided by Voices (Classic Lineup)
Dan Auerbach – The Black Keys
Steve Brooks – Torche

Steve Brooks of Torche can pack more killer riffs in a minute than most axe-man put down for an entire record.  For that, he gets the Golden Axe of Odin Award.

The Rusty Shovel Award

Goes to the band, artist, or trend in 2010 that I’d most enjoy hitting over the head with a rusty shovel. And the nominees are:

Panda Bear
Witch House
Chill Wave
No Age

While I would like to smash every witch house and chill wave band over the head with a shovel, it’s not necessarily a practical endeavor.  The sheer number of bands involved in these half-assed genres would require me to quit my day job and hit hipsters over the head with a shovel like it’s my only function in life.  And, while I’d like to hit No Age over the head with a shovel for the decision to stuff their latest record with such a big booklet that it pushed the price to $25, I still dig them as a band.  That eliminates, another one.  Now, Panda Bear used the stage of the Pitchfork Music Festival to play one of the least inspired sets of music in the history of music festivals and that should be enough to earn a shovel to the head.  It should be, because MIA’s taking the shovel this year.  C’mon, MIA.  Let’s drop the bratty, spoiled diva thing and get back to the music thing.  The music is what made your fame and it’ll be the music that brings you back in everyone’s good graces.

The Excellence in Awesomeness Award

Goes to the artist of the year in 2010. And the nominees are:

Guided by Voices
The Black Keys

There are three worthy nominees this year, but only one band can receive the Excellence in Awesomeness Award.  The Black Keys released what has to be considered their masterpiece album, Brothers.  Similarly, Grinderman’s second album, Grinderman 2, already has the distinction of being I Rock Cleveland’s album of the year.  Lastly, Guided by Voices has already garnered both the We Jam Econo Award, for best tour, and the LL Cool J Don’t Call it a Comeback Award, for best band reunion, due to the success of their Classic Lineup shows.  At this point, I could create two more awards, The Stupendousness in Awesomeness Award and The Miraculousness in Awesomeness Award, and not make a decision, or I could go with the band who gave me my two favorite Rock ‘N’ Roll experiences of 2010: Guided by Voices at the Outland in Columbus and Guided by Voices at The Majestic in Detroit.  The Excellence in Awesomeness Award goes to Guided by Voices.