The nominees for the 26th annual Washington Area Music Awards were announced this week, which means it’s time for the annual Complaining About the Wammies critiques. Washington City Paper kicked things off this morning by listing a number of notable omissions. Sure, any local music fan in Washington could parse the dozens of categories and find some uninspiring nominations where more deserving acts should have been listed. But this is what happens when any awards show nominee list is announced. Someone is always bound to get snubbed.
Taking a look at this year’s ballot, it’s hard not to come to the conclusion that WAMA is trying to break outside of its comfort zone and embrace newer artists. WAMA has always appeared to be a fairly insular organization — the awards are voted on by its own members (anyone can join for $35 per year) and the nominees and winners, predictably, reflect the membership. Singer-songwriters, roots rockers, and particularly the veterans of those genres, often walk away as big winners.
Maybe that won’t change when the Wammies take place at the State Theatre on Feb. 19. But perusing the 2012 ballot and seeing Bluebrain, Oddisee, Tittsworth, Fat Trel, Gods’illa, Office of Future Plans, the Caribbean and Deleted Scenes is encouraging. All of those artists turned up on our best-of year-end lists and are certainly not part of any old guard. I mean, the Slutty Boyz got nominated. The Slutty Boyz got nominated for a Wammie.
That doesn’t instantly make WAMA hip or more credible. But it does show that in choosing the nominees, WAMA is trying to cast a wider net and be a bit more musically curious, which something everyone should embrace.