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8 Boston Music Awards Nominees To Watch

Michael Christmas is one of the artists scheduled to perform at the 2016 Boston Music Awards on Dec. 8 at the House of Blues in Boston. (Courtesy Greg Gaffney)
Michael Christmas is one of the artists scheduled to perform at the 2016 Boston Music Awards on Dec. 8 at the House of Blues in Boston. (Courtesy Greg Gaffney)
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As always, the latest list of Boston Music Awards nominees contains multitudes: contenders new and old, names surprising and expected, the famous and the locally adored. And as usual, certain artists stand out, for myriad reasons. Maybe they are an emerging act with a first nomination, or they appear in all the major categories, or they are finally garnering recognition after years of toiling in anonymity. Below is a list of Boston Music Awards nominees who distinguish themselves in these ways and many more.

The 2016 Boston Music Awards — which were recently acquired by Paul Armstrong, CEO of the media agency Redefined, from former co-owner Jake Brennan — will take place on Dec. 8 at the House of Blues in Boston.


Cousin Stizz

Dorchester rapper Cousin Stizz started making waves in 2015 with his debut album “Suffolk County,” which earned him a nomination for Album/EP of the Year and Hip-Hop Artist of the Year. This time around he is nominated for a total of five BMAs, including the coveted Artist of the Year and Album/EP of the Year for his LP “Monda,” which is dedicated to a childhood friend who recently died of cancer.


Julie Rhodes

Somerville blues belter and first-time nominee Julie Rhodes is poised for a breakout. Rhodes racked up nominations in four categories, including Album/EP of the year for her lovingly crafted, soul-inflected debut “Bound to Meet the Devil.” She is also a featured performer at the Boston Music Awards on Dec. 8.


Palehound

The Boston indie band Palehound won Best New Artist in 2015 and continues its ascent with nominations in three categories, including Artist of the Year.


Ubuntu Band

Like many categories, International Artist of the Year tends to feature the same artists over and over—Debo Band and Shun Ng, for instance, have both been nominated multiple times and are on the ballot again this year. So it’s always nice to see some fresh blood among the contenders, which this year is contained in the immensely talented Berklee reggae-soul outfit Ubuntu Band.


Sad13

In 2015, Sadie Dupuis’ band Speedy Ortiz swept the major categories, winning Artist, Album/EP and Song of the Year with help from the group’s sneering, angular LP “Foil Deer.” Dupuis’ new, electro-tinged solo act, Sad13, is not nominated for a BMA, probably because the new album, “Slugger,” wasn’t out when the nominations were announced. Dupuis is nevertheless slated to appear (under her own name, not Sad13) at the awards ceremony on Dec. 8, and is nominated in two categories as a member of Speedy Ortiz. Her appearance at the BMAs comes in the midst of a tour for the “Slugger” and hot on the heels of the album’s debut on NPR’s First Listen.


PVRIS

Lowell pop outfit PVRIS picked up a couple nominations last year, but this year the trio appears in a whopping five categories, including Artist of the Year. The group has accrued millions of YouTube clicks and is clearly gunning for the Top 40.


Worshipper

It’s not often that a nominee for Metal Artist of the Year also gets a best album nod — the category tends to be dominated by pop-adjacent acts—but that is exactly the case this year for Worshipper, a relatively new band comprised of veterans of the local scene. In 2015, Worshipper won Metal Artist of the Year and was nominated for New Artist of the Year; now, the group is nominated in a total of three categories, including Album/EP of the Year.


The Hotelier

The Massachusetts emo-ish rock band The Hotelier is nominated for its expansive, critically-acclaimed album “Goodness” as well as Punk/Hardcore Artist of the Year. The group will perform on Dec. 8 at the Boston Music Awards.


Best Music Photo of the Year

The awards have featured a Best Live Music Photographer award for two years now, but the debut of a new category for “best music photo” really puts the talents of concert photographers on display. (The category was also introduced to promote Girls Rock Campaign Boston and ZUMIX, two local nonprofits that will benefit from a portion of ticket sales.) The six finalists for Best Music Photo of the Year are Greg Gaffney, Tim Bugbee, Corwin Wickersham, Natasha Moustache, Madison McConkey and Jonathan Beckley. The nominated photos can be viewed here.

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly identified the number of Boston Music Award nominations PVRIS received in 2015. The post has been updated with the correct number. We regret the error.

Amelia Mason Twitter Arts And Culture Reporter
Amelia Mason is an arts and culture reporter and critic for The ARTery, WBUR's arts and culture team. She covers everything from fine art to television to the inner workings of the Boston music scene.

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