Vanessa Quilantan

Best Country Act

Somebody's Darling

Somebody's Darling
Somebody's Darling
Pinkish Black
Naomi Vaughan
Pinkish Black

There might be a better lead singer/lead guitar player combo in North Texas than Amber Farris and David Ponder, but such a case will not be easily proven. Farris' powerfully soulful voice is the smoke to the flames that leap from Ponder's axe when he really kicks out the jams. Their recent release Jank City Shakedown reminds us that country music can legitimately blow out amps. Kelly Dearmore

>Best Mixtape

Leon the Professional, (B)EAST

The "B" is for bass and the "EAST" represents the style and flavor of hip-hop, says Leon the Professional of his 2012 mixtape. That East Coast rap style translates nicely in Dallas' scene, however, and (B)EAST's furious spin of concrete flow and Southern boast makes for a one-of-a-kind jam. Audra Schroeder

Best None of the Above

My Wooden Leg

Experimental rock duo My Wooden Leg call themselves a "gypsytronic Balkan rock band." We couldn't come up with a better tag, so they found their way into the Best None of the Above category. Their experimental, sample-heavy sound is a product of two multi-instrumentalists and a MacBook. Guitarist Michael Maftean says that much like their live performances, their sound is ever-evolving. Rachel Watts

Best Funk/R&B Act

The Cannabinoids

In 2008, Dallas native Erykah Badu had the brilliant idea to put together an all-local live musical improv group. Joining forces with some of the city's most talented producers and beatmakers, Badu set out to give the artistic process of the remix a live setting. The Cannabinoids use eight laptops, three turntables, six keyboards, four drum machines, a theremin and live onstage production to create a visceral and lush soundscape like nothing you've ever seen before. Vanessa Quilantan

Best Instrumentalist

Petra Kelly, Hares on the Mountain

When we last wrote about her, violinist Kelly discussed how her fandom landed her spots in the bands she now performs with, like the Angelus and Hares on the Mountain. Since her addition to Hares, Kelly's strings have breathed life into the ensemble's songs. Rachel Watts

Best Cover Band

The Gorehounds

When a tribute to The Cramps wins Best Cover Band, you know Dallas is making some major strides. Most cities have to suffer through endless couch potatoes aping Bon Jovi or The Boss, but we get J.T. Dayton and Howard Kelley recreating some of the most toxic rock and roll ever made. Darryl Smyers

Best New Act

Blackstone Rangers

Derek Kutzer, Ruth Smith and Dan Bornhorst of Blackstone Rangers released the Salim Nourallah-produced Into the Sea, their synth-pop debut from Dallas Distortion Music, via cassette, and that's just plain cool. Kelly Dearmore

Best Metal Act

Pinkish Black

Pinkish Black winning this category is proof people are cool with their metal being less thrash and speed and more mood and ambiance. Jon Teague and Daron Beck's eagerly anticipated full-length self-titled debut is a remarkable feat of sound and spirit that comes close to transcending any categorization, let alone easily tagging it with a convenient label. Kelly Dearmore

Best Label

Good Recordings

As much a record label as an Internet-based song factory, Good Recordings certainly lives up to its moniker. But who can argue with a roster that includes such notable artists as Binary Sunrise, The Polyphonic Spree and Tripping Daisy? Add in the likes of Preteen Zenith, Sweet Lee Morrow and New Fumes and you have the makings of a kick-ass local music collective. Sure, the one-song-at-a-time thing is kind of precious and quaint in a DIY kind of way, but there's no arguing with the music. It's all damn good and demands your attention. Darryl Smyers

Best Producer

Salim Nourallah

For the seventh consecutive year, Salim Nourallah is chosen as the best knob twister and ego masseuse. There's nothing too fancy or obscure about the way Nourallah does his thing, and perhaps that simplicity is what attracts the likes of Rhett Miller, Smile Smile and Deathray Davies to Nourallah's Pleasantry Lane Studio. His style is crisp and clean and his recordings highlight each band's best features. Darryl Smyers

Best Talent Buyer

Parade of Flesh

Parade of Flesh is busy planning your free time and taking your disposable income with each new show announcement. You can trust the curation of their hardcore and punk shows, but look for their choices in alternative hip-hop, indie and comedy as well. Deb Doing Dallas

Best Record Store

Good Records

It's not a stretch to put the perennial winner of this category into the Best Venue category. Whether it's their always-epic Record Store Day celebrations, the big-name acts that appear for signings (Public Image Ltd, Deftones) or the caliber of bands that come to rock the Astroturf stage (Grimes, Hull, Anvil, Ting Tings), Chris Penn and his crew have a handle on quality tunes. Kelly Dearmore

Best Radio Show

The Paul Slavens Show, KKXT-FM 91.7

Since KXT's launch as an adult alternative station in late 2009, host Paul Slavens and his eclectic music show have served the tastes of many non-mainstream music seekers. From his random but spot-on selections to his deep consideration of his listeners' requests and feedback, he truly deserves this award. Rachel Watts

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