Here are the Winners of the 2012 Dallas Observer Music Awards

Best Album

Best Solo Act

Best Female Vocalist

The Body Wins, Sarah Jaffe

Sarah Jaffe continues to be on the lips of North Texas music lovers in 2012, with her second LP, The Body Wins, revealing a tougher, darker side to longtime fans, and certainly gaining some new ones in the process. This new evolution is exactly why she remains relevant in our cultural landscape and important artistically, as Jaffe seeks new collaborators to dig into the nooks and crannies of her creative mind. Fingers crossed she puts down the bass to pick up yet another new instrument to compose with, as many eagerly await the next chapter in this hometown favorite's evolution. Deb Doing Dallas

Best Song

Best Punk Act

"Wait for Us," Mind Spiders

Meltdown, the second full-length from Mark Ryan's Mind Spiders, is fortified with pop-punk-new-wave ballast, but single "Wait for Us" is its finest moment, three minutes of strong-arm robbery that ends in a sci-fi spin of guitar, chant and synth. Audra Schroeder

Best Blues Act

Jason Elmore

Elmore's 2010 debut, Upside Your Head, was produced by the legendary Jim Suhler and featured a wide array of blues styles all held together by sheer tough-guy bravado. Echoing moments from Stevie Ray Vaughan, Freddie King and even ZZ Top, Elmore's best songs aim for the gut and are rarely off target. Darryl Smyers

Best Roots/Americana Act

The O's

Given that Taylor Young and John Pedigo have managed to make the basic instrumental arsenal of banjo, pedal steel, kick drum and harmonica sound rich and rootsy is a testament to their talent, and the fact that they might be the most popular act in town. Kelly Dearmore

Best Electronic Act


Duo Cutter are tentatively releasing an album on Dallas Distortion Music in the near future, but in the meantime, they've been slowly but surely gathering fans of their synth and drum war cry. Audra Schroeder

Best Experimental Act

New Fumes

Daniel Huffman's solo project New Fumes shows us he's just as at ease with the performance art components of his presentation as the aural ones. Projections, animal masks and his colorful pop-electronic compositions all work together to create an experience that is experimental, but never without context.

Deb Doing Dallas

Best Hardcore Act

Power Trip

Just the fact this category could've hosted a larger pool of worthy nominees says quite a bit about area bands that understand the nuance of a well-placed scream. Power Trip aren't a collection of angst-ridden youth spouting off about injustices, but if Riley Gale and crew had been active in the '80s, it's not hard to picture them in the middle of the action, if only because they would've been the ones causing the action.

Kelly Dearmore

Best Rock Act

The Breakfast Machine

After seeing this group at our Rock the Park event earlier this year, we knew they had the stage presence to rock beyond the park. March's A Pitch to the Wind finds them mixing pop, rock and a bit of funk, all propelled by singer Meghann Moore's golden pipes.

Audra Schroeder

Best Male Vocalist

Daniel Hart

Daniel Hart has a long history as one of North Texas' most unfailing supporting players for artists like St. Vincent and The Polyphonic Spree. His solo album, The Orientalist, is a lush piece of romance worth diving into. Hart's vocal deliveries are as nuanced as the compositions. Deb Doing Dallas

Best Pop Act

Burning Hotels

Burning Hotels took a minor gamble with their second record, last year's self-titled. Fusing some '80s pop elements to their post-punk style, masterminds Chance Morgan and Matt Mooty found themselves playing to even bigger crowds across the DFW area. Whether it was Trees, the Granada, Lola's or even the Winspear Opera House, the band has definitely made a positive impact and hopefully will deliver some great new music in 2013. Eric Grubbs

Best Folk Act

Hares on the Mountain

One of the best things about Hares on the Mountain is their ability to take you on a journey. Together, the six-piece group and its variety of instruments tackle subjects like death, drinking and camaraderie, and even when portrayed humorously, they still capture the essence of mid-century folk, updated for this modern life. Rachel Watts

Best Jazz Act

Yells At Eels

Trumpeter Dennis Gonzalez and his sons Stefan (drums) and Aaron (stand-up bass) recently played Trees as part of Index Fest, and picked up a handful of fans who'd likely never seen them. This is the power of a Yells At Eels performance. The trio's free-jazz excursions start at the base of the mountain and slowly wind their way up, until the altitude changes and you're out of breath. Audra Schroeder

Best Latin/Tejano Act

Mariachi Los Unicos de Greiner

"Los Unicos" means unique, and that certainly applies to this middle school mariachi band from Oak Cliff's W.E. Greiner Middle School Exploratory Arts Academy, led by founder Lupe Vargas-Garcia. Audra Schroeder

KEEP THE DALLAS OBSERVER FREE... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Deb Doing Dallas
Contact: Deb Doing Dallas
Kelly Dearmore
Eric Grubbs is a Dallas-based writer who has published two books, Post: A Look at the Influence of Post-Hardcore 1985-2007 and When We Were the Kids. His writing has been featured in Punk Planet, Popdose, Fort Worth Weekly, The Dentonite and LA Weekly. He supports Manchester City and will never root for Manchester United.
Contact: Eric Grubbs
Vanessa Quilantan
Audra Schroeder
Contact: Audra Schroeder
Darryl Smyers
Contact: Darryl Smyers
Rachel Watts
Contact: Rachel Watts