Lolla - Live - Chicago

#TheChoosieAwards rocks on, and music lovers, we haven't forgotten about you. In the short span of time, I have seen the scene change dramatically. When I reflect on this "Chaotic Stew", this maelstrom, this beastly juggernaut gaining speed (fueled by testosterone and PBR), a couple bands stand out for making great progress.

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Nominee: Steven Paul Smoker

One bright summer morning, I was walking into Pitchfork Festival 2010 to set up my booth, when a scrappy dude handed me a piece of paper. I looked at the flyer and noticed that they were all bands that had been featured on my website in recent months.

I put the dude who handed me the flyer on the spot and asked... "Which one are you?" His reply was "Steven Paul Smoker" and during our conversation we discovered that all of the bands on that particular bill had met because of the Chicago Mixtape.

Steven has since gone on to create some incredible music.

Nominee: Cool Devices

Honing the perfect rock n' roll scream is much harder than it seems. There has to be a believable mix of attitude and tone, it can't sound rehearsed or contrived and when done right it can catapult the room to cathartic heights.

Jason Fredrick of Cool Devices has this nailed.

In boxing, competitors practice "punching through the target" or aiming the force of their blows a few inches behind the actual point where the punch will land.  Cool Devices does this musically in an unparalleled fashion. 

I was very excited to see them making more live appearances in 2012.

Nominee: Quarter Mile Thunder

For my friends and I, recording studios have a kind of gravity to them. While others dream of life on the beach, we dream of hot coffee on a snowy afternoon next to a hot microphone with the headphones cranked.

The more time one spends in a studio, the more that gravity begins to grow and the harder it becomes to escape. Ben Clarke, the man behind a very unique and collaborative project called Quarter Mile Thunder, has done some time in a studio.  He has felt the pull of this gravity. 

His recent masterpiece "Twist" is deceptively simple, infinitely delicate and sonically perfect. It is evident that an excruciating level of detail was paid to every nuisance of this record.

Nominee: Cousin Dud

This folk rock outfit started out as high school buddies playing acoustic guitars together and has grown organically out of a love for music. Their latest release, "Workinggirl's Dud" came to me as an oasis in the overcrowded desert of the folk world.

The "Dud Dudes" are one of cornerstone bands in a growing music community centered in Woodstock Illinois which is gaining momentum due to it's annual "Wasted Plaines Fest" made up of a full day of music, shenanigans, food and bonding.

And the Choosie Goes to...

All of them. Man, I can't pick a favorite.

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The Choosie Awards

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