What Does Genius Sound Like?

The Stranger Genius Awards Recognize Music—at Last

What Does Genius Sound Like?

AND THE NOMINEES ARE…? Seattle is overflowing with options.

  • comments (143)
  • Print

At last year's Stranger Genius Awards party, after the awards were presented for Visual Art, Theater, Film, Literature, and Organization, there was music. Bands performed shunted to one corner of the Moore Theatre's stage and DJs played in the basement bar, while the official Geniuses mingled, mostly in the lobby. These musical artists—acts like brainy indie-pop band Throw Me the Statue, goofy hiphop collagists Mash Hall, and young "chillwave" duo U.S.F., as well as DJ outfits Emerald City Soul Club and Trouble Dicso—weren't being honored, they were working; they were closer to the evening's caterers than the year's Geniuses. Like every other year, music was at the Genius Awards, but it was pushed to the periphery.

And so it's been with the awards themselves. Last year, Charles Mudede presented the Film Genius Award to Zia Mohajerjasbi (younger brother of Blue Scholars DJ/producer Sabzi), who was honored largely for his music videos. Mudede wrote in that week's issue: "More than anyone else, his images have captured the new energies of Seattle's emerging hiphop scene." Brendan Kiley presented the Organization Genius Award to the Pacific Northwest Ballet, praising the company for staging "a fierce 15-minute solo by Marco Goecke set to C.P.E. Bach and [punk rock band] the Cramps." Lindy West pointed out that Theater Geniuses the Cody Rivers Show took their name from "a satirical country-music character they used frequently in early performances."

In years past, winners have included visual artist Wynne Greenwood of experimental video rock band Tracy + the Plastics, and theater-makers Implied Violence, whose work has frequently incorporated local musicians such as the Dead Science alongside recordings by the Wu-Tang Clan.

So where was the Music Genius?

It's been something we've debated at The Stranger for years. The main argument against having a Stranger Genius Award for Music has been that we already give enough attention to music. It's true that The Stranger devotes more space to music than to any other single arts section in the paper—we're as much a music paper as a gay paper or a Seattle paper.

And in years past, we've given back to the Seattle music scene via the now-defunct Big Shot competition, a battle of the bands driven by reader votes with prizes that included money, gear, recording time, and passage to SXSW. But Big Shot ended years ago and nothing has replaced it.

It's not like musicians don't need the money as much as other artists do. Anyone who thinks musicians are all swimming in piles of money, Uncle Scrooge–like, just isn't paying attention. The music industry is in shambles, its primary means of making money (selling physical recordings of musical performances) gutted by the advent of easy file-sharing technology. (Has visual art suffered so specific an economic meltdown? Has theater?) Even when the music business was at its most robust, not every musician was buying mansions. For every artist making money, many more struggle to make ends meet, and that's as true for musicians as for artists in any other field. The no-strings-attached $5,000 prize of a Genius Award could buy a band a van and enough gas to tour the United States.

So this year, we're thrilled to announce the first annual Stranger Genius Award for Music. That's got a nice ring to it, doesn't it? But what will genius sound like, exactly?

Well, what's most promising for the new category is just how much ground it could potentially cover. It could go to outré hiphop act Shabazz Palaces, for his expert and adventurous destabilizations of that genre's forms and norms. It could go to Throw Me the Statue songwriter Scott Reitherman, for his uncanny way around a wordy, brainy but utterly catchy pop tune. It could go to Decibel Festival founder Sean Horton, for his massively successful efforts to put Seattle on the international map not just as a rock town but as a hotbed of world-class electronic music. It could go to Jherek Bischoff, for his work with the Dead Science and other bands and for his more avant-garde compositional work. It could go to the Portable Shrines collective, for its work in facilitating an underground of new psychedelic happenings in Seattle's music scene. It could go to THEESatisfaction, for their Star Wars rebel (without a "pause") rap and R&B. It could go to Foscil and Truckasauras, for the linked crews' serious electro-acoustic jazz improvisations and their more popular and impish electronic party music. Or to countless others.

And we're open to suggestions. The first year of the Stranger Genius Awards, we invited the public to send us their ideas about who they thought deserved to be honored with the cash prize and the profile and the party. After all, there is no application process for the Genius Awards—the last thing we want artists to be doing is filling out paperwork—and we wanted to make sure there wasn't anyone we weren't thinking of. Sure enough, there was someone we weren't thinking of—Chris Jeffries, a theater artist and, of course, musician. Readers recommended him, and he totally deserved a Genius Award, so he won one.

So now we put it to you: Who do Stranger readers think should be honored with the first Genius Award for Music? And more importantly, why? Music, as much or more than any other art form, incites incredibly passionate debate. It's personal. Everybody has an opinion, and everybody has a favorite musician or band they think deserves greater recognition or material success. We want to hear your arguments for who deserves this award and what makes their work great—make your case in the online comments for this story.

Seattle is overflowing with musical genius. The only hard part will be narrowing the nominees down. recommended


Comments (143) RSS

Oldest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment
I nominate Truckasaurus
Posted by really im first weird on May 19, 2010 at 10:49 AM · Report this
Daniel G Harmann and the Trouble Starts
Posted by Cappelletti on May 19, 2010 at 11:08 AM · Report this
Karl Blau. 15 years of being the NW's prime architect of lo-fi dub-folk-electro-jazz-grunge, and still innovating. Post-genre before post-genre was cool. His adventurous influence is felt widely, yet he's doing his best work RIGHT NOW.
Posted by Kevin Erickson on May 19, 2010 at 11:55 AM · Report this
Thee satisfaction does it right.
Posted by killerB on May 19, 2010 at 12:00 PM · Report this
I nominate Steven Severin. This city's scene wouldn't be as awesome as it is without him. He gave breaks to many DJs and bands back in the day that have gone on to shape Seattle music scene from top to bottom.

Posted by J-Justice on May 19, 2010 at 12:27 PM · Report this
The Whore Moans! They are fantastic. They bring together some heavy, soul shaking music, with some incredibly intelligent lyrics. One of the best live shows you can catch in this city.
Posted by The Stranger is a Stranger to Seattle on May 19, 2010 at 12:51 PM · Report this
I love Shabazz Palaces, but it seems silly to give $5,000 to a guy who has a Grammy already and rides in Jag.

Thee Satisfaction seems the most likely to warrant the award. They are fresh, fun and breaking down barriers and stereotypes. For my money, that's genius.
Posted by Jeff on May 19, 2010 at 12:59 PM · Report this
Alan Bishop, from the sun city girls should be nominated way before Thee Satisfaction, his Subliminal Frequencies label is amazing
Posted by burb on May 19, 2010 at 1:33 PM · Report this
Fresh Espresso.
Posted by By Far on May 19, 2010 at 1:36 PM · Report this
Jherek Bischoff...Hands Down. Just give it to him now. Everyone else is also well deserving-what a flattering round of picks!
Posted by chaosmassive on May 19, 2010 at 1:37 PM · Report this
translinguistic other 11
@8 is unregistered and therefore hidden, so I'll reiterate. The Sublime Frequencies label is indeed an invaluable local treasure and should be on the list for sure.

I'm so glad there's finally going to be a Genius award for music! There are so many worthy contenders...
Posted by translinguistic other on May 19, 2010 at 2:55 PM · Report this
I say Portable Shrines... damn near the only shows worth going to from start to finish and THE only shows that provide a full experience. p.s. imagine what they'd do with the money... Escalator Fest would be unbelievable... and that is something Seattle needs.
Posted by Marasmus on May 19, 2010 at 2:57 PM · Report this
The Lights. They have been putting out dirty/sexy/innovative rock and roll for years, they respect each other and represent what a true musical collaborative should look like, and they continue to build a huge local fan base, even with no major label support. Tell me what other band has done that. They deserve some recognition.
Posted by lightsfan on May 19, 2010 at 4:00 PM · Report this
Kenneth 14
Karl Blau
Posted by Kenneth on May 19, 2010 at 4:36 PM · Report this
Pearl Jam, just for the lyric, "when sumthin's cooold, I'm gonna put a little blanket on it". That's like the E=MC2 of music, and I bet Stone good get a pretty decent hair cut, or a new pair of shoes with $5k.
Posted by LeonJonDon on May 19, 2010 at 5:08 PM · Report this
What Sean has done with Decibel is pretty incredible and deserves consideration
Posted by Sextronica on May 19, 2010 at 5:42 PM · Report this
ryjan 17
Alan Bishop
Sublime Frequencies
Randal Dunn
Posted by ryjan on May 19, 2010 at 5:45 PM · Report this
I second Karl Blau, or even better, queen shmooquan.
Posted by Bittersweet on May 19, 2010 at 5:53 PM · Report this
Or how about a venue that could use some support, like Black Lodge or The Josephine?
Posted by Bittersweet on May 19, 2010 at 6:03 PM · Report this
dminus11 20
scraps fo' sho'
Posted by dminus11 on May 19, 2010 at 7:11 PM · Report this
Lars Finberg should absolutely be represented in this. As one of the original members of the A-Frames, he then went on to create and front The Intelligence, but as the sole songwriter who also plays ALL of the instruments on the albums himself, he's recorded some of the most brilliant, infectious, catchy, weird and memorable punk/pop in this city over the course of the last 10 years. Also fronts best new band in Seattle, PUBERTY.
Posted by Junky26 on May 19, 2010 at 7:58 PM · Report this
Well, since you brought it up . . . Jherek Bischoff. Not only has he been a member of such groups as The Dead Science and the Degenerate Art Ensemble, he has also produced, recorded and played with Xiu Xiu, Casiotone for the Painfully Alone, Carla Bozulich, Jason Webley and Paranthetical Girls. And now he is focusing on orchestral instrumental music with his most recent project featuring the likes of David Byrne and Caetano Veloso. A 30 piece orchestra performed his works at Town Hall last September and and a 20 piece group did the same at City Hall just a couple months ago. Definitely some serious geniusness!!
Posted by thegumbos on May 19, 2010 at 8:02 PM · Report this
Is this is a joke? The music in this town sucks balls!!
Posted by Fluflu21 on May 19, 2010 at 8:28 PM · Report this
Posted by Keen on May 19, 2010 at 9:14 PM · Report this
Agree with "thegumbos" above. We saw Jherek Bischoff perform recently and the beauty of his avant-garde orchestral music brought me to tears. He probably is a musical genius. If you haven't seen him yet....go.
Posted by Woody/Scout on May 19, 2010 at 9:16 PM · Report this
I nominate Camille Bloom. . .She's incredible, her voice is pure, and she stands for so much. The whole package!
Posted by Lost in Spokane on May 20, 2010 at 6:54 AM · Report this
Are you kidding me? Jherek Bischoff is the musical mastermind behind some of the most innovative and creative music to emerge out of Seattle in the late 90s. Listeners have only to listen to his work with the Dips to understand this.
Posted by The residents of Oakland, California on May 20, 2010 at 7:43 AM · Report this
Joe Szilagyi 28
Natalie Portman's Shaved Head.
Posted by Joe Szilagyi on May 20, 2010 at 10:10 AM · Report this
Posted by charlie5 on May 20, 2010 at 10:19 AM · Report this
Holly Figueroa O'Reilly. She is back to writing and making music after a serious illness left her unable to sing or play at all for a year or so. Just give a listen to 2007's "Gifts & Burdens" to see why this is a very good thing indeed.
Posted by kitsapien on May 20, 2010 at 10:36 AM · Report this
How about Evan Flory-Barnes?
Posted by buginthegrass on May 20, 2010 at 10:43 AM · Report this
The Spits. (Done, like that. "Competition" over. End of Story)

Apologies to all this Jeremy Bischoff or whatever, but the Dead Science is one of the worst bands I've ever heard. Like fingernails on a chalkboard. And I'm sorry to say, BUT THAT GUY SUCKS.

The Spits.
Posted by All Night Long on May 20, 2010 at 10:58 AM · Report this
There are lots of people mentioned here that deserve to be Geuniuses, but here's another suggestion: Paul Rucker.
Posted by czh on May 20, 2010 at 10:59 AM · Report this
Didn't Eric Blood produce at least two of those bands? Shabazz Palaces and TheeSatisfaction? His debut solo album is pretty amazing and doesn't sound like anything from Seattle.
Posted by dedicated commenter on May 20, 2010 at 11:02 AM · Report this
I will throw in the name Alex Guy. She's played viola/violin with loads of different people (Jherek, Jason Webley, Laura Viers, and on and on) and her newest record just came out on Eleven Records a couple months back.

I'd like to see the grant go to someone who is doing a lot, but isn't necessarily a top-tier name that everyone instantly recognizes (Shabazz Palaces, Jherek Bischoff, etc). That way someone who otherwise wouldn't could come to the attention of many folks.
Posted by nobody will read this! on May 20, 2010 at 11:16 AM · Report this
Brian Geoghagan 36
Sean Horton / Decibel Festival deserves this.
Posted by Brian Geoghagan on May 20, 2010 at 11:19 AM · Report this
michaelp 37
Jared Mills, from ManPlus and Noddy. Duh.

He writes amazing music that is poppy and dancy and fun, with some of the saddest lyrics ever. While most artists that I have met with the ability to be very prolific tend to be lacking in the quality, that has never been the case for Jared.

He is a total music genius, and the ManPlus are awesome fucking possum.
Posted by michaelp on May 20, 2010 at 11:34 AM · Report this
ssemekim 38
I like Tiny Vipers.
Posted by ssemekim on May 20, 2010 at 11:34 AM · Report this
kerfuffle 39
Drag Strip Riot
The Diablotones
Hard Money Saints
Posted by kerfuffle on May 20, 2010 at 11:36 AM · Report this
John Roderick - reclusiveness, poor hygiene, public snarkiness and not releasing anything for years are all classic genius moves
Posted by schnctdy on May 20, 2010 at 11:48 AM · Report this
don't insult lars by putting him on this list.
Posted by The Stranger's Music Dept. Sucks on May 20, 2010 at 11:50 AM · Report this
Shabazz Palaces yep yep yep
Posted by if you know what's good, that is on May 20, 2010 at 11:52 AM · Report this
I nominate John Ramberg of The Tripwires. He's the full trifecta of rock-n-roll genius: guitarist,singer and songwriter extraordinaire. A true Seattle musical genius with more than 20 years cranking it out in the local music scene. He brought his Cheap Trick influenced guitar prowess to Gary Heffern's Cunninghams when he was still in high school and Motley Crüe gloves. Formed his own band Stumpy Joe with his pals Mark, Christian and Scott, they put out an album on Poplama that showed us he could write some damn fine rock songs (check out "Proverbial Straw" a Dylan-does-garage-rock-classic). After those boys broke up came 10 years of The Model Rockets with Grant, Boyd, Graham, Scott and Mike. They put out 4 albums of pure pop-rock genius during their career (check out "Ditched at the Grand Illusion", "Talk of the Cul de Sac", "Rusty Roller-coaster" and the mini-rock-opera "Pilot County Suite", these guys traveled to Spain a few times to extremely enthusiastic crowds that put us Seattlite shoe-gazers to shame. They also once played a note-for-note impromptu Beatles cover set at the EMP Sky Church for a VIP audience that I know for a fact they couldn't of had much time to practice for, if a set of covers could be called genius, that night applied. After a stint with Neko Case during the "Virginian" record and tour, he formed The Tripwires, with Mark Pickerel and the Sangster brothers. So far they've come up with two albums of Nick Lowe / Equals style Pub Rock, a must for any fans of tight songwriting and danceable pop songs, see them live now. When John's not playing with The Tripwires he might be on stage with the Minus 5 taking it up a notch with a high energy covers like "Betty Lou" when Scott McCaughey needs a break. Not to be limited to music, Mr. Ramberg is an excellent visual artist and graphic designer, with a masters hand in the look of the record covers his bands have needed over the years. I've met a few musical geniuses, Mr. McCaughey, Kurt Bloch, Mark Hoyt, Jeff Taylor, Eric Richards, The Purdins to name a few, and yes, as his brother I may be biased, but John Ramberg is my pick for The Strangers music genius award.
Posted by Peter Ramberg on May 20, 2010 at 12:20 PM · Report this
I totally concur with the Man Plus and Noddy suggestion! The guy has written hundreds of songs since I first saw him play at the Beacon Hill Pub and just tosses out these nuggets of gold. I haven't played a show with him in years, but he continues to pump out the catchiest stuff you've ever heard. I was always in awe of how easy it is for him. He is the best songwriter, a nice, funny guy and a genius for sure.
Posted by qwerty on May 20, 2010 at 12:40 PM · Report this
As a once skeptical, now avid supporter of the Decibel Festival I can attest to Sean's remarkable drive as director and genius as a curator, DJ and composer. Though it's still a fairly underground phenomenon in the NW, Decibel has quietly become one of the most respected music festivals and production companies in the world. I know this because friends and acquaintances of mine from all over the world travel to Seattle every September to experience Decibel. The fact that they continue to expand the audience and international talent every year, as a grass roots organization with little funding, is pretty astounding. Based on their preliminary line up, I would venture to say that the 2010 festival will be Horton's most praised edition to date.
Posted by Jim.Bradley on May 20, 2010 at 12:44 PM · Report this
C'mon, never mind the oh-so-temporary pop phenoms, what about:

Keyboardist, composer and teacher/mentor Wayne Horvitz -- king of the downtown NYC jazz scene before he moved here and has continued his great experimental and collaborative genius projects...!
Posted by broo on May 20, 2010 at 12:50 PM · Report this
Sublime Frequencies.
Sublime Frequencies.
Sublime Frequencies.
Sublime Frequencies.
Sublime Frequencies.
Sublime Frequencies.
Sublime Frequencies.
Sublime Frequencies.
Sublime Frequencies.
Sublime Frequencies.
Posted by nah on May 20, 2010 at 12:53 PM · Report this
scharrera 48
I agree on that John Ramberg idea...the man is such a gem, such a Seattle treasure of pure pop genius. Year after year he just keeps coming back with more great songs, great bands, and fantastic energy. That being said, you could say that about all of the Tripwires!! The Sangster Brothers are their own is Mark Pickerel.
Side tangent - there should be a separate category just to honor Mark Pickerel's hair.
Posted by scharrera on May 20, 2010 at 1:01 PM · Report this
Gotta jump on the Sublime Frequencies bandwagon. Super cool, deserving of money, medals, a trophy, etc.
Posted by Erin J. on May 20, 2010 at 1:07 PM · Report this
Hollow Earth Radio - For Magma Fest, for being great people, for supporting a wide ranging bunch of music and musicians, for being persistent and regularly full of humor and zest for life.

Or Bill Horist. I don't need to elaborate on how much prestige and general musical goodwill Bill spreads around. He is also a deserving musician. He tours endlessly, releases new music constantly and really ought to be a role model for anyone trying to their own (solo) thing.
Posted by Aphonia on May 20, 2010 at 1:08 PM · Report this
Gotta jump on the Sublime Frequencies bandwagon. Super cool, deserving of money, medals, a trophy, etc.
Posted by Erin J. on May 20, 2010 at 1:09 PM · Report this
What Does Genius Sound Like?
Mike Dumovich
Eyvind Kang
Posted by Trigger Happy on May 20, 2010 at 1:15 PM · Report this
Gurldoggie 53
Evan Flory-Barnes and Sublime Frequencies are both great suggestions. I also want to add Specs One to the list, who is long overdue for some serious recognition.
Posted by Gurldoggie on May 20, 2010 at 1:28 PM · Report this
54 Comment Pulled (Duplicate) Comment Policy
Josh Ottum! Total pop genius.
Posted by chocolatecoveredheelsgood on May 20, 2010 at 1:48 PM · Report this
lee blackwell of the night beats. and/or portable shrines collective
Posted by ariel000 on May 20, 2010 at 2:06 PM · Report this
57 Comment Pulled (Duplicate) Comment Policy
please don't give it to anyone that's already on a solid label, or is already getting tons of props and hype. basically don't give it to anyone simply on the merit of the music they make. give it to an organization or person that's doing great things for the music community, but is otherwise struggling financially.
Posted by kdiddy on May 20, 2010 at 2:24 PM · Report this
NaFun 59
I'll throw my vote for Sean Horton OR Randy Jones of Orac Records. That guy is doing some next-level shit with music technology that should make you cream your pants.
Posted by NaFun on May 20, 2010 at 2:24 PM · Report this
Josh Bomb 60
Karl Blau, no doubt about it. Great call @3!
Posted by Josh Bomb on May 20, 2010 at 2:35 PM · Report this
Gurldoggie 61
And what about Amy Denio?
Posted by Gurldoggie on May 20, 2010 at 2:43 PM · Report this
62 Comment Pulled (Duplicate) Comment Policy
I nominate this crazy motha luvin band called Malicious Discharge.,

if only because when i saw them, they played the Star Trek Next Generation theme and the Battle Toads theme from Battle Maniacs. And theres already enough hip, indie, hopscotching, gibbard glory around this town already.
Posted by Knic Barnes on May 20, 2010 at 3:07 PM · Report this
daniel g harmann (and the trouble starts) for sure. he's underrated & has been doing it better than most for years.
Posted by ben stevenson on May 20, 2010 at 3:08 PM · Report this
Man oh man, there are so many great options in this city; I do not envy whoever has to come up with this decision.

To clarify @35's comment, Alex Guy's project is called Led to Sea and it is, indeed, incredible and gorgeous stuff.
Posted by Levislade on May 20, 2010 at 3:58 PM · Report this
OK, what the hell, just to make your job harder, here are some nominations off the top of my head:

Diminished Men
Mike Dumovich
Brad Dunn
Bill Horist
Eyvind Kang
Posted by Levislade on May 20, 2010 at 4:06 PM · Report this
sublime frequency!
Posted by tiflin on May 20, 2010 at 4:24 PM · Report this
Alan Bishop
Amy Denio
Steve Peters
Steve Fisk
Christopher DeLaurenti
Cuong Vu
Posted by all that matters on May 20, 2010 at 5:48 PM · Report this
SEAN HORTON! Nobody in this town in the last 8 years has done more, sweated more, put up more of his personal finances and sacrificed more than he has to put this town not just on the map, but at the forefront of electronic music. He is the most passionate and devoted person I have ever met. It would be unjust and an insult to give this award to anyone else.
Posted by KOS on May 20, 2010 at 6:12 PM · Report this
Easy: Harmann.
Posted by MarissaThielen on May 20, 2010 at 7:36 PM · Report this
For sure Sublime Frequencies. No other label has challenged and changed the preceptions of how international music has an affect on the modern music scene. Alan Bishop and Hisham Mayet deserve a goddam nobel music prize much less a stranger genius award.
Posted by lapstatic on May 20, 2010 at 8:11 PM · Report this
People arguing against giving the award to a signed/"known" band... Didn't Sherman Alexie win a Genius some time ago? (And in any event, it's The Stranger, so let's check our expectations a moment anyway.)

In any event, it's clear that the recipients will be either:

a.) Shabazz Places
b.) Natalie Portman's Shaved Head
c.) Tacocat or
d.) Mad Rad.
Posted by Nick on May 20, 2010 at 8:18 PM · Report this
I have to second the Eric Blood nomination. Genius and diversity
Posted by Hey Hey on May 20, 2010 at 9:28 PM · Report this
You're all just slightly missing the mark...
The FIRST Stranger Music Genius award goes to...
Posthumously: Howard Bulson.
If you don't know, better ask somebody.
Posted by Sorry Charlie's back inna day on May 20, 2010 at 11:13 PM · Report this
Inaugural Stranger Genius Award for Music? This one is easy! Mr. Kurt Bloch!
Posted by poseur on May 20, 2010 at 11:35 PM · Report this
Sadly, based on precedent, @72 is probably the closest to the mark.
Posted by Jeff on May 20, 2010 at 11:40 PM · Report this
Posted by Spy Cream on May 20, 2010 at 11:59 PM · Report this
Posted by Spy Cream on May 21, 2010 at 12:02 AM · Report this
Two words: Sean Decibel. Decibel is a colossal festival which demostrates astounding talent from Sean. Go DECIBEL!!!

Posted by drniki on May 21, 2010 at 12:30 AM · Report this
levide 80
I'll settle for nothing less than an Alan Bishop postage stamp.
Posted by levide on May 21, 2010 at 2:52 AM · Report this
if we were voting based solely on promo pic .. i would have to go with the question mark.
Posted by gary smith on May 21, 2010 at 9:40 AM · Report this
Alex P 82
Without question, Sean Horton. Not only is he responsible for what could be the most internationally recognized and respected festival in the NW, he keeps Seattle's EDM community interesting by producing solid events month after month. Decibel is much more than just a festival.
Posted by Alex P on May 21, 2010 at 11:31 AM · Report this
Many musical geniuses out there but I doubt anyone has had as much of an influence and magic touch on this area of the world's music scene as much a KARL BLAU has. He has worked with so many different people in Seattle, affecting the way they will approach music forever. Mind blowing by himself, incredible as a producer, this kind of recognition for KARL BLAU is long overdue.
Posted by Geneviève Castrée on May 21, 2010 at 11:31 AM · Report this
Definitely Alan Bishop of Sublime Frequencies
Posted by VF on May 21, 2010 at 11:54 AM · Report this
Sean Horton ~ Decibel
Posted by LPrlz on May 21, 2010 at 12:26 PM · Report this
fuck, dude. that's so fucking difficult!!

Karl Blau, Shabazz Palaces, AND Jherek Bischoff. Because Seattle has too many musical geniusus. I wish I were picking female or trans-identified folks, but Laura Veirs ran away :(
Posted by novabird on May 21, 2010 at 3:15 PM · Report this
Jherek Bischoff, without a doubt! He is an incredible musician, songwriter, recording engineer, producer - not to mention he can play any instrument he picks up! He's truly gifted and definitely a musical genius, with or without the official title.
Posted by pnw30 on May 21, 2010 at 4:32 PM · Report this
Erik Blood. Producer, singer, songwriter, poet, one-man choir, master of spare dialogue and shifting points of view, traverser of genres, player of many instruments, considerer of God, love, promiscuity, disease, obsessions, betrayals. LISTEN the The Way We Live -- this guy's debut album. It's a flat-out masterpiece that will only grow in importance with time. (Plus, I swear I see a little white-robed Jesus figure waving to me from the window on the album's cover. Oh -- and is that a little blood I see splashed on Jesus' robe? How sweet!)
Posted by keithballard on May 21, 2010 at 5:26 PM · Report this
Amalala 89
Everyone who's been nominated is really great, but what Sean Horton does for the electronic music scene, both for Seattle and for the entire genre, is really something else. The way he gives back to the community is absolutely spectacular.

Posted by Amalala on May 21, 2010 at 6:13 PM · Report this
Amalala 90
Everyone who's been nominated is really great, but what Sean Horton does for the electronic music scene, both for Seattle and for the entire genre, is really something else. The way he gives back to the community is absolutely spectacular.

Posted by Amalala on May 21, 2010 at 6:14 PM · Report this
Decibel Festival. What Sean Horton has done for the electronic music scene in Seattle for the last seven years stands as an inspiration to anyone involved in the scene regardless of genre.
Posted by DosPassos on May 21, 2010 at 6:29 PM · Report this
Amalala 92
Everyone who's been nominated is really great, but what Sean Horton does for the electronic music scene, both for Seattle and for the entire genre, is really something else. The way he gives back to the community is absolutely spectacular.

Posted by Amalala on May 21, 2010 at 6:48 PM · Report this
Sean Horton should be recognized for his dedication, passion, and drive to put Seattle on the world map for electronica!
Posted by Jodi S. on May 21, 2010 at 7:09 PM · Report this
Even though he doesen't live here anymore...Nabil Ayers says me.
Posted by Minus one on May 21, 2010 at 10:46 PM · Report this
Portable Shrines ~ Brilliant!
Posted by debdonna on May 22, 2010 at 8:37 AM · Report this
Sean of Decibel Festival!
Posted by mnlrs on May 22, 2010 at 9:23 AM · Report this
Sean Horton FTW
Posted by Just Some Dick on May 22, 2010 at 9:49 AM · Report this
Fuck yeah Jared from ManPlus! He helped my old band write some songs for our album and he works magic effortlessly. Underrated genius. Shockingly talented songwriter with a great sense of humor and amazing voice.
Posted by Ten Feet on May 22, 2010 at 10:15 AM · Report this
Karl Blau!
Posted by Rocky Roadz on May 22, 2010 at 6:36 PM · Report this
I believe that Sadistik fit the criteria. Check out his video for "Searching for Some Beautiful" to see Seattle's best hidden gem of the music scene.
Posted by James1420 on May 22, 2010 at 7:10 PM · Report this
mustafaCELERY 101
THEE SATISFACTION are brilliant makers of sound love
Posted by mustafaCELERY on May 22, 2010 at 9:22 PM · Report this
For music:
Paul Rucker, cellist
Chris DeLaurenti, composer
Randy Hansen, insane Hendrix tribute artist
Richard Peterson, savant

For scene support:
Don Yates, Music Director of KEXP/KCMU
Doug Haire, Sonarchy Radio
Sean Horton, Decibel Director
Jonna McCurry, security at the Showbox
Posted by MoosikLovah on May 23, 2010 at 5:54 AM · Report this
Sean Horton of DECIBAL!!!
Posted by poop on May 23, 2010 at 8:22 AM · Report this
Sublime Frequencies! We're lucky to have them, AND Hollow Earth Radio is a positive force in the music scene (playing underrepresented local sounds) and is making the expensive but important move to a public space this August (they could sure us the money).
Posted by shana on May 23, 2010 at 11:22 AM · Report this
portable shrines for bringing together the psych/noise/experimental music scene and curating some of the best, creative shows in town. Plus, the damn visuals they create for all the bands are insane!
Posted by bikobiko on May 23, 2010 at 1:58 PM · Report this
BEN VERELLEN is my suggestion. He is a member of the innovative rock band HELMS ALEE and the founder of VERELLEN AMPLIFIERS (a locally owned & operated custom amp shop). Through his music & his small business, he continues to push the Seattle music scene into new territory. He has done more than enough to deserve consideration.
Posted by Kevin Hulett on May 23, 2010 at 3:54 PM · Report this
Posted by gbhoward on May 23, 2010 at 8:27 PM · Report this
The Physics
Posted by Chris19862386 on May 24, 2010 at 7:17 AM · Report this
cosby 109
No votes for Blake Lewis? It's your boy, Seattle!

But seriously, Sean Horton has given this city a world-recognized music festival almost single-handed (almost! I see you dB crew members / volunteers). He transcends the "I like that one song I heard that one time on KEXP" value of many of the other mentioned nominees.
Posted by cosby on May 24, 2010 at 10:53 AM · Report this
# 22 gave the facts on Bischoff, now it;s time to speak from the heart! I was lucky enough to be present for both his town hall and city hall performances and they were nothing short of spectacular, genius and necessary. This is someone who has pushed not only the scope of music that people listen to, he has done so by pushing himself in territory I never would have expected with the inception of the Dead Science. Come on! That town hall performance for his B-day was the most important musical event I have ever experienced, based upon not only the sheer beauty and balls of it, but also because I felt like I was in the presence of a fucking Genius.
p.s Can someone please throw Grandy the Statue already? Geez.
Posted by PBJ on May 24, 2010 at 2:32 PM · Report this
110, you are smoking crack.
Posted by good crack too on May 24, 2010 at 3:31 PM · Report this
This award should go to someone that isn't just a band or solo artist regardless of how good they are. It should go to someone that changed the music scene through either influence or organizing. On that note, Sean Horton should get it. I worked with Sean closely during DB's inception. He's relentless, he has a vision, and he created something very real out of thin air. Plus, he needs the money to keep his creation going because as big as DB is now, it's still a labor of love.
Posted by paulmcc on May 24, 2010 at 4:37 PM · Report this
Brian Cook 113
@106 i second Ben Verellen. knows how to make a mean riff, and knows how to build the gear to play it.
Posted by Brian Cook on May 24, 2010 at 5:13 PM · Report this
JAMIE HELLGATE - a true Renaissance woman of music. Currently on the drums in the innovative rock outfit Eighteen Individual Eyes. Guitarist/vocalist and driving force behind the (sadly) defunct H is for Hellgate. She's the founder of local label Scissor City Sound, which has released albums by the aforementioned bands. To top it off, she designed and built her own music studio. Genius!
Posted by unicornbones on May 24, 2010 at 5:22 PM · Report this
I strongly second ERIK BLOOD. He's all over the best of the music scene including his own works, productions, and sexy dancey moves on stage!
Posted by another Will on May 24, 2010 at 5:55 PM · Report this
Posted by monkeywhat on May 24, 2010 at 7:50 PM · Report this
Sean Horton for sure. He's spent well over a decade promoting events in the Northwest with a passion for putting Seattle on the map of the electronic music community. Getting a nod from the NYT recently, citing Seattle as a prime location for electronic music tourism was another great feat.
Posted by BlahBlahBlahg on May 24, 2010 at 11:37 PM · Report this
Wtf is chillwave. Wtf.
Posted by MargotCancer on May 25, 2010 at 12:24 AM · Report this
srslywut 119
whoever legitimately suggested Natalie Portman's Shaved Head should die in a fire
Posted by srslywut on May 25, 2010 at 9:46 AM · Report this
120 Comment Pulled (Spam) Comment Policy
David Bazan. Arguably the finest lyricist in Seattle. His new album, "Curse Your Branches" is deep, even if it's personal.
Posted by Sweet&Salty on May 25, 2010 at 12:25 PM · Report this
Reptet! This often over-looked "jazz" band has practically invented a new, as yet un-named, accessible, avant-garde jazz. They consist of bass, drums and horns and their horn players play everything from tuba to flute. Their primary composer Samantha Boshnack is brilliant and has been lauded by such folks as Steven Bernstein of the Sex Mob and Wayne Horvitz of Zony Mash. They've been touring almost non-stop for the last four years and they do it on their own with no label support or distribution. Plus their costumes are outlandishly stylish.
Posted by LissieP on May 25, 2010 at 2:50 PM · Report this
i second the nomination for Amy Denio -- she exudes genius. she can pick up any instrument and produce brilliance and beauty. it's an honor to be in a band with her.
Posted by stefanieb on May 25, 2010 at 3:07 PM · Report this
Please consider giving this genius award to someone who contributes to seattle music as both an artist with a voice in a band that is AWESOME, and a music venue owner who cultivates local talent on every level.
i nominate Andrew Nunez owner of the SeaMonster lounge
Here's why... The true musical life blood of a city is the place where the musicians go after their paying gig to hang out with other musicians and really let loose. Last week SoulLive played Neumo's on wednesday, but monday night Alan Evans was throwin down drums for an open mic jam session at SeaMonster. Tuesday night Skerik (Les Claypool, Garage a Trois) sat in with Mctuff Trio, and Thursday night John Wicks(Cee Lo Green, B.o.B., Bruno) played a show at the Triple Door main stage with Syncopated Taint Septet & Charlie Hunter(who's also sat in on jams at the seaMOnster), then he rushed over to seaMonster to what else... sit in and jam. Oh yeah, there's never a cover charge at the seaMOnster and bands still get paid more fairly than any other place in town. When asked what is your favorite spot in seattle during his American Idol run, Blake Lewis said " the SeaMOnster lounge" where he honed his skills playing open mic. Sea Monster is that place and if you ask any of these musicians why they will tell you it's because of Andrew. do you know how hard it is to open a bar/restaurant/music venue by yourself and keep it open for 7 years, especially in seattle? No microsoft money, no college degree, just fucking SOUL! and by the way, Andrew's voice is AMAZING, and his band HAIKU-CHI rocks. He has been performing at the SeaMonster since it opened, anything from killing Prince covers to laying down live funk on many instruments, to hosting open mic, and SHANGHAI PEARLS burlesque show. the band HAIKU-CHI plays to crowds of 350 people on average with no help from THE STRANGER, THE WEEKLY, or KEXP. Their 2nd cd is set to be released JUNE 5 at the TRACTOR TAVERN and they deserve attention as much as any SHABAZZ, ESPRESSO, SATISFACTION, RAD, or insert stranger staff favorite band/dj. if you do any digging on this subject you will only find more reasons to honor this deserving genius who would use the money to keep the seaMONSTER going another couple months at least
Posted by seamartian on May 26, 2010 at 5:00 AM · Report this
Wayne Horovitz and the Seamonster scene are the most legit contenders. These guys are survivors and will be around for a while. Most everyone else mentioned will be in the "Where are they now?" category in a year or two. That's just reality.
Posted by Tommy34 on May 26, 2010 at 11:42 AM · Report this
so many great and deserving people... emery carl! karl blau! john ramberg! bill frisell! paul rucker! david terry! astronautalis! amy denio! hollow earth! james bertram! shenandoah davis! i think an alan bishop stamp is long overdue, too.
Posted by jekyll_md on May 27, 2010 at 12:13 AM · Report this
Now that Chris DeLaurenti is (alas!) no longer a Stranger writer, he's a contender (or should be), and dammit, I'm nominating him.
Posted by Levislade on May 27, 2010 at 2:58 PM · Report this
dminus11 128
seriously. scraps. dave ramm needs money for college.
Posted by dminus11 on May 28, 2010 at 1:06 AM · Report this

They work too damn hard not to deserve this. And their fans love them too damn much. And, unlike most other artists, it's shown that they truly love their fans as well.
Posted by Arman on May 28, 2010 at 3:18 PM · Report this
Posted by drewski5555 on May 29, 2010 at 1:49 PM · Report this
I hope the Stranger does this right and gives it to an organization that needs the cash like Hollow Earth Radio.

Choosing an individual artist or band seems like the wrong way to go.
Posted by cb on May 31, 2010 at 12:02 PM · Report this
@131 As someone who runs a cash-strapped arts organization, I actually sorta disagree. Since the NEA stopped doing artist fellowships, and few arts philanthropists are interested in funding what could broadly be termed "pop music" (despite the weirdness of most the people mentioned here), there's just so few opportunities for working musicians/composers to find support outside of the failed free market. We gotta start taking musicians' needs more seriously, and make it a part of our philanthropic culture to fund them.

HER is awesome, of course and absolutely worthy of support.
Posted by Kevin Erickson on June 3, 2010 at 12:41 PM · Report this
Someone recommended me, and while I appreciate the recommendation, I would have to go with Jherek Bischoff as well. What he has done in the Seattle music community can't be overstated.
Posted by Holly Figueroa O'Reilly on June 3, 2010 at 2:51 PM · Report this
Ben Verellen!!! Creator and owner of local business Verellen Amplifiers, he puts his heart and soul into making custom tube amplifiers for the world to enjoy. Through his business and band Helms Alee, he contributes so much to the Seattle music scene. This guy works hard and deserves every bit of success that comes his way.
Posted by Bridget Smith on June 9, 2010 at 10:08 AM · Report this
Ben Verellen/Mike Erdman of Verellen Amplifiers i'm sure meet the criteria of music genius! not many artists have the education and craftsmnaship to create amazing music through exceptionally well crafted hand made tube amplifiers and effects. Verellen Amps is a shining example of using genius to create music. Zing!
Posted by DR V on June 9, 2010 at 10:33 AM · Report this
Verellen Amps !
genius used for good and not evil.
amazing amps, amazing people....
Posted by DR V on June 9, 2010 at 10:56 AM · Report this
BEN VERELLEN! Not only what the others mentioned about him... but he's also one of the nicest people you could ever meet.
Posted by Malaclypse.ksc on June 9, 2010 at 6:06 PM · Report this
Ben Verellen of Verellen amplifiers! If you haven't seen or heard one of his well constructed and amazing sounding amps then you haven't been paying attention.
Posted by NitsujustiN on June 9, 2010 at 7:13 PM · Report this
Ben Verellen, owner of Verellen Amplifiers. He is an amazing musician, engineer, and entrepreneur. Also, an incredibly genuine and dedicated guy who will continue to work hard and contribute to music as his passion knows no end.
Posted by Laura Jewett on June 10, 2010 at 9:19 AM · Report this
i remember john ramberg having to wait in the alley behind the central to do the shows there with me, and having to present the owner of the central letters from his mother allowing him to play there...this and the fact he has continued to do music...and that i am just so fucking proud of him and his work...sends my (very biased)vote from and miss all you seattle folks... gary heffern
Posted by gary heffern on June 12, 2010 at 8:24 AM · Report this
there is one guy that connects Shabazz Palaces, Erik Blood, Ali Marcus, Darrius Willrich , The Turn-ons, Norey, Menghis Khan (Jazz award), Kathy Hettle Blues... small list of a much longer list that all have worked with Bubba Jones.
Posted by bensnora on June 26, 2010 at 2:26 PM · Report this
Go Periscope!

These guys are an unsigned electronica band, much in the vein of Owl City. Finally starting to pick up steam thanks to C89.5 and The End. I know they've been on MTV as well. They should be considered.
Posted by jenniferb on July 22, 2010 at 4:40 PM · Report this
music award hmmmm....more like music award'S
1.organization-Hollow Earth Radio
2. venue-the Josephine
3. musician- Paul Rucker

*All three of these have shaped and influenced how this city defines and redefines itself artistically. They all have started from the bottom up.
Posted by violetfrench on September 13, 2010 at 11:58 PM · Report this

Add a comment