The annual Boston Music Awards are upon us, bringing a yearly opportunity to survey the movers and shakers among the regional arts scene. With the festivities being held tonight at House of Blues Boston, we wanted to shine a spotlight on five need-to-know acts of this year’s BMAs.
Nominated for: Artist of the Year, Album/EP of the Year (“Monda”), Hip-Hop Artist of the Year, Live Artist of the Year, Song of the Year (“Where I Came From”)
You know how at award shows you can tell who’s really having their moment when you see their name sprawled across multiple categories, all but assuring that they’ll be leaving that night with at least a memento or two? At these BMAs, that’s Cousin Stizz, the Fields Corner rapper who this year followed up his breakout “Suffolk Country” project with the well-received “Monda.” Stizz, who headlined a sold-out show at Paradise Rock Club this summer, has already widely earned recognition and respect (you might have heard his track “Shoutout” on a recent episode of Donald Glover’s “Atlanta,” and he played the Trillectro Festival in Maryland with luminaries like Kid Cudi), so tonight could be a coronation.
Nominated for: Artist of the Year, Video of the Year (“Molly”), Rock/Indie Artist of the Year
After breaking out as 2015’s New Artist of the Year, Palehound has only gone on to bite off more of the musical apple, but not more than they can chew. The scaled-back alt-rockers would be right at home on the soundtrack to your favorite ’90s big-screen teen dramedy, but lead singer Ellen Kempner’s oozing vocals and the band’s twangy vibe still sounds pretty great piping out of your modern smartphone of choice.
Nominated for: Album/EP of the Year (“Telecoast”), Electronic Artist of the Year
The pop-electronica outfit is already a favorite around town, having taken home last year’s Electronic Artist of the Year Award, and their recent debut album, “Telecoast,” was recorded as a result of competitively winning a week’s worth of studio time at the Brooklyn Converse Rubbertracks Studio, so they’re used to prized fanfare. With a radio-friendly, retro-futuristic sound, Bearstronaut is essential information for your earholes.
Ruby Rose Fox
Nominated for: Video of the Year (“Dance of Frankenstein”), Female Vocalist of the Year, Singer-Songwriter of the Year
Ruby Rose Fox is a master of matching spooky lyrical imagery with affecting, moody and powerful vocal performances, and 2015’s Pop Artist of the Year has never better showcased these strengths than on her Video of the Year-nominated “Dance of Frankenstein.” Brassy and swaggerific, if you dig the experimental creativity and range of someone like Sia, you’ll want to keep a tab on Ms. Rose Fox.
Nominated for: R&B Artist of the Year
The thrice-in-a-row reigning R&B Artists of the Year are set to defend their crown, and will do so now behind the strength of their just-released “American Nightmare,” the follow-up to 2013’s “American Love.” The new album just might be their most complete work to date, distilling the electric urgency the band fronted by singer Dua Boakye brings to their live shows, and their ongoing success makes them a standard-bearer for musicians looking to cement their local bona fides as they develop audiences beyond our fair commonwealth.
Just a good idea: The “Beast” compilation serves as ideal BMA primer
With 13 original songs by 13 local acts — including 10 new tracks by 2016 Boston Music Award-nominated artists — the “Boston Sessions Vol. 1: Beast” compilation is a comprehensive survey of the Hub’s musical talent. A product of music nonprofit The Record Co., the album, which has just been released on vinyl and can be supported via Pledge Music, unites emerging regional talent like Dutch ReBelle, Michael Christmas, Littlefoot and Julie Rhodes — and the first installment of the planned multiyear initiative makes a perfect introduction for the local music lover looking to get a bead on the scene.
If you go:
Dec. 8 at 6 p.m.
Hiouse of Blues
15 Lansdowne St., Boston