Thursday, April 21, 2011

The 2010 Platinum Vinyl Awards: Best Alternative Album of the Year

Alternative is the biggest genre out there, and I don't mean popularity. It seems like just about any rock band out there is eventually classified as alternative. The Night Beat will attempt to take a somewhat literal take on the name. If a band has a sound that sets it apart from the vast majority of rock, I will tend to call it Alternative. After all, isn't that what the name means, that it is the alternative to mainstream rock. Of course, it wont be all my opinion. I will try to include the industry accepted alternative bands (though that seems to be an oxymoron).

The Alternative Best Album of the Year Award appears on the surface to be a battle between EMI's Tooth and Nail and Integrity Media's INO Records, which between them have 5 of the 7 entrants. There is also an entrant from mainstream label Wind-Up Records and even an Independent Release.

First, in review, here are the final 7 nominees
  • The Only Easy Day Was Yesterday by 12 Stones (Wind-Up)
  • Light Up The Sky by The Afters (INO)
  • Burning Like The Midnight Sun by The Choir (Galaxy21/Independent)
  • Vagabonds by The Classic Crime (Tooth & Nail)
  • Disappearing World by Fair (Tooth & Nail)
  • Vessels by Ivoryline (Tooth & Nail)
  • Everything is Different Now by Stellar Kart (INO)
To see how the judging went and find out who won the first ever PVA Alternative Album of the Year, keep reading after the jump.
I can hardly believe it myself, but once again, there are two winners. If this happens too often people are going to doubt the integrity of the judging process (Shocking I know, especially with an awards show). The judges were quickly able to eliminate five of the candidates, and the reason given was that the music failed ultimately, to have the WOW factor. Great music, just not great enough.

Only problem, two candidates did have the wow factor, and had strong champions among the judges. Lest things devolve to general mayhem and bloodshed, as can happen when judging gets heated, I decided to step in and split the baby again, so to speak. Since I really can't figure out how to split the category (as was earlier done with Folk/Folk Rock) this time we really will have two winners, sort of like how some Olympic events have have two bronze winners. So without further ado the winner(s) of the 2010 Platinum Vinyl Award for Best Alternative Album are:

Burning Like The Midnight Sun by The Choir 

This is one of those times that a band would free up an award for someone else by getting the dreaded Lifetime Achievement Award. And who would doubt that The Choir would qualify. After all, there really would be no Alternative Rock if there weren't a Choir first. Petra may be the father of Christian Rock, but The Choir is the father of Christian Alternative. Founded by Derri Daugherty and Steve Hindalong as Youth Choir in the early 1980s (They became The Choir in 1986), they have recorded 12 Studio albums, 3 Live Albums and have tracks on numerous compilations. And if it weren't for the fact that the judges are also pushing for a lifetime achievement award for Michael W. Smith, it would be an easy choice. But since we can't have two lifetime achievement awards in one year (I think that one is chiseled in stone, unlike the others which are only written in pencil) we will give two awards.

The Choir's alternative style has often been described as dreamlike, and nowhere is that more evident than on the final cut Say Goodbye to Neverland. It has been five years since we have seen something from these Legends, and with this award I say, it's good to have you back.

From the Sensei to the Grasshopper. Our second award winner has barely been around for one-sixth the lifespan of the first, but that hasn't stopped them from making an impact on the alternative scene that will not be able to be forgotten. Vessels is only the second release by the Tyler, Texas based foursome, but beginning with the release of the first radio single The Healing the band has created a masterpiece of what I call melodic rock. Guitar work is manipulated to give the illusion of keyboards, and the sound is memorable. Rock/Alternative is expertly blended with two modern worship style entries Hearts Open and Broken BodiesThough the band has often been compared with former Tooth and Nail stablemate Anberlin, I expect the order of that comparison to be switched within a few years. Congratulations Ivoryline on winning the first ever Best Alternative Album Award in the inaugural Platinum Vinyl Awards.

Night Beat Trivia: Tyler, TX is not only the home of 2010 PVA Winner Ivoryline, it is also the home of 2011 PVA nominee Eisley. Not surprising, the band members of both groups are good friends. Also not surprising is that both bands are exceptionally talented.

We are halfway through the Album of the Year Awards and the General Field Awards after that. Song of the Year and Recorded Song (Record) of the Year will be done at another time as it is taking too long to compile. Next to be awarded is the Modern Worship genre at 8:15 PM Local (Eastern Daylight Time, USA). As always feel free to comment on the awards on site, and if you wish to discuss the awards on Twitter, I would suggest using the hashtag #PVA so it can be tracked as a trend.