Nomination: Metal/Hard Music Recording of the Year
RIYL: The yawning black hole of the abyss, from which only metallic vitriol escapes.
Fun Fact: KEN Mode’s excellent latest album, Entrench, works as a revitalization of sorts for the band. In 2011, the band transitioned to a full-time touring band, which put a strain on the Winnipeg trio. Shortly after, their previous album, Venerable, would go on to win a JUNO, which granted them access to a whole new echelon of resources. Recharged, the band redefined themselves in the studio for Entrench, putting out the best album of their career.
Nomination: Pop Recording of the Year
RIYL: Progressive, piano-driven pop played by people who own more than 10 books.
Fun Fact: Before the Zolas, Tom Dobrzanski and Zachary Gray were in Lotus Child, which served the foundation for their cabaret-inspired prog pop. As the Zolas, they’ve matured and expanded their sound, tying knots into their hooks in an effort to continue to mess with traditional indie pop.
Nomination: Blues Recording of the Year
RIYL: Sexy, steamy, sultry blues, led by a powerhouse of a frontwoman.
Fun Fact: Frontwoman Colleen Rennison is known today for her powerful and soulful blues voice, but she began her entertainment career as an actress, debuting in the 1994 Canadian indie film, Max. Since then, she’s starred in several other television and film projects, including the CBC’s critically acclaimed These Arms of Mine, which landed her a Gemini nomination. She finally won the award in 2001 for her performance in A Feeling Called Glory, making her the youngest-ever Gemini winner at the age of 13.
Nominations: Pop Recording of the Year // Independent Album of the Year
RIYL: Arkells, Aidan Knight, Mother Mother, Dan Mangan, Said the Whale.
Fun Fact: Since the release of her debut EP, The Beat Stuff, in 2009, Hannah Georgas has been widely acclaimed as one of the most promising singer-songwriters to come out of Vancouver: CBC Radio 3 awarded her the 2009 Bucky Award for Best New Artist; “You’ve Got A Place Called Home” was picked up for a Wal-Mart commercial; she was nominated for Best New Artist of the Year and Songwriter of the Year at the 2011 Juno Awards; her 2012 self-titled album was longlisted for the 2013 Polaris Prize; and, most recently, she was nominated for Songwriter of the Year and Alternative Album of the Year at the 2013 Junos.
Nominations: Roots Solo Recording of the Year
RIYL: Driving, growling, whiskey-soaked country that stays true to its prairie roots.
Fun Fact: Corb Lund was the founder of the ’80s hardcore/rock and roll band The Smalls, which became one of the most prominent bands to come out of the Western Canadian DIY scene that decade. The band released several albums devoid of label or industry support, selling more than 40,000 copies throughout their career. In 2001, they retired and Corb Lund turned his attention to more traditional country songwriting.
Nominations: Rock Recording of the Year // Independent Album of the Year
RIYL: Noisy garage rock with enough pop hooks to fill a stadium.
Fun Fact: Frustrated by the lack of support in Vancouver for their shows, and the difficulty breaking into a close-minded scene, Japandroids almost called it quits in 2008 after they recorded their debut full-length, Post-Nothing. It had been two years since Brian King and David Prowse first started playing and were convinced that the band had no future. It wasn’t until they signed to Unfamiliar Records in 2009, who convinced them to stay together, that they started to gain traction after Pitchfork awarded “Young Hearts Spark Fire,” a “Best New Track.”
100 MILE HOUSE
Nomination: Roots Duo/Group Recording of the Year
RIYL: Heartfelt, elegant, lyrically-driven roots.
Fun Fact: Husband and wife duo Peter Stone and Denise MacKay have teamed up with Scott Zubot to bridge folk traditions on both sides of the Atlantic. Their critically acclaimed 2011 release, hollow ponds, won at last year’s WCMAs for Roots Duo/Group Recording of the Year. This year, they’re nominated once more for the category on the strength of their follow-up, Wait With Me.
WOOL ON WOLVES
Nominations: Rock Recording of the Year // Album Design of the Year // Video of the Year
RIYL: Wilco, The Band, Ryan Adams.
Fun Fact: Wool on Wolves have wasted little time rising to the top of the Edmonton roots scene, drawing the attention of Nik Kozub (Shout Out Out Out Out) and Paul Arnusch (the Whitsundays), who worked on their sophomore LP, Measure of Progress. Their debut full-length, Grey Matter, earned them two Edmonton Music Awards and a WCMA for Rock Recording of the Year in 2011.
Catch the Western Canadian Music Awards Gala during the BreakOut West Festival at Flames Central on Oct. 6. Tickets at TicketFly.
By Team BeatRoute
Hannah Georgas photo: Tristan Casey
KEN mode photo: Chad Tremblay