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Best of Music reader's poll

It’s the Best of Music Readers’ Poll results: A year of listening, months of voting and weeks of tallying all point to this day of celebration, on which you reveal all of the reasons you love this town, musically.


Listen to our playlist of Best of Music winners.

Best Local Solo Artist (Female)Best Canadian Solo Artist (Female)Jill Barber

Barber has had a harder lock on the local category than The Sopranos at the Emmys—this is her fourth win. It's the first time somebody named Sarah hasn't even touched the list in the national category and also makes Barber the first local gal to win that one. She's had a banner season since the classy release of her debut full-length For All Time in September 2006, grabbing two ECMAs in February of this year as well. "It's been a few years since I entered onto the scene and the fact that so many people continue to root for me tells me that people are obviously sticking by me as I put out new records, which is incredibly reassuring as an artist," she writes from the road. "And may I just say in return that (speaking as objectively as possible) I feel that Coast readers are by far the coolest, best-looking readers on the planet. Not to mention the fact that they obviously have impeccable taste."

Local 1st runner-up: Jenn Grant, 2nd runner-up: Laura PeekCanadian 1st runner-up: Feist, 2nd runner-up: Nelly Furtado

Best Local Solo Artist (Male)Best Canadian Solo Artist (Male)Joel Plaskett

"I really am flattered to be given these honours again this year," says Plaskett, writing from Melbourne, Australia, after midnight. "I feel very fortunate to have the support of the community back home and I don't want to take it for granted. The Maritimes sure celebrate their own. Lucky me!" We expect to see Mr. Humble all over the poll next year, too, when his much-anticipated concept record Ashtray Rock drops on April 17. He adds, "These awards may be for the solo artist Joel Plaskett, but I don't feel like a solo artist most of the time and I want to share this attention with the Emergency: Dave Marsh and Chris Pennell. Anyone who has seen the band knows how much they have to do with the shows and the tunes."

Local 1st runner-up: Old Man Luedecke, 2nd runner-up: Matt MaysCanadian 1st runner-up: Final Fantasy, 2nd runner-up: Matt Mays

Best Local DJDJ IV

"WOW, thanks so much!!!" texts the hard-working IV, AKA Brian Pelrine, on tour in Ottawa with Classified. "Well I guess you can start by telling the readers I said thanks so's been a long road to making it where I am and I really appreciate the support that I've gained from the people of Halifax over the years through DJ battles and club nights and the countless amounts of MCs that I've worked with!" You can catch DJ IV weekly at the Seahorse on Wednesdays at Lifted, "the most solid hip-hop night in Halifax," Pelrine promises.

1st runner-up: Skratch Bastid, 2nd runner-up: DJ Loose

Best Local Artist Most Likely to Make it BigBest Local Artist to Be Blown Away ByBest Canadian BandWintersleep

Wintersleep has been keeping things quiet on the home front, choosing to take its show on the road for most of 2006 with only a handful of gigs in the Metro area. But a handful's all you needed to bestow the inaugural (if awkwardly named) "Band to Be Blown Away By" award on the fab four (-ish). "It's nice to know people haven't passed us over, or forgotten about us folks," writes drummer Loel Campbell from the lobby of a Houston hotel as his mates load up at a nearby buffet. "Best Canadian Band is a little overwhelming, jeez...but I guess Halifax might be a bit biased." The band, which has just returned from a US jaunt with The Slip and this little upstart outfit The Tragically Hip, will begin work on its third full-length in mere weeks. "Definitely excited about the new record, it seems like it's been awhile?" says Campbell. "We've been lucky in that we keep getting second and third winds that keep us moving."

Local (make it big) 1st runner-up: Shameless, 2nd runner-up: Jon McKielLocal (blown away) 1st runner-up: In-Flight Safety, 2nd runner-up: Dog DayCanadian 1st runner-up: In-Flight Safety, 2nd runner-up: Tragically Hip

Best Local MCJesse Dangerously

We're just gonna nod our head to the beat while Mr. Dangerously makes his acceptance speech: "Aw shoot, shucks and gee willikers! I have never wavered in my faith that the readers of The Coast are unfailingly suave, literate, socially conscious and delicately scented. What is that...lavender? Karma cream? Lemon-dill? My left eye cries freshwater tears of gratitude and joy while my right cries a bitter rivulet of pity for the dashed hopes of all the other MCs in Halifax who aren't as good as I am. Finally, I am firm in my conviction that in much the same way that god was instrumental in securing victory for Georges Bush and Canyon in their respective beauty pageants, I owe my victory in sum to one supreme being: Me, Jesse Dangerously, my goddamn self, for being the best MC in Halifax by a gratuitous margin. Thank you, Jesse D, for your unrelenting excellence and charm."

1st runner-up: Wordburglar, 2nd runner-up: Classified

Best New Local ArtistThe Crimson Tides

The young punk quartet released its self-titled debut last year, obviously making a mark on the city. "We are making this all up as we go," says singer Adam Bowes. "All I know is that we are passionate about playing and spending time together. Nothing is taken too seriously, whatsoever...but things get done well. We play shows for the fun of it. It gives us an excuse to be social. We're very happy to hear this news." The Tides will head out on a national tour in May after opening for DOA in town on April 7. "We would like to tell our fans to buy the new Ghettosocks album," says Bowes of one of his own nominees for the award. "We would also like to ask our fans to help us carry our drum kit to our next show. They are really heavy."

1st runner-up: The Superfantastics, 2nd runner-up: Their Majesties

Best Local Band to Dance ToThe Stolen Minks

Best Local Video of 2006Best Local Appearance on YouTubeThe Stolen Minks, "Boys on the Floor"

These punkabilly idols inspire hipsters to drop the facade and bust a move already—how can you not with songs about Charles (motherlovin') Bronson?—and take the inagural nod for Best Local Band to Dance To. And props to Ben Jeddrie for the fab, popular animated clip for "Boys on the Floor," from the Minks' self-titled EP, that sees the quartet kicking ass and rocking out. Without a single cent, we might add, from FACTOR.

Local Dance 1st runner-up: Windom Earle, 2nd runner-up: ShamelessLocal Video 1st runner-up: In-Flight Safety, "The Coast is Clear," 2nd runner-up: Matt Mays, "When the Angels Make Contact"Local YouTube 1st runner-up: The Establishment, "How to go on Tour in a Volkswagen Golf," 2nd runner-up (tie): The Superfantastics video blog, Matt Mays and El Torpedo on Late Night with Conan O'Brien

Best Local Artist Hijinks BA Johnston

His website alone, with its motto ("A fat, tired chud"), Mario Bros. icons, trucker hats and handlebar moustaches, is entertaining enough. You want endearing? Check just the title of his latest recording, Call Me When Old and Fat is the New Young and Sexy. But to get the full effect you need to see the live show, in which all the (fried) flavours mix together for a buffet of awesome. Except now you can't because he moved back to Hamilton. Hope you went to his birthday party.

1st runner-up: The Crimson Tides, 2nd runner-up (tie): Jon Epworth, Die Brucke

Best Local Artist to Enjoy QuietlyOld Man Luedecke

If there were a Nicest Dude in Halifax Rock poll, Joel Plaskett would end up having a handshake-off with the In-Flight guys while David Myles moderated, but Dapper McBanjo would emerge victorious. Chris Luedecke's incisive storytelling and folksy banter make you want to shut your damn mouth for once and let yourself be taken by the words. And so you should.

1st runner-up: Roger Howse Band, 2nd runner-up (tie): Jill Barber, Jon McKiel

Best Local Cover BandBest Local Artist to Get Trashed ToShameless

This is the second win for Shameless in the Cover Band category. And if you voted for the quartet, you probably already know its band motto: "The more you drink, the better we get." So it's not surprising—and a little poignant, honestly—that Shameless has also picked up the inaugural nod for your favourite act to get trashed to. Take note: that's truth in advertising worked to profound effect, y'all.

Cover Band 1st runner-up: Signal Hill, 2nd runner-up: KayprTrashed 1st runner-up: The Grass, 2nd runner-up: The Crimson Tides

Best Dressed Local ActThe Stance

The increasingly popular Motown-inspired quartet takes an indie-mod approach to its stage attire, which you can see all over Halifax stages (including our awards show party at The Attic). "Beauty on a budget," says guitarist James MacAulay of the band's look, featuring lots of striped ties, sharp button-downs and sweet belts. "Wait...what was it?" adds his vocalist brother Marc. "Best Looking Dudes in Halifax? Gosh, that's flattering." The Stance shall inherit central Canada in May.

1st runner-up: Their Majesties, 2nd runner-up: The Stolen Minks

Best Local MerchThe Superfantastics

"Matt was opposed to having one-inch buttons made since every band in Halifax had one-inch buttons," says Superfantastic Stephanie d'Entremont of the duo's winning slap bracelets. "I was browsing the internet for other ideas, one website I found offered slap bracelets with your company's name on them." She discovered it would cost over a grand to get them from the American outfit, and set out to find a solution. "I searched high and low and eventually found a dollar store that carried Dora the Explorer ones. I had pink and brown vinyl left over from when my ex-boyfriend made a pink drum set as a Christmas gift for me and so the pink Superfantastics slap bracelets were born!" It's fitting that your favourite band merch is hand-crafted, with love. "And knowing that the indie kids are enjoying our slap bracelets," she adds, "makes it worth the 30 minutes it takes to construct each one."

1st runner-up: Wintersleep, 2nd runner-up: The Stolen Minks

Best Local Independent Record LabelDependent Music

It was a quiet but winning year for Dependent, which released just two mighty albums: the debut EP from its newest family member, Montreal buzz act Land of Talk —who played HPX in November—and Jill Barber's For All Time, the nicest, classiest monster this town ever did see. There's a brand new Holy Fuck EP in stores now, with releases from The Remains of Brian Borcherdt and Wintersleep on deck, and did we mention heavy meadows has reunited?

1st runner-up: Just Friends, 2nd runner-up: Divorce Records

Best Local Karaoke HostMimi Andriopoulis (Bearly's)

You just look out, Mimi, for the day My Chemical Romance makes its way into the karaoke canon and replaces Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" as the drunken, off-key epic of choice. Until then, add another trophy to your pile, and pass the wings.

1st runner-up: Laurie the Guy, 2nd runner-up: Jackie Smith

Best Local Music PhotographerChris Smith

After a win at the Music Nova Scotia Awards in November and a score at the ECMAs in February, this is the last of the big awards Chris Smith could win. "Huge thanks goes to all the dirty hairy musicians crazy enough to work with me," he says. "Without you, I'd be designing art for blank CDs and taking photos of empty stages. I couldn't possibly name everyone who deserves to be mentioned here, but to scrape the surface I'd like to give a tip of the hat to Matt Mays, Joel Plaskett, The Novaks, The Divorcees, Pogey, The Superfantastics, Wintersleep, The Letter Unfolds, JSB, The Contact, Jamie Sparks and the Halifax Pop Ex."

1st runner-up: David Cieplinski, 2nd runner-up: Robin Hart Hiltz

Best Local Radio StationCKDU

Even when the station was low-powered and on a different frequency you listened. Now that it's blasting 3,200 watts across the greater Metro area, even more listeners are tuning in to the station's eclectic programming, cult hits (Let's Get Baked, anyone?) and tastemaking music selection. "I'd just like to thank all of our listeners, our awesome volunteers and everyone else who helps make our li'l station go," says station coordinator Michael Catano. "Eat it, Jian Ghomeshi!"

1st runner-up: Q104, 2nd runner-up: Z103

Best Local Show Poster ArtistsYo Rodeo!

Best Local Album ArtworkYo Rodeo! for The Stolen Minks, Family Boycott

Seth Smith, Yo Rodeo!: This makes us feel good but a little guilty since we didn't produce many posters last year.

Paul Hammond, Yo Rodeo!: It's awesome to see that there is actually a category for us this year. But yeah, we've been a little lazy in the poster's nice that people still like us though.

What makes a great poster?

SS: Good art and good band names.

PH: Patterns that hurt to look at. Text that's hard to read. (Just kidding, but only kind of.)

What are poster trends you wish people would avoid?

SS: Houndstooth. You know who you are!

PH: Shit with guns on it. They're not cool in real life, why would they be cool in a poster?

What goes into conceiving a record cover?

SS: Magic Powder, Fairy Dust and Laser Swords.

PH: What Seth said.

Show Poster Artists 1st runner-up: Crooked Art (Paul Mackay), 2nd runner-up: Alex CurrieAlbum Artwork 1st runner-up: Matt Mays, When the Angels Make Contact (Bill Mays), 2nd runner-up (tie): Down with the Butterfly, Rise, Jon Epworth and the Improvements, Wet on Wet (Mike Belyea)

Best Local Recording StudioEcho Chamber

The closure of the Khyber Club saw the almost simultaneous shuttering of Ultramagnetic Recording, Charles Austin and Kevin Lewis' legendary studio atop many, many stairs in the Khyber Building. But this musician-heavy town is loyal, and many have followed Austin to Echo Chamber, his new Kempt Road spot with Andrew Gillis, where he's already produced Mardeen and Superfantastics discs with a hotly anticipated LP from Laura Peek and the Winning Hearts in the works.

1st runner-up: Sonic Temple, 2nd runner-up: Soundmarket

Best Local All-Ages VenueOne World Cafe

The closest contest in the competition saw One World knock off longtime champ the Pavilion by a mere three votes. One person can really make a difference (well, three, in this case). One of the World's best features is that when it gets too damn hot in there—as it did at last July's super bill of The Heavy Blinkers and Dog Day—you can go outside, catch a breath and then watch through the picture window. And there's no mantra we've repeated more often this year than "early is the new late." Take note, rest of Halifax!

1st runner-up: The Pavilion, 2nd runner-up: The BusStop Theatre

Best Local Live VenueThe Marquee Club 2037 Gottingen

The dearly departed Stage Nine made a good run, but nobody was able to unseat perennial winner Marquee. And why should they, really, with the likes of Feist, Holy Fuck, The Constantines and Sam Roberts dropping by. They still bring the goods, that Marquee, is what we're saying, despite not operating regularly or having Bernice on the door.

1st runner-up: Stage Nine, 1567 Grafton, 2nd runner-up: Gus' Pub, 2605 Agricola

Best Local Music FestivalHalifax Pop Explosion

Snap, crackle, HPX: this year's fest brought in the usual pile of hot buzz with much-

anticipated shows by Holy Fuck, Land of Talk, Cadence Weapon and Great Lake Swimmers, as well as a bunch of local rep, CanZine East and the Music Matters conference. "I personally do get surprisingly nervous every year, waiting for the results!" says fest director Waye Mason. "It is a wonderful validation of what we try to do. Two thousand six was massive. Between 2005 and 2006 the budget was double the size, attendance was almost double, the number of bands grew from 80 to 115." This year marks the Halifax Pop Explosion's 15th anniversary.

1st runner-up: Evolve Music and Awareness Festival, 2nd runner-up: North By North End

Best Local Live Show of 2006The Rolling Stones w/Kanye West, Alice Cooper and Sloan on the Halifax Common, September 23

You sure got some satisfaction (and a nice little case of Stones flu) last fall, didn't you? Did it start you up? Get off of my cloud, Angie, and get under my thumb! Get down girl, go 'head get down (and dig up that booze you buried near the fountain before the fences went up). Note to the people considering allowing another show on the Common: Madonna, dudes! Tim and Faith are lamer than Sting.

1st runner-up: Wilco at Alderney Landing, July 12, 2nd runner-up: Final Fantasy at Saint Matthew's Church, November 19

Best 2006 tour you wish had come to Halifax(tie) Red Hot Chili Peppers/Radiohead

There was the campaign to bring the Chili Peppers here, and it was a valiant one, but alas, Anthony Kiedis was too busy getting fellated by his 25-years-younger girlfriend in Blender to stop by. And Radiohead's string of catalogue-combing shows hit only major centres. But we got Alice Cooper. So that's something.

1st runner-up: U2, 2nd runner-up: Warped Tour

Best Canadian single of 2006Nelly Furtado, "Promiscuous"

This is the one case where we're going to respectfully disagree with y'all. We ask you, where is the freaking hook? Perhaps you like Ms. Furtado's new "sexy" image, or the presence of JT in the video, or Timbaland's neckless beats. We admit to liking that "(Wicka) Don't be mad, don't be mean" call-and-response, but that's about it.

1st runner-up: In-Flight Safety, "Coast is Clear," 2nd runner-up: Joel Plaskett, "Nowhere with You"

Best Local FanDavid Cieplinski

He's our go-to live-shot guy for a reason: dude is EVERYWHERE. There's no show in recent memory that we've attended where we haven't seen Cieplinski kneeling near the front, aviators pressed up against the back of his camera. We're not sure what keeps him going, but it doesn't appear to be alcohol, making him a Halifax anomaly in more ways than one.

1st runner-up: Iain Gillis, 2nd runner-up: Jeff Gaye

Best Local BandIn-Flight Safety

Best Local AlbumBest Canadian Album

In-Flight Safety, The Coast is Clear

Best Local Single of 2006Best Canadian Video of 2006

In-Flight Safety, "Coast is Clear"

It's been the most-nominated year ever in the young history of soaring rock quartet In-Flight Safety, who began 2006 on the cover of this very newspaper and never looked back. After collecting trophies at the Music Nova Scotia Awards and then the East Coast Music Awards, which they closed out with a lasertastic "Coast is Clear," as well as a Juno nom for best video, you've given them five nods and a planeload (only one, we swear) of honourable mentions in our competition.

"We had zero expectations," says keyboardist Daniel Ledwell of The Coast is Clear, released in January '06. "We expected to get the record out. We hoped people would like it. You can't predict nominations and especially wins. You'll just get disappointed in the end."

"It just certifies all your hard work in the larger sense," adds singer-guitarist John Mullane. "But really, for us it doesn't change anything. We still have to write songs and be inspired to be in In-Flight Safety. It also takes the pressure off being an up-and-coming band.'"

"Or the "Next Big Thing,'" says Ledwell.

"We can't be nominated for anything else this year," says Mullane, who's especially stoked to win the Best Local and Canadian album categories. "People can just let us be In-Flight Safety now."

Local Band 1st runner-up: Wintersleep<, 2nd runner-up: ShamelessLocal Album 1st runner-up: Their Majesties, Lands Where Tales Are Tall<, 2nd runner-up: The Stolen Minks, Family BoycottCanadian Album 1st runner-up: Jon McKiel, Jon McKiel, 2nd runner-up: The Stolen Minks, Family BoycottCanadian Video 1st runner-up: Wintersleep, "Jaws of Life," 2nd runner-up (tie): The Stolen Minks, "Boys on the Floor," Matt Mays, "When the Angels Make Contact"Local Single 1st runner-up: Joel Plaskett, "Nowhere with You," 2nd runner-up: Windom Earle, "Kitten vs. Pegasus"

Tara Thorne has voted in more readers’ polls than the other kind. She is arts editor of The Coast.

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