Sammies 2012 nominees are here

SN&R’s annual Sammies awards highlight local music’s vitality

Random Abiladeze took home the Sammies award for outstanding emcee the past three years. So, this year, it’s time to retire the young talent into SN&R’s Sammies Hall of Fame (speech, speech!).

Random Abiladeze took home the Sammies award for outstanding emcee the past three years. So, this year, it’s time to retire the young talent into SN&R’s Sammies Hall of Fame (speech, speech!).

Photo By wes davis

Voting for the 2012 Sammies begins next Thursday, September 6, at

It may not be as bouncy, sexy or celebrated as in the past. But the Sacramento music scene in 2012 sure has verve.

I can’t help but grin, for instance, every time I see that zigzagging queue of kids and adults donning hard-rock T-shirts outside Ace of Spades. There’s a line that sometimes extends an entire downtown block, fans so damn anxious to be up in the front at the evening’s show, they’re willing to sit around for hours beforehand. That’s awesome.

And it speaks to a revived passion for live music all over town. Witness the late-night crowds glugging cocktails and head-nodding to touring bands at Harlow’s. Or the sweaty 20-somethings pinballing in humid Davis living rooms during underground house shows. They’re back.

Perhaps it’s just audiences responding to a growth spurt by local talent? Because it sure feels like there are more Sacramento singer-songwriters than ever, baring it all at venues such as Naked Lounge Downtown or Shine coffeehouse. Or local hip-hop troupes, such as Tribe of Levi and Live Manikins, rolling the dice on new albums and special one-off record-release gigs.

Or maybe I’m just seeing things in a new light. For instance, I had no clue Sacto boasted such a lively, if bruising, metal scene. That is, until I spent the last week glued to YouTube watching dozens of videos by area metal acts. Sacramento boasts its share of emphatic emcees and clunky indie bands. But, I swear, it’s a metal town.

Ten of the best local metal bands are nominated in this year’s SN&R’s Sacramento Area Music Awards, which celebrates its 21st anniversary. We probably could have nominated 21 metal acts, though, which speaks volumes about a Sacramentan’s penchant for volume.

Hundreds more local artists are nominated in categories for this year’s Sammies. SN&R came up with its list after generous input from readers, who began nominating their favorite bands and musicians in July. Voting on the 2012 finalists kicks off at next Thursday, September 6. And winners will bring home the hardware on Friday, October 12. It’s all happening.

There’s been a lot of chat this past year about the state of the Sacramento music scene. And, unfortunately, the cream of the conversation was complaints, and those quibbles rose to the top.

Sure, the scene could use a little CPR. It’d be great to see more new faces forging bands or making music, for example. Or for some of the elder faces in the scene earning more at gigs—although it’s reassuring that the proverbial $5 show has now inched up to a $6 or $7 cover charge.

Yet, there’s no denying Sacto has its struggles. Even deejays have to battle for gigs, since nightclubs too have been hit by the recession, and their owners now book mix masters based on how many partiers they can bring in, not on the quality of their dance tunes.

But that’s splitting hairs: Sacto has more clubs with dance nights than ever, more all-ages venues than in the past five years, and more reasons to DVR Breaking Bad and instead catch a gig, even on a Sunday night.

And so, enter the 2012 Sammies nominees: Find a band, check its website or Facebook page for an upcoming live gig—and enjoy.

Hall of Fame 2012

Arden Park Roots,

Random Abiladeze,

Ross Hammond,

Sol Peligro,

Tha Fruitbat,


The Alkali Flats,

The Carly DuHain Band,

Dry County Drinkers,

Forever Goldrush,

The Foxtails,

The Golden Cadillacs,

Hot Tar Roofers,

The Nickel Slots,

Trainwreck Revival,

Whiskey Dawn,

Artist of the Year

A Lot Like Birds,

Autumn Sky,

Death Grips,

Lindsey Pavao,

Live Manikins,

The Nibblers,

Sea of Bees,


Tribe of Levi,



Aaron King,

After Dark,

Barrel Fever,

Bone Mac Donald Band,

Dippin’ Sauce Blues Band,

Tessie Marie & the Poor Man Band,

Rick Estrin & the Nightcats,

The Kyle Rowland Band,

This is Century Got Bars’ first time nominated for a Sammies—she’s in the Emcee category. She’s also the only female rapper in the group. Good luck!

photo by wes davis

Stillwood Sages,

Two-Tone Steiny and the Cadillacs,

Club Deejay

DJ Billy Lane,

DJ Bryan Hawk

DJ Eddie Edul,

DJ Elements,

DJ Elliott Estes,

DJ Gabe Xavier,

DJ Oasis,

DJ Peeti-V,

Cover Band



Groove Thang Band,

Hip Service,

Mercy Me! (Band),

Metal Health,

Mother Mayhem,


Rue the Night,

Tragically White,

Dance Night

Asylum at The Park Ultra Lounge on Sundays with DJ Bryan Hawk,

Golden Era Music at The Golden Bear every second and fourth Thursday with DJ Epik,

Grimey at TownHouse Lounge every-other Tuesday with DJ Whores, Jay Two and others;

The Lipstick Weekender at Old Ironsides ever first Saturday with DJ Shaun Slaughter and Roger Carpio;

Mid-Week Magnum at Mix Downtown every Wednesday with DJ Gabe Xavier and DJ Peeti-V;

Release at Faces Nightclub on Thursdays,

Le Twist Tuesdays at Dive Bar every Tuesday with Sam I Jam, Adam J, Taylor Cho and Roger Carpio;

Sunday Night Dance party at The Press Club every Sunday with DJ Larry Rodriguez

Hot Pants at Level-Up Lounge every first and third Friday with DJ Rock Bottom,


DJ Blackheart

DJ Epik,

DJ Lahn,

DJ Los

DJ Mike C

DJ Rated R,

DJ Rock Bottom,

DJ Roger Carpio,

DJ Whores,



Kwes the Bess,

Lee Bannon,

Raleigh Moncrief,



Everyone’s favorite party band the Nibblers has won the Sammies Funk category the past two years. Will the troupe score a hat trick in 2012?

photo by Justin Halgren

Buk Buk Bigups,


ElectroPoetic Coffee,

Gentleman Surfer,


Folk Rock

Awkward Lemon,

Be Brave Bold Robot,

Blue Oaks,

CAVE Women,


Lasher Keen,


Crossing the River,

Feva in Da Funkhouse,

Hans! and the Hot Mess,

Isaac Bear,

The Nibblers,

Rendezvous With Cool Beans,


A Lot Like Birds,

And Came Back Brutal,

City of Vain,


Kill the Precedent,

Paint Over Pictures,


Ten After Two,


White Minorities,

Hard Rock

A Single Second,



Fair Struggle,




Some Fear None,

Terra Ferno,

Track Fighter,


CAVE Women bring the folk, but with flourishes of jazz. It’s the group’s first time being nominated.


Live Manikins,




Tribe of Levi,

Who Cares,

Hip-hop Producer

Chase Moore,


Hippie Sabotage,

Jon Reyes,

Lee Bannon,


Styles 1001,



The Bell Boys,


Doom Bird,

Exquisite Corps,

Knock Knock,

Musical Charis,

Sea of Bees,

Sister Crayon,

The Speed of Sound in Seawater,


Alex Jenkins’ Sound Immersion,


Elements Brass Band,

The Freebadge Serenaders,

Garage Jazz Architects,

Harley White Jr. Orchestra,

Mat Marucci,

Tony Passarell,



In the No,

Mentes Diferentes,

Rey Y Kaye,

Ritmoz Latinoz,

World Hood,

Live Performer

A Lot Like Birds,

The Alkali Flats,

Cowboy and a THUG,

Exquisite Corps,

Sister Crayon,


Black Mackerel,


Drop Seven,


For All I’ve Done,

In the Silence,


Plague Widow,


Hip-hop producers Hippie Sabotage were nominated last year for Sammies, but friend and collaborator Chase Moore took the prize? Is 2012 their year?




New Artist

Massive Delicious,


Parie Wood,




Color the Sound,

Deer Park Avenue,

Fate Under Fire,

Hero’s Last Mission,

Method Echo,

The Reel,

The Kimberly Trip,

Mondo Deco,

Wife & Son,



Charles Albright,

The Croissants,

Dog Party,

The Four Eyes,

G. Green,

Man in the Planet,



Another Damn Disappointment,

Avenue Saints,

Bastards of Young,

BlackEyed Dempseys,


The Left Hand,


Rat Damage,

Union Hearts,

Whiskey and Stitches,


Ava Lemert,

J. Black,

James Cavern,

Kaleo Ross,


Midnight Players,


Tessa Evans,

Thai Nicole,

Tone Malone,

Autumn Sky received more Sammies votes than any other local musician last year and took home the Artist of the Year award. Can the she keep it up?

photo by william leung


Eazy Dub,

Element of Soul,

Island of Black and White,


Massive Delicious,

Official Response,

The Old Screen Door,

Simple Creation,

The Storytellers,



I’m Dirty Too,

The Kelps,

Lite Brite,

Walking Spanish,

Rock Producer

Tony Cale

Robert Cheek

Z Rokk,

Joe Johnston

Weston Ray

Ira Skinner

Jay Trammell

Chris Woodhouse


The Infamous Swanks,

KB and the Slingtones,

The Vintage Vandals,


Sherman Baker,

Ricky Berger,

Adrian Bourgeois,

Hans Eberbach,

Justin Farren,

Kepi Ghoulie,

Reggie Ginn,

Jackson Griffith,

Autumn Sky,

Teen Band

Crow Canyon,

Grant High School Drumline,

The Hungry,


Those Meddling Kids,

Tribute Band

Departure: The Journey Tribute Band,

Houses of the Holy (Led Zeppelin tribute),

In the Garage (Weezer tribute),

Arden Park Roots is four guys, but they have only three Sammies between them. Still, that’s enough to retire into the Hall of Fame this year. Cheers!

Photo By william leung

Renegade: A Tribute to Styx,

Revolver (Rage Against the Machine tribute),

Riff/Raff: A High Voltage Tribute to AC/DC,

Steelin’ Dan: The Music of Steely Dan,

SuperHuey (Huey Lewis and the News tribute),


DJ Amp One,

DJ El Conductor,

DJ Kool Kutz,

DJ Mike Colossal,

DJ Nocturnal,

DJ Rated R,

Kodac Visualz,

Mr. Vibe,




Century Got Bars,


Mahtie Bush,

Mr. P Chill,

Nome Nomadd,

Npire Tha Great,


The Gatlin,

Music Video

Death Grips, “Hustle Bones”

Gentleman Surfer, “Sweep Tactics”

Nome Nomadd, “My People”

Task1ne, “Villain”

Tribe of Levi, “Things to Do”

Recording Studio

Alley Avenue Recording Studios,

Omina Labs,

Fat Cat Recording Studio,

The Formulation Room,

The Hangar,

Pus Cavern Studios,

Rock Inc.,

Sound Cap Audio,

The Track Shack,

Release of the Year

A Lot Like Birds, Conversation Piece

Death Grips, The Money Store

Knock Knock, We Will Raise Your Child

Sea of Bees, Orangefarben

Sleeprockers, Machine Language