You know when Oscars season hits and suddenly it’s the only thing anyone can talk about? That’s how we feel about the first Gibson Brands Alternative Press Music Awards – Fueled by Monster Energy Drink. With less than two weeks left until the awards show makes its July 21st debut, at Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, we’ve all been picking our favorites and placing our bets–which is exactly what this show is all about. There’s only one week left to vote for the fan-selected awards, so make sure you cast your ballot at altpress.com/apmas_vote for the chance to be a part of your favorite artist’s win! In this week’s Tuesday Ten, our writers are breaking down the categories and sharing a few of their top picks–check them out below. And if you don’t agree with us, you can shout about it by voting.
Best Live Band:
A Day To Remember / All Time Low / Asking Alexandria /
Fall Out Boy / Pierce The Veil / twenty one pilots
With many of the bands performing at the APMAS, it’s a no-brainer that “Best Live Band” is one of the categories chosen for AltPress’ first ever award ceremony. Performers who are in the running include All Time Low, Fall Out Boy, A Day To Remember, twenty one pilots, and Asking Alexandria, (Pierce The Veil have also been nominated, but they haven’t announced if they’ll be performing or not). Each band is sure to put on one hell of a show: A Day To Remember with their elaborate stage backdrops (who else would build a house onstage before each show for the band to enter through? ADTR did on their last tour); to twenty one pilots and their live routine that doesn’t leave a single inch of the stage unexplored; to All Time Low with their barrage of dick jokes and bra collecting (in addition to music that’ll rock your socks off). But there’s only so much a band can do, and usually it ends up being the audience and how they react that makes or breaks a show.
While each of the nominated bands have their own dedicated fanbase, as an eager audience to each and every gig, there’s no crowd quite like a Fall Out Boy crowd. Ever since their surprise return in 2013, Fall Out Boy have seen bigger audiences than ever before, whether it be selling out arena shows or playing main stage on various festivals. Like the opening track of their comeback album, Save Rock And Roll, the band have risen from the flames like a phoenix from a hiatus that stretched on for three years. Sure, Fall Out Boy have matured since 2009, whether it be as a band or each member individually, but they’ve still got the same lively, resolute attitude that has rubbed off onto fans internationally. At a show, you’re not going to find a bunch of more earnest, passionate people that actively engage with the band–not to mention Patrick Stump’s incredible vocal range that never seems to falter, or Andy Hurley’s drumming that would sooner snap a drum stick than miss a beat. Combined with music that feels like a soundtrack for your life, Fall Out Boy don’t fail on their promise to deliver one of the greatest shows you’ll ever be at, whether it be at the APMAS or elsewhere. (Emily Yee)
My vote? Fall Out Boy
The Color Morale / Crown The Empire / Issues /
letlive. / The Story So Far / twenty one pilots
“Breakthrough Band” is pretty much the equivalent of “Best New Artist” in the scene. It represents who has experienced the most growth, going from local to global in the past year. All six candidates rightly deserve their nominations. Metalcore has made immense strides this year, thanks to bands like The Color Morale, Crown The Empire, and Issues all bringing a fresh take to the increasingly saturated genre. Warped Tour 2014 is the year of metalcore, with all three bands drawing some of the largest crowds at their respective stages. letlive. exploded onto the scene as an entirely different animal on their own, largely due to their last record, The Blackest Beautiful–one of the most critically acclaimed albums of 2013–and frontman Jason Butler’s infamously chaotic stage presence. In the recent wave of pop punk bands, The Story So Far have swiftly ascended as kings of the genre. In just a couple years, the band has gone from playing local basement shows in the Bay Area to headlining tours across the world. All these bands have enjoyed phenomenal success; however, the biggest breakthrough in my opinion belongs to genre-defying duo twenty one pilots. The band appeared out of nowhere two years ago, signing a deal with Fueled By Ramen and introducing a sound the world had never heard before. Their combination of rock, rap, electronica, and even reggae is incredibly ambitious and daring for a modern audience that veers more and more towards cookie-cutter music. The risk paid off, however, and twenty one pilots have garnered massive crossover appeal, expanding way beyond the scene to terrestrial radioplay, major festival dates, TV performances, and more. The band wrapped up their last headlining tour less than two months ago, and are already set to head out on another US headliner this fall (with some venues reaching over 3,000 in capacity). twenty one pilot’s musical ingenuity, relentless work ethic, and exponential success is what makes them the Breakthrough Band of 2014. (Catherine Yi)
Pikachu, I choose you! twenty one pilots
Song of the Year
All Time Low featuring Vic Fuentes – “A Love Like War” / Bring Me The Horizon – “Shadow Moses” / Fall Out Boy – “My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Light Em Up)” / Falling In Reverse – “Alone” / Paramore – “Still Into You” / Sleeping With Sirens featuring MGK – “Alone”
There are definitely huge anthems in the “Song of the Year” category, most notably Bring Me The Horizon’s incredible “Shadow Moses”, closely followed by Falling In Reverse’s “Alone” and Sleeping With Sirens’ song of the same name featuring MGK. There’s even the ultimate team-up of All Time Low and Pierce The Veil’s Vic Fuentes with “A Love Like War”, which is a close contender for my vote, but “My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Light Em Up)” brings together all the best aspects of each song in the category to create one for the history books. It has everything you could want from a classic Fall Out Boy track–gang vocals, heavy breakdowns, and Patrick Stump’s incredible vocal skills which have somehow got even better, showcasing just how much confidence he’s gained lately. If that doesn’t make you proud of how far these boys from Chicago have come, you probably weren’t one of those fans who spent years mourning their hiatus. This is the year of pop punk breaking back into the mainstream with the likes of Paramore’s bubbly anthem “Still Into You” storming the charts, but “My Songs Know…” has to take the edge in this category, because it means Fall Out Boy are truly back to “save rock and roll”. (Alex Bear)
There is only one song of the year… Fall Out Boy – “My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Light Em Up)”
Best International Band
Asking Alexandria (U.K.) / Bring Me The Horizon (U.K.) / Crossfaith (Japan) /
Parkway Drive (Australia) / Silverstein (Canada) / Frank Turner (U.K.)
The APMAS are rapidly approaching, and the award for “Best International Band” has some pretty stellar talent and big names like metalcore greats Bring Me The Horizon and Asking Alexandria, hotly tipped Japanese electronicore group Crossfaith, Australian heavy-hitters Parkway Drive, and one of Canada’s premiere post hardcore bands, Silverstein. While the other bands are all well and good, you won’t find a more down-to-earth and hardworking act on the list than Frank Turner. Think of your favorite artists: they head out on a few tours a year, maybe you get to see them every six months, but there are some noticeable stretches of time when they take a bit of a breather from the road. That’s not exactly how Frank, a self-described “skinny half-arsed English country singer,” does things. He just wrapped up a tour with his other project Mongol Horde, and when you combine that tour with the fact that he recently finished up playing show number 1,584, opening up for heavy metal legends Iron Maiden at Sonisphere Festival, it should go without saying the amount of touring he does is downright insane. He’s playing seventeen more festivals all around Europe before the summer wraps up, making him one of the hardest-working musicians around today.
If you want to meet him, he always makes sure to hang out after the shows as well. A true man of the people, I’ll be casting my vote for Frank for “Best International Band” at the APMAs, and you should too! (Tarynn Law)
The reason I want to change nationality: Frank Turner (U.K.)
Most Dedicated Fans
All Time Low / Avenged Sevenfold / Black Veil Brides /
Mayday Parade / My Chemical Romance / Pierce The Veil
Fans make the music world go ’round. Without them there would be no albums sold, no merch purchased, no shows and no…circle pits?! (Gasp!) Bottom line: fans are important and every band needs them. In the first ever AP Music Awards, one band will receive an award for “Most Dedicated Fans”. Those in the running include All Time Low, Avenged Sevenfold, Black Veil Brides, Mayday Parade, My Chemical Romance, and Pierce The Veil. Now, while I personally would like to make an argument for MCR or MP–since I actually listen to them more–my first instinct with this category are the fellas in All Time Low. When someone mentions “All Time Low,” a few crucial things come to mind. The first being bras. The second being their fans, who throw said bras. (Not to mention a couple members have a pretty cool show on a pretty cool radio station.) But seriously, ATL have some pretty damn awesome fans–even the braless guys. For many, especially those like me who are on the older end of the fan base age spectrum, ATL has, is, and always will be a staple in pop punk. Since 2003, the Baltimore-based foursome have been stealing hearts and creating their army of Hustlers. From fan fiction to art and blogs dedicated to the band, ATL fans never falter. No matter what genre you liked in 2003 or now in 2014, how you dressed then and now, or if you currently think Jack’s hair is just plain silly, these guys have made a mark in many hearts over more than a decade. So, no matter what age you are, you’ll most likely still hit up every ATL show and sing “Dear Maria, Count Me In” at the top of your lungs. Rock on, little Hustlers. (Alyson Stokes)
I’m a fan of the fans! All Time Low
Artist Philanthropic Award
All Time Low: Skate4Cancer / Memphis May Fire: peta2 / Modern Baseball: 1BlueString /
Pierce The Veil: Keep A Breast / Rise Against: Shirts For A Cure / The Used: Living The Dream
It’s a beautiful thing to see your favorite artists come together with great charities as they work to help people. The “Artist Philanthropic Award” highlights artists in conjunction with charitable organizations fighting cancer, sexual abuse, animal rights, and life threatening disease. This year, the six nominees are Skate4Cancer, Keep A Breast, Shirts For A Cure, 1 Blue String, Peta2, and the Living the Dream Foundation.
All Time Low support Skate4Cancer, especially through their profane campaign slogan “Cancer is a Dick.” They’ve campaigned with T-shirts and a twitter hashtag to raise awareness for cancer and encourage early detection. Skateboarder Rob Dyer originally founded the organization after three important women in his life and his best friend died from various forms of cancer. He then embarked on a skateboard marathon across the United States, soon followed by marathons across Canada, New Zealand, and Australia. Dyer was motivated by his loss to help young people get informed and learn about preventing cancer through Skate4Cancer.
Pierce The Veil and Rise Against also support the cancer awareness through the organizations Keep A Breast and Shirts For A Cure, respectively. Keep A Breast has often collaborated with DC Shoes and Shirts For A Cure sells T-shirts designs donated by popular artists. Their platform allows you to wear your support and help promote awareness in your everyday life, too.
Memphis May Fire promote treating animal companions right with their support of the animal rights group Peta2 and through YouTube videos. Meanwhile, The Used teamed up with the Living The Dream Foundation to help dreams come true for young fans. This organization’s mission is to encourage positive experiences despite terminal illnesses.
Modern Baseball are up for the award with the 1BlueString organization. What really strikes me about the blue string campaign is how tangible they have made their statistic, which is that 1 in 6 men are sexually abused as children. By infusing the idea into a common item like the guitar, people can visually see the amount of men sexual abuse affects. As soon as you see that one blue string up on stage, you know immediately how prominent this problem truly is.
It’s a tough call, given all the great bands who support such innovative and influential organizations. Everyone involved is doing remarkable things to help people and animals. Whichever way you vote, you can feel good about helping promote a good cause. (Hannah Pierangelo)
This one gets my vote! Modern Baseball and 1BlueString
Andy Biersack (Black Veil Brides) / Vic Fuentes (Pierce The Veil) /
Kellin Quinn (Sleeping With Sirens) / Oli Sykes (Bring Me The Horizon) /
Brendon Urie (Panic! At The Disco) / Hayley Williams (Paramore)
“Best Vocalist” is a loaded category, but it’s important to remember when casting your vote that Best Vocalist does not equal Most Original Voice. Each of these singers have signature pipes that enable you to hear a new song from any one of them and say, “Hey, isn’t that XYZ?” with certainty. But Gilbert Gottfried has a unique voice too, and I wouldn’t listen to an album of his for 29 minutes. Andy Biersack (Black Veil Brides), Vic Fuentes (Pierce The Veil), Kellin Quinn (Sleeping With Sirens), Oli Sykes (Bring Me The Horizon), Brendon Urie (Panic! At The Disco), and Hayley Williams (Paramore) round out this category, so saying it’s STACKED might be a slight understatement. I did my best to cast away any preconceptions about the bands themselves and focus solely on range and style of the nominated vocalists. Ultimately, the award has to go to Brendon Urie, who has proven himself over and over again with complete musical 180s. From the dancehall pop of A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out to the folky Beatles-esque Pretty. Odd. to the more recent pop-rock efforts, Urie has guided Panic! through style changes with his voice effortlessly leading the transitions. His range is to be admired, not only in terms of vocals, but for his ability to adapt: this guy can crush a ballad just as easily as he can play up falsettos in a dance song. Urie is in for some tough competition, especially with the avid fan bases of his fellow nominees, but if we’re going on talent alone he’s a sure frontrunner. (Alyssa Dempsey)
The chosen one: Brendon Urie (Panic! At The Disco)
JB Brubaker (August Burns Red) / Synyster Gates (Avenged Sevenfold) /
Phil Manansala (Of Mice & Men) / Jack O’Shea (Bayside) /
Chris Rubey (The Devil Wears Prada) / Jacky Vincent (Falling In Reverse)
Choosing a favorite guitarist is almost as difficult as choosing your favorite song. With the bands in this category, it’s the guitarist whose epic solos add magic to your favorite songs by giving them an extra kick. Whether you’re a fan of the chugging, staccato anarchy pierced by towering solos of Bayside’s Jack O’Shea, or, on the other end of the spectrum, the fast-paced finger work from August Burns Red’s JB Brubaker, there’s no denying these bands are ones to bust out your air guitars to. Each guitarist up for “Best Guitarist” has their own distinctive style, particularly Phil Manansala of Of Mice & Men, who prefers winding solos twisted enough to make you dizzy from trying to keep up. But while there are irresistibly punchy guitars from The Devil Wears Prada guitarist Chris Rubey and some fast finger-tapping from Falling In Reverse’s Jacky Vincent–who covers one end of the fretboard to the other–for me there is one clear winner: Synyster Gates of Avenged Sevenfold. He has all the merits the other guitarists have, but no one works a fretboard quite like Gates. He makes the act of solos seem like child’s play, and turns his signature guitar into a fluid extension of himself. Classically trained, Gates has taken the art of lead guitar to a whole new level and become one of the best guitarists of our generation. And if you’ve ever been insane enough to try learning his solos, like I have, you’ll wonder if he’s really human at all. (Alex Bear)
There is one winner standing in front of me: Synyster Gates (Avenged Sevenfold)
Jeremy Davis (Paramore) / Zack Merrick (All Time Low) /
Ryan Neff (Miss May I) / Jaime Preciado (Pierce The Veil) /
Devin “Ghost” Sola (Motionless In White) / Pete Wentz (Fall Out Boy)
Too often, bassists end up being the unappreciated band member; as they hold down the backdrop of the song, it can be easy for them to fall into the backdrop of the band, too. But the musical role they play is crucial, and a truly great bassist knows how to make him or herself shine. Each of the nominees for the “Best Bassist” category fit the bill. So how do we determine who deserves the win? If we were judging based on prolificness, Fall Out Boy’s Pete Wentz would be an easy choice; it’s rare to see a non-singing bassist take on the role of frontman and seem so confident and natural. Not only is Wentz responsible for each Fall Out Boy lyric you’re singing along to, but he’s also responsible for representing pop punk on a much more mainstream level than the genre often achieves. If we were judging by live performance, Pierce The Veil’s Jaime Precadio would effortlessly backflip his way to the win; his endlessly entertaining stage antics are a huge part of what makes PTV’s live sets so memorable. And if there were a makeup component to the vote, Devin “Ghost” Sola of Motionless In White would take it no contest–especially with Wentz having now moved on from all his years of trademark eyeliner. But this category isn’t about one single element, it’s about the full package. And with that in mind, the award deserves to go to Paramore’s Jeremy Davis. Not only is he a phenomenal player and great live performer, but he knows when to sit back in the music and when to show off a little–whether the bassline is taking the spotlight or he’s decorating a song with little fills. Most importantly, there’s no background to slip into here. Paramore are adamant about each of their members holding equal weight. (Look no further than their “III” logo and matching tattoos for proof.) Davis is the full package, alright, and the way he proudly represents for his instrument makes him the most deserving candidate for this award. (Eleanor Grace)
I’m all for: Jeremy Davis (Paramore)
Jess Bowen (The Summer Set) / Josh Dun (twenty one pilots) /
Mike Fuentes (Pierce The Veil) / Matt Greiner (August Burns Red) /
Luke Holland (The Word Alive) / Ryan Seaman (Falling In Reverse)
Drummers are, in many ways, the heart of a band. They provide the beat on which a song relies, the rhythm that syncs up with your pulse when you’re in the crowd at a concert, the glue that holds every sonic element in a track together. Without that dude (or chick) residing on the drum riser, the songs you know and love would be missing that key pounding element that gives them life. How important is it, then, that a band’s drummer excel at their craft? Very, as proven by every nominee on the “Best Drummer” ballot for the first Alternative Press Music Awards – which makes choosing one to vote for that much harder.
Matt Greiner of August Burns Red and Luke Holland of The Word Alive both bring ferocious beats to the table, and Falling In Reverse’s Ryan Seaman offers up a career’s worth of stylistic and technically great tracks. The Summer Set’s Jess Bowen bashes her way through supreme pop-rock tracks and an array of stereotypes at the same time; meanwhile Josh Dun of twenty one pilots offers up one-of-a-kind, vibrant sounds you will only ever hear on a twenty one pilots album. With all this taken into account, my choice for “Best Drummer” was still obvious: Mike Fuentes of Pierce The Veil. There’s no question that Fuentes is a god behind his kit, serving up intricate beats time after time. Whether you’re moshing to one of Pierce The Veil’s heavier masterpieces (“Fast Times At Clairemont High”, “Besistos”), or swaying along to one of their more atmospheric tracks (“I’m Low On Gas, And You Need A Jacket”, “Disasterology”), you’re undoubtedly being led by the impeccable drumbeat supporting each of the band’s songs. Plus, Fuentes’ ability to crank out these entirely innovative beats live just as well as he does in studios will ensure his title of “legend” in the book of music history.
While each and every candidate for “Best Drummer” in the Alternative Press Music Awards certainly deserves recognition for their art, in my eyes (and ears) Fuentes fits the bill of “best drummer” to a tee – in enginuity, in talent, and in ability to totally rock. And to every other drumstick wielding wizard in the world: Keep on keepin’ the songs alive. We see what you do, and we appreciate it. (Emillie Marvel)
The last drummer standing should definitely be: Mike Fuentes (Pierce The Veil)
Want to shout about how wrong we are? Or think we’re your music-taste spirit animals? Now it’s your turn to vote.
Your award show. Your vote. Your night.