People’s Choice Awards 2016: Best of Local Music

Who wrote the best song of the year? The best album? The people have spoken, and it's the same band.


Behind Jake Nicoll’s “Quiet Song of the Year,” Half of Nothing

You know, definitively, who you’re listening to when you hear a song by Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen, Bill Callahan … some songwriters sound like no one but themselves, and in an age where everything’s been done, what more can we strive for? Jake Nicoll is one of those songwriters.

In addition to being one of the city’s more interesting songwriters, he’s also one of its most prolific: he proved that this year with the release of a double album in an era of EPs. Where most bands are recording the last 4 songs they wrote, Nicoll is consistently releasing ample work under two monikers (his name, or, Run to the Rocks), and across all genres. All while playing with or recording for other bands.

Until recently, he toured the world as The Burning Hell’s drummer. It was during a European tour with The Burning Hell that he wrote “Half of Nothing.” “We were on our way out of Munich when our van broke down, leaving us with a lot of time to kill on the side of the highway. Luckily I had my guitar handy. Why not write a song about disappointment, rather than just sitting around feeling disappointed?,” he jokes.

“Actually, I know it comes off as a sad or negative sentiment, but I still feel like there is a positive feeling underneath it all. In the end we can’t take for granted that anything works. I think it’s easy to assume that the natural state of things is to work, to function, and that when things are broken that’s abnormal. But maybe it’s the other way around? The status quo is actually dysfunction and the fact that anything works at all is a tasty surprise.”

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  • “This list isn’t exactly the list that I would have picked, nor does it have my friend’s band on it, so therefore it sucks” – Almost everybody

    • Well it is for things like awards. See MusicNL Awards, for instance. Same as lumping Blues/Jazz is quite common, or folk-country. no need being some kind of prick, “Bull.” How about embracing the spirit of these Best of celebrations? It’s all just a bit of good fun, b’y.

    • Who are you calling lame, exactly? The people have voted. The votes were tallied. You’re the pouty lame one. Sea Dogs are cool, but there’s like 100 bands in town. They didn’t win popular vote, boo hoo. I voted for Ribbon Tied and don’t see them here, doesn’t mean anything b’y. it’s all just a bit of fun reading?

  • The choices are awesome and well done to all. Half Of Nothing is truly a stirring and thought rendering song.

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