In last year's Best Music Poll, we went off about "fragmentation" within the world of music, marveling at how results were so across-the board that it was difficult to find any real trend. This year's BMP, our 23rd annual - punctuated with an awards party at the Brighton Music Hall - was crystallized by two hard-working, against-the-odds rock bands that nearly swept their respective categories.
Leading the BMP pack here on home turf was Mean Creek, a blue-collar, old-school indie-rock band that nabbed three awards (including a second-straight Best Boston Act award), despite subscribing to a DIY code that finds them booking their own gigs, handling their own publicity, and self-releasing their emotionally-charged records. On the national tip, the British folk-rock of Mumford & Sons garnered four BMP awards, including Best Act and Album of the Year, capping off a rise to fame that few could have predicted for a banjo-picking band of humble dudes who just so happen to write incredible songs.
From there, the rest of the BMP runs the gamut, much like the musical spectrum of 2011. In that regard, we asked some of Boston's best music blogs to chime in on their favorites, and reporter Liz Pelly talked to musicians who define their "local" scene as the World Wide Web. Yes, the industry has changed, and the landscape of record labels- versus-the-Internet is littered with uncertainty, but there is still great music out there, and the bands who deserve to be heard are lining up front and center.