The 2013 Dallas Observer Music Award Winners

The Granada: Best Live Music Venue. Photo by Jason Janik

As we have every year for the last quarter-century, we present the Dallas Observer Music Awards. This year, our panel of music experts and industry veterans nominated 200 artists, venues and organizations. Over 4,000 people voted on those nominees, and their selections are the 40 winners listed here.

They're a worthy bunch. Some are well-known outside North Texas, like Sarah Jaffe (whose latest exploits include singing the hook on an Eminem song and providing the soundtrack for Pixar's most recent short) and The Polyphonic Spree (whose new album reached number eight on the Billboard Album Chart, in addition to winning our Best New Release DOMA). Some of this year's winners are elder statesmen of this area's music scene: Paul Slavens, who was nominated for the very first DOMA in 1988, won a pair this year.

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A Night at Ships' Jukebox with Dallas' Best DJs

Deb Doing Dallas
Tony Schwa and Sober at the Ships Jukebox
There is no better music snob than the DJ. I have said it before: Keep your lead singers and your emotional bass players, stick me at a table with the DJs and I am in eavesdropping heaven.

That's where I was a few days ago, when some of our Best Weekly DJ Night DOMA nominees gathered around a vinyl covered table at Ships for a jukebox showdown ahead of tonight's Awards Ceremony at House of Blues. As I put each DJ up to the challenge of $1 worth of music from a pre-curated selection at Ships, which mostly deals in pre-'70s era Soul and Country and even earlier incarnations of Rock & Roll.

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The 2013 DOMA Showcase Through Your Instagrams


There's always something going on in Dallas, so we thought it'd be fun to live vicariously through your adventures.

Each week look for our #Dallas Instagram recap of people, places, events, food, and more. Usually, this post can be found on our arts blog, the Mixmaster, but this week's installment is based around the 2013 Dallas Observer Music Award Showcase, that took place this past Saturday in Deep Ellum.

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Highlights from the 2013 DOMA Showcase

Mike Brooks
Eat Avery's Bones
The 2013 Dallas Observer Music Showcase came and went this weekend in eight hours of North Texas' most interesting music. The unique thrill of this thing is walking from a delicate show by a singer-songwriter to the thrash of a punk band to the beats of an electronic act, on and on, and seeing the members of those bands inspire each other. Tomorrow night we'll hand out trophies, but the real reward of this whole DOMA enterprise was to be in those crowds this weekend. And we were! There was too much to describe here, but what follows are a few of the highlights observed by our writers and photographers.

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Some of DFW's Best Venue Managers Recall Their Favorite Bygone Venues

Flickr user mycatfredisfat

It's the 25th Anniversary of the DOMA. And while it's true that bands and venues come and go, many of the people behind them have been here all along. We asked a few of these long standing music veterans -- now behind the scenes at DOMA nominated venues The Kessler, The Foundry and Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios -- about their favorite old venues.

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Five Dallas Legends Who Never Won Their DOMA

Todd Wolfson
For 25 years we here at the Dallas Observer have celebrated local music by offering an award that not only highlights are awesome local talent but also allows you, our readers, to decide the winners. It's a nerve-racking month as we prepare for the award show, write the articles and tally the votes -- we'll hand out 2013's awards tomorrow night at House of Blues.

And while the winners often leave a trail of dust for future nominees to blaze, other nominees appear on the list in various categories year after year yet never take home a Dallas Observer Music Award. Texas icons, blues legends, local legacy bands: no one is immune to the DOMA snub. It's a mystery we've yet to solve.

In honor of the DOMA's 25th anniversary, we've delved as far back as the DOMA's humble beginnings in the late '80s when a pencil and a stamp were required to submit your ballot, searching through dozens of archives to find the five nominees who should have won but, due to a strange twist of fate, never did.

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Your DOMA Showcase 2013 Guide

Mike Brooks
Last year at this thing.
The Dallas Observer Music Showcase is Saturday, November 2 (tomorrow). It's our annual celebration of North Texas music, some version of which we've been doing for 25 years now. Here's what you should know before you head into Deep Ellum:

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The Adventure Club Helped Me Find My Taste in Music

Eric Grubbs
Editor: This year, we're celebrating the 25th Dallas Observer Music Awards. Our coverage will include recollections from last quarter century of North Texas music. Here, our clubs editor remembers the radio show that's won more DOMAs than any other.

When I was growing up, radio had so much power. I was 10 years old when Napster's online debut began to change the way we consume music. Though the download and play mixed CD format excited me, I still relied heavily on the educational content fed to me through Dallas radio waves. During junior high summer nights, syndicated episodes of Loveline taught me everything I wanted to know about sex, while fostering my schoolgirl crush on Adam Carolla. Even more instrumental in shaping the person I am today was KDGE-FM 102.1's Sunday night fare. The Adventure Club with Josh Venable exposed me to a world of music I doubt I would've discovered on my own. Though I was too young to join in the fun yet, the show opened my eyes to the Dallas music scene in my own backyard. It showed me groups and collectives of people throughout the city that cared just as much as I did about music.

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Meet the 2013 Dallas Observer Music Showcase Lineup: This Saturday, November 2

All photos by Jason Janik.
This Saturday, Deep Ellum will become a North Texas music family reunion for the Dallas Observer Music Showcase, with 58 bands on eight stages. The lineup ranges from experimental noise bands to hypnotic singer-songwriters. There are rappers playing damn near their first gigs and rock bands returning from cross-country tours. Because you'll have to make some decisions here, we thought we'd let you know a little bit about each of the DOMA nominees playing at this year's showcase.

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The 2013 DOMA Ceremony will Feature The Polyphonic Spree, The Cannabanoids and More

It all comes down to this. We came up with 200 nominees for the 2013 Dallas Observer Music Awards. Over 2,000 of you have voted so far (though the polls are still open!), and this coming Tuesday, November 5, we'll announce the winners at House of Blues.

The DOMA Ceremony should be a spectacle. Your MC for the night is comedian Paul Varghese. The house band is The Cannabanoids -- they'll play a solo set and then they've got a few special guests planned: rapper Tunk, rock band Somebody's Darling and guitar hero Ronnie Heart. And your headliner is The Polyphonic Spree.

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