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Inside the MTV Woodie Awards 09: The Nominees

Alexandra Kilpatrick | Monday, December 7, 2009

The annual mtvU Woodie Awards aired on Friday for a target audience of college students. The awards ranged from best college station to best new artist and mainly focused on musical artists that would appeal to the wide-ranging music tastes of the college student audience.
The Breaking Woodie, which awards the year’s best new developing artist, had a wide range of nominees, from 18-year-old acoustic pop artist Never Shout Never to Brooklyn-based psychedelic indie rock band Grizzly Bear to Nigerian-American rapper Wale. Other nominees included British synth-pop duo La Roux, dance punk band Friendly Fires and Cambridge, Mass.-based electronic indie rock quintet Passion Pit, who played at Lollapalooza this summer.
The Left Field Woodie goes to the most genre-busting musical artists, those classification-resisting bands and solo artists who come out of so-called left field. Nominees this year included hip hop artist Tech N9ne, eclectic collaborative rapper Amanda Blank, futuristic Afro-punk funk singer Janelle Monae, British DJs and producers Major Lazer and combined blitzkrieg punk garage artist Jay Reatard.
The Performing Woodie commemorates the musical artist who always gives a memorable live performance. Alternative punk rock band Green Day, eclectic 80s rock-synth French quartet Phoenix, Boulder, Colo.-based goofy electronic rap duo 3OH!3, folky, noise-pop alt rock band Animal Collective and punk rapper P.O.S. were all nominated for the award.
The College Radio Woodie rewards the college station breaking out the latest and greatest in music as pioneers of the music industry, and nominees this year included KUPS 90.1 at the University of Puget Sound, WCRD 91.3 at Ball State University, Coyote Radio at California State University: San Bernardino, KCOU 88.1 at University of Missouri and WPTS 92.1 at the University of Pittsburgh. The Best Music on Campus Woodie, which goes to the top college band, nominated rapper G-Eazy from Loyola University New Orleans, pop-rock band Oh, the Story! from Loyola College, pop-punk quintet The OverUnder from Baruch College, indie rock Long Islanders Hotel of the Laughing Tree from Suffolk County Community College and indie quartet VulpesVulpes from Five Towns College.
The Best Video Woodie’s nominees included Matt & Kim’s “Lessons Learned,” which basically consists of the duo getting out of a van in Times Square in New York and going streaking. The Dead Weather’s “Treat Me Like Your Mother” has Jack White and Alison Krauss decked out in black leather shooting rounds of ammo into the other’s chests. Death Cab for Cutie’s “Grapevine Fires” is a touching animated video with a pretty much literal interpretation of the song’s lyrics. Anjulie’s “Boom” showed the singer falling through the sky into various scenes like Alice in Wonderland, while Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ “Heads Will Roll” went to a nightclub where a monster in a business suit knocks off people’s heads and spills confetti streams of blood. Kid Cudi’s “Day N’ Nite” had the rapper walking around town watching everything in sight turn into vibrant animation.
The big award, Woodie of the Year, commends the musical artist who’s made the most noise on the college scene in the past year. Nominees for this sought after acclamation included Asher Roth, Drake, Kings of Leon, MGMT and Silversun Pickups. Asher Roth, himself a young college-educated prodigy, rose to success in the mainstream rap scene with his debut 2008 single, “I Love College,” playing on college student iPods throughout the nation. The Canadian rapper and actor, Drake, perhaps best known for portraying the character of Jimmy Brooks on the Canadian teen drama, “Degrassi,” quickly came onto the college scene with his debut 2009 single, “Best I Ever Had.”
After the overwhelming success of their fourth album, 2008’s “Only By The Night,” no one will forget Nashville-based alternative rock band Kings of Leon, previously referred to as the Southern version of the Strokes.  The all killer, no filler album brought singles, “Sex on Fire,” “Use Somebody,” “Revelry” and “Notion” to college stations and dorm rooms everywhere. Brooklyn-based electro pop duo MGMT, previously known as Management, and their 2007 album, “Oracular Spectacular,” received plenty of airplay on campuses nationwide over the past year with singles “Time to Pretend,” “Electric Feel” and “Kids.”  LA-based alt rock band Silversun Pickups delivered clear-cut rock with their new album, “Swoon,” and a sound similar to that of 90s style Smashing Pumpkins.
Overall, the 2009 mtvU Woodie Awards had an excellent lineup of nominees. From Asher Roth to MGMT to Matt & Kim, there was something for every college student.