All-Time Best Band: Karma To Burn All-Time Best Solo Artist: Hasil Adkins Best New Band: Bobaflex
Instru-metal cultists KARMA TO BURN built on the doomriding ballast of ’90s desert-thrashers Kyuss while anticipating the ’00s indie-headbanger revival that gave rise to Pelican. They sold ominous riffs with such synapse-shredding bend and thrust that no singer could match ’em — so the band mostly made do without one. | Everyone from West Virginia who ever made anything of themselves musically did so elsewhere: RNR Hall of Famer Johnnie Johnson, Nashville hit maker Kathy Mattea, “America’s Polka King” Frankie Yankovic, soul-funkster Bill “Lean on Me” Withers, Grand Ole Opry star Little Jimmie Dickens (his “May the Bird of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose” hit No. 1 on the country charts) — even the singer for ’80s sleaze-metal geniuses Kix. Everyone, that is, except the bizarre one-man-band HASIL ADKINS. Born, bred, and dead in Boone County, he recorded at home in his double-wide trailer, four-tracking songs that he performed live by playing drums, bass, and guitar all at once — and his feral, howling proto-psychobilly sides, including the Cramps-covered cult hit “The Hunch,” were far stranger than anything recorded by the garage punks who eventually called him their granddaddy. | “It’s true what you’ve heard,” West Virginians BOBAFLEX say on their MySpace page: “We do fuck our cousins.” They also emote like Journey and scream like Disturbed, deploying valley-deep, mountain-high harmonies that offset their rage with narratives of heavily compromised redemption.