Best Frontman - 2007
Dameon Merkl looks like the tall, handsome son of Orson Welles and has the dark vocal intensity of Nick Cave. His deep voice has a presence and timbre that late-night jazz radio-show hosts would kill for, but even an easy laugh from him carries an undercurrent of menace. As the brooding yet diabolically humorous frontman for Bad Luck City, Merkl is the kind of character you'd root for whether he was the president or the head of a crime family. The stories he weaves in song are spun from the urban-underbelly mythos of film noir, Cormac McCarthy and James Ellroy. In years past, Merkl's sometimes abrasive and guttural voice could seem monochromatic. Lately, though, he's learned to channel it to match his band's rich emotional tapestries. A natural showman, Merkl masterfully straddles the realms of avant-punk and lurid lounge.