Ali Lozoff, 770 Radio K: 1. Brother Sun Sister Moon 2. Lifter Puller 3. Sukpatch 4. Accident Clearinghouse 5. Marina Glass
Woody McBride, Communique Records: 1. DJ Stylus 2. DJ Severe as Encore 3. Dr. Boom. Also: Girl disk jox! The rebirth of way-psick Minneapolis electronika of every flava!
Jim Meyer, Star Tribune: 1. Dave King, Incorporated (Happy Apple, Starry-Eyed Lovelies, Souls of Kilimanjaro, Mary Nail, Love-cars) 2. Mike Merz & the Can o' Worms 3. Plain Jane 4. Tony Sims 5. Vanguard--I'm not trying to be cute, or make the judges' lives impossible, but drummer Dave King is doing a real number on the shape and sound of Minneapolis by rebuilding, if not inventing, the pure jazz and pop workshop. With his flair for world-wise funky jazz and tastefully intense rock, King is tapping the pulse of the restless, curious, voracious post-modern music fan who thirsts for relief from plastic-wrapped fourth-wave bop and/or blasé alt-rock. His budding partnership with bassist Anthony Cox (Starry-Eyed Lovelies, Souls of Kilimanjaro, Farm) has already produced incredible results, and they've only just begun. Tune in, flip out. You may not listen to music quite the same way again. I don't... Mike Merz and the Can o' Worms: Introspective, yet outer-directed. Unplugged, yet electronic. Angry, yet funny. Aggressive, yet reserved. Merz's Buzzkill Nation effectively addresses so many life-size contradictions and tensions, it gives me hope for the future of songwriting, while it makes me worry a little for the future as a whole. Stupendous... I'm not positively sure what Plain Jane are saying, but I love the way they say it. Something to do with absolute passion and expression, free of all restrictions--imposed or self-inflicted. I wanna hear more... Tony Sims: There is a blues and rock new guard beyond The Artist Formerly Known as Kid... Honorable mention: To all the semi-anonymous DJs, cut-creators and electro-cutionists, too numerous to name, know, or enumerate, for bringing the beat back, remixing it, reshaping it, out-stretching it, and uplifting it. You know who you are. I can only hope to.
Jason Parker, Extreme Noise Records: 1. Kill Sadie 2. Decoy Voices 3. Short Fuses 4. Stray Bullets 5. Asinine Solution--Kill Sadie: New Jersey '96. Decoy Voices: L.A. '79. The Short Fuses: New York '77. Stray Bullets: Boston '82. Asinine Solution: Wisconsin '84. All of the above punk/hardcore bands, with the exception of the Decoy Voices, have 7-inch records out.
Brent Sayers, Rhyme Sayers Entertainment: 1. The Dynospectrum 2. Extreme 3. Kanser 4. The Fam 5. Eyedea and DJ Abilities--Seems as though there has been an abundance of new local bands surfacing this year doing a lot of cool stuff (i.e. see the Front). But instead of listing the same bands I'm sure so many others will, here are some up-and-coming hip-hop acts that are definitely going to be making mad noise on the Twin Cities local scene.
Christina Schmitt, freelance writer: 1. Sukpatch 2. Short Fuses 3. Vaz 4. Think Tank 5. Plain Jane (Honorable mentions: Accident Clearinghouse, Communique Records conglomerate)--I have a fantasy about throwing a dance/indie/thrash basement party somewhere in the metro area with these acts, who would force booties to shake and make great theme music for passing party favors. Who better than Sukpatch to headline--a band that is perhaps not new, but definitely has redefined itself this past year by layering pop vocals over hip-hop beats and samples (not to mention turning the eyes of the Slabco and Mo' Wax labels toward the Twin Cities). Hopefully singer Steve Cruze would warm up the crowd as he did Cows fans this spring--by mooning them. Paul Robb would master the mixing board, and probably give the Short Fuses a dose of genius that he gave Information Society/Think Tank's "A Knife and a Fork." (Or maybe he'd do them Alec Empire-style, adding some killer break beats to the Short Fuses' "Kick It In." But of course he wouldn't touch Georgia Peach's kick-ass vocals--then we would really have an Atari Teenage Riot on our hands.) Vaz would represent the deconstruction of the old machismo-guitar order, and we would be awed by Jeff Mooridian's bombastic high-tom punches--a drum show almost as empowering as Plain Jane. I'd hate to once again bemoan the general dearth of women-powered music, so instead, I'd offer Plain Jane to my female guests as inspiration, forcing them to pick up instruments so that maybe women could take over this poll next year. Because, frankly, I am so very tired of fans that think divas should be the only women allowed to dominate our scene.
DJ Rod Smith, Polar Bear Club/House of Miracles: 1. Ousia 2. Ninotchka 3. DJ Slip 4. Mindphaseone 5. Lost in Translation
Bill Snyder, The Squealer/Pulse: 1. Brother Sun Sister Moon 2. Dust Bunnies 3. The Beatifics 4. Magnatone 5. Florida--Barbara Cohen brought a beauty to Farm Accident that balanced out their frequently crass (though always amusing) sense of humor. Then it was onto the somewhat more refined sounds of Little Lizard--by far a much better vehicle to highlight her voice. Still, nothing could have caught me more off guard than her teaming up with former Information Society member Paul Robb to form BSSM. Robb's soundscapes are impeccable, and Cohen's unexpected move from folk to trip hop finally allows her voice to show all of its true brilliance. I consider The Great Game to be one of the finest albums to come out anywhere over the last year. The Dust Bunnies are either the Andrews Sisters jamming with Johnny Cash in a postmodern Holiday Inn lounge or I'm having one of the best acid flashbacks of my life.