Shawn Stewart, KSTP's Sound Opinions: 1. Accident Clearinghouse 2. Ninotchka 3. The Beatifics 4. The Great Depression 5. Brother Sun Sister Moon (Honorable mention: The (new) Jayhawks)
Chris Strouth, TRG Records/Digital City Mpls/Future Perfect: 1. Rod Smith/Chris Sattinger 2. Tom Farmer 3. Lost in Translation 4. Tempest/Rob Williams 5. (tie) Crafty Ox/Tal Tahir--Whether Smith and Sattinger are in Wave Guide or something else, this DJ tag team play records in a way the authors never intended. I heard Tom Farmer on Peter Jesperson's Shakin' Street on REV 105: toy pianos, lo-fi fuzziness with some great lyrics, like Guided by Voices only better. Lost in Translation: noisy sound bytes, messed-up loops, John Cage on brown acid. Crafty Ox: Old Skool electro, hip-hop beats with lots of analog squiggleness. Tal Tahir: a former King Can member, another lo-fi'er; cool noisy pop.
Ed Varga, Homocore Mpls.: 1. Lucifag 2. Arone Dyer 3. All the Pretty Horses 4. The Shepherd Kings--Lucifag is Mötörhead up your ass; they are high powered, chugging, fag-retro metal, and the farthest thing I can think of from Pansy Division. While I'm not much of a fan of acoustic folk, I have to say that 16-year-old dyke Arone Dyer knows exactly what she's doing. S. Grandell's All the Pretty Horses combine sparse guitar work with old school new wave to create moody glam punk. The world needs more visible transgender artists like Grandell. The Shepherd Kings are not new at all, but they deserve mention for reincarnating themselves via keyboards, a drum machine, gospel songs and other generally weird combinations to create music that is at once unpalatable and endearing.
Jim Walsh, St. Paul Pioneer Press: 1. The Beatifics 2. Brother Sun Sister Moon 3. The Buck-Fifty Boys 4. Magnatone 5. Lifter Puller (Honorable mentions: Tom Farmer; Vantage Canada; DJ Woody McBride; The Strawdogs; Marina Glass; Blue Dot Trance; Tim O'Reagan and Karen Grotberg; Own; Carp 18; Koerner, Ray and Glover)
Pat Whalen, K-Tel Records/independent promoter: 1. Brother Sun Sister Moon 2. Dave King and whatever 3. (tie) Atmosphere/Beyond etc. 5. (tie) Sandwiches/ Mindphaseone. Also: The Conquerors--Brother Sun Sister Moon's debut CD is a tasty future-pop synesthesia, but who'd have guessed that they would be so astronomically swell live? Export ready, with upscale grooves and looks to permanently maim. Omnipresent percussionist Dave King has shown lots of local rock fans that jazz ain't just for academics. He's a gas to watch, whether he's playing with Casino Royale, Happy Apple, The Starry-Eyed Lovelies, Salpeen, or whatever. Entrepreneurs with attitude, Slug and crew are tearing the logos off of hip hop. As for noteworthy local recordings, that Sandwiches song "2222 Nicollet Ave." has got to be the little local ditty of the decade, and Mind Phase One's full-length debut is a world-class model of electronicalismo. There's a fuzzy cord that runs from the Litter, to the Hypstyrz, through the Mofos, around the Funseekers, and up the Conquerors. Give it a little tug and see what happens.
Mark Wheat, KFAI's Local Sound Department/Pulse: 1. Brother Sun Sister Moon 2. Plain Jane 3. Druel 4. Happy Apple 5. The Big Wu--Seems like five years ago I was trying to choose five bands for this thing that maybe had a good demo out and had played a few good shows in the Entry. Now it seems possible to build a solid list from bands that have full CDs out and have had some kind of recognition beyond the Twin Cities. Were The Beatifics, Magnatone, Sukpatch, Mindphaseone or Mike Merz and the Can O' Worms considered for last year's poll? If not, maybe that should be my list!