Scene Not Heard

Computer wizards leave their bedrooms, rappers reach the stage, and the Mason Jennings Band creates the bar buzz of the decade. In the ninth annual City Pages New Music Poll, 60 local music fans pick the bands that made the biggest noise.


Robyne Robinson, Channel 9 News

1. Moveable Feast

Daniel Corrigan

2. The Mason Jennings Band

3. Anika

4. Passage

5. The Hot

Wow, what a rough year. Incredible bands and institutions imploded or burned out, which meant some tearful farewells (Casino Royale, Freeloaded Wednesdays at the Front, the Sensational Joint Chiefs, Groove Garden Sundays at the Cabooze) and a temporary return to domesticity on my part, due to a lack of musical stimulation. Then I heard these new bands, and their uniquely dynamic sounds seduced me back into the clubs. For that, I thank them.


Tom Rosenthal, Foxfire Coffee Lounge

1. The Plastic Constellations

2. Walker Kong and the Dangermakers

3. Cadillac Blindside

4. Effervescent

5. The Misfires

The coolest part of my job booking an all-ages club is getting to see the newest bands extremely early in their development. Teenage bands are awesome! No pretensions. No absurd career ambitions. Just the pure joy of rocking out! With all of that in mind, here is my list. The Plastic Constellations: These boys from Hopkins High are turning everyone's heads. They jump around like they can't believe how much fun they're having. On top of that, they have interesting and sophisticated Ideas about lyrical and musical composition. In many ways they are more compelling than any twentysomething rockers you'd find playing the local dives. Truly a breath of fresh air. At first I was amused by the lineup for Walker Kong and the Dangermakers--four girls in cute matching outfits fronted by one dude. Then I got a load of the songs, some of which I still find myself humming. How can you argue with "Don't Forget the Underground"? Okay, the Jonathan Richman comparisons are inescapable, but with Walker Kong it's a loving homage and not a shameless rip-off. Cadillac Blindside is a tuneful and powerful foursome that artfully throws what some people call punk, pop, and "emo" into a blender to deliver a sound that is their own. Effervescent (of St. Paul Central High School) are a stunningly forceful postpunk, indie-rock trio. The Misfires may be heirs to the legacy of the Strike. They play an extra loud hyperactive Clash like form of rock 'n' roll.


Laura Brandenburg, Sweet Ass magazine

1. Mark Mallman

2. Flybüss

3. Vaseline Alley

4. Mother Bitch

5. Trace Element

Mallman, the former Odd man, knows the power of a good pop song and keeps his aesthetics--aural and visual--ever evolving. Flybüss have an excellent ear for timing and originality: Their jazz improvisations can involve elements of Zen and John Cage. Oh, did I mention their tuba-playing math teacher? Flybüss phone home. Vaseline Alley's good, sleazy rock 'n' roll is hard to find, but these three guys and a girl crank it out dirty-style. I'd pay even more if they cooled off the speed tempos, laid out the bass, and got a funky little groove on. Boasting a full band plus keys, one horn, and two sisters on vocals, Mother Bitch proves that St. Paul has got it going on. It sounds like a blues-rock and gospel mix, but I'm pretty sure they're talking dirty. Also based in St. Paul, Trance Element is an acid-jazz and hip-hop group featuring the cool vocals of Kerry Ann Francis as well as Dameün Strange on sax. Look for a CD in late summer/early fall.


Puffman Rae, Lick magazine

1. The Dames

2. Knock One

3. Annie Enneking

4. American Head Charge

5. Family for Life


If the national media listened to our music, they'd find a mini-apple busting out of old categories. Bands around this city are hungry, and the community is strong. I recommend you mentally download a list of your own. As for mine, the Dames are a downright spiritual experience. Knock One rhymes with the intensity of hip hop's top rank; increased exposure should bounce his crew into more venues. Annie Enneking is a soft-voiced, hard-working singer-songwriter. American Head Charge played an important role in the local resurrection of hardcore punk. And Family for Life's energy is still flipping slick beats through my bone marrow.


Jon Jon Scott, Pulse of the Twin Cities

1. Abstract Pack

2. Raw Villa

3. Prosthetica

4. Moveable Feast

5. Sixth Sense

Abstract Pack has been around for a while, but they really came into their own this year with Bousta Set It (For the Record), an album that helped place local hip hop in the national spotlight. Another local crew with their eyes on the prize is Raw Villa, who have two singles rotating through KMOJ's rap specialty shows. Now, after opening for everyone from DMX to Esthero, Villa has taken their Wu-Tang-via-Jay-Z hardcore into the studio. Prosthetica put the star back in rock star, armed with a huge light show and tons of Mancunian swagger. And as the jazz and spoken-word scenes merged, Moveable Feast (with Kenny Washington and Truth Maze) brought the funk to jazzbos, just as the eclectic turntablism of DJ Abilities and left-field wordplay of Eyedea in Sixth Sense reminded hip hop of its adventurous heritage. In fact, with so much underground hip-hop activity in town, it's a shame there's no club space that caters to its core audience: the black community.

Contributors: Dan Haugen, John Beggs, Lynne Bengtson, Laura Brandenburg, Jon Bream, Bjorn Cahill Jr., Amy Carlson, Lynda Davis, Bill DeVille, Jen Downham, DJ Drone, Nate Dungan, Jim Francis, Deneen Gannon, Vickie Gilmer, Simon Peter Groebner, Sonia Grover, Keith Harris, Grant Hart, Randy Hawkins, Dwight Hobbes, Henry Horman, Grant Johnson, Rachel J. Joyce, Katherine Kelly, Chris Kieser, J.R. Maddox, Michaelangelo Matos, Mean Larry, Jesse Mraz, Patrick Olsen, Scott Pakudaitis, Jason Parker, Puffman Rae, Ian Rans, Pete Rhodes, Dan Richmond, Robyne Robinson, Earl Root, Tom Rosenthal, Brent Sayers, Christina Schmitt, Jon Jon Scott, Danny Sigelman, Laura Sinagra, Slug, Rod Smith, Bill Snyder, Chris Strouth, Bill Sullivan, Kate Sullivan, Roger Swardson, John Vance, Ed Varga, Krista Vilinskis, Karrie Vrabel, Jim Walsh, Mei Young

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