By Rob van Alstyne
By Zach McCormick
By Emily Eveland
By Jack Spencer
By Michael Madden
By Reed Fischer
By Emily Weiss
By Emily Weiss
8. Capital! Capital (15)
Genre: One-Exclamation-Point Punk
After 12 years of going to clubs, I get tired of seeing bands try so damn hard to make sure we notice that they look cool. (I'm reminded of Conqueror bassist Keith Patterson making a funny announcement from the stage: "This next song is called 'I tripped over my chain wallet on the way to the Fonzie cool store'"). I really don't care about the cool after-party and the band's art-school friends. I just want the goods. Straight up. That's why I like Capital! Capital. I was prepared to be unimpressed when they took the stage one night at the Turf Club. Next thing I knew, some guy was screaming words I couldn't quite understand, except that they had to do with getting in a car and driving far, far away--a sentiment we can all rally behind. The way he screamed them in tandem with a mercilessly loud guitar and the band's pounding, trancelike rhythm left me feeling all good, sweaty, and swirling in an endorphin rush. This offshoot of the now-defunct Freedom Fighters is a little more complex than that on record, but thankfully not much more. It's good and physical, like the P-rock is supposed to be.
--Henry Horman, freelance writer
9. Iffy (14)
Genre: Funk Westy Funk
Sultry vocals, steady R&B drum beats, a scratchy sound... No, it isn't some old soul 45, it's an eclectic new mix of studio wizardry and stream-of-consciousness wordplay, brought to you by Kirk and Kraig Johnson of Run Westy Run, plus drumming boy wonder Dave King. Imagine Kerouac with a falsetto and you have Iffy.
10. Raw Villa (12)
Genre: Snow-Chilled Hip Hop
After a decade of gangsta rap, Minneapolis finally produces a hard crew talented enough to earn big ups from Ghostface Killah ("They my niggas," he said onstage) and tight enough to infiltrate KMOJ rap primetime. Yeah, they've been around for a few years, but a lineup change, a bumped-up live presence, and a slew of new songs (including the thoroughly negative, deeply offensive, and remarkably catchy "Money First") make this the new crew to stew over.
Genre: Sing Softly But Carry a Big Beat
Matt Olson's erstwhile side project bested his now-defunct Balloon Guy years ago, but with Rajah Pink and Wading Pool Blue and a renewed zeal for performing, this band seems reborn. The electronic histrionics of sidemen John Carroll Seitz, Scott Tretter, and Bill McGuire are a thrill.
11. The Sure Shot Brothers; Touchy Feely (9)
12. Flapjack; Kaos (8)
14. Keller Brothers; Arson Welles; Houston (7)
15. Inside Straight Blues Band; Vaz; Terraplane, End Transmission; Heiruspecs;
The Hot (6)
Compiled by Bridgette ReinsmoenCP
Thanks to all the voters:
Christopher Bahn, Lynne Bengtson, Richard Best, Jon Bream, Amy Carlson, Vickie Casey, Cecile Cloutier, Dan Cote, The Dan One, Bill DeVille, Paul D. Dickinson, Jen Downham, Nate Dungan, Extreme Noise Records, Simon Peter Groebner, Sonia Grover, Mark Hansen, Jessica Hampton, Keith Harris, Scott Henkemeyer, Julie Hill, Henry Horman, Dick Houff, John Jindra, Rachel Joyce, Katharine Kelly, Karla M. Klaustermeier, Kurt Koehler, Britt Lindsay, Jon Lurie, J.R. Maddox, Clark Marshall, Mean Larry, Cari Ness, Q-Bear, Scott Pakudaitis, Nate Patrin, Robyne Robinson, Tom Rosenthal, Peter Scholtes, JonJon Scott, Rod Smith, Angie Simonson, Danny Siegelman, Kate Silver, Anders Smith-Lindall, Bill Snyder, Jack Sparks, Debra Stolberg, Bill Sullivan, Aaron Szopinski, Jim Walsh, Jeff Weihe, Collier White