By Jake Rossen
By Jesse Marx
By Michelle LeBow
By Alleen Brown
By Maggie LaMaack
By CP Staff
By Jesse Marx
1. Faux Jean (43)
GENRE: OLE IN THE SKY WITH NEIL DIAMOND
It's not the imaginative songs, the solid musicianship, or the sharp suits. It's the mythology. Matty Schindler, a.k.a. Faux Jean of Faux Jean, delights in grandiose absurdity. Not exactly a new tactic, but the stance serves his oblique, buzzing pop like a Butterfly vibrator strapped on just right.
--Patrick Whalen, promoter
2. Work of Saws (35)
GENRE: GUIDED BY POLLARD
Just as you're beginning to savor one of their incandescent, comforting melodies, the song ends--and a moment later, a new one begins. It's music that never wastes your time.
--Dan Nycklemoe, Bryant-Lake Bowl
3. Alva Star (31)
GENRE: WHIP SHAKESPEARE
Why would longtime singer-songwriter and semi-folkster John Hermanson hook up with a band after gathering such a devoted local following on his own? Answer: to gain a sound. Hermanson's emotive vocals and plaintive lyrics still ring poignant, falling somewhere between Gary Louris and Jeff Buckley. Now the lush sonic backdrops provided by local luminaries Peter Anderson (Astronaut Wife), Brian Roessler (Spymob), and Darren Jackson (a.k.a. Kid Dakota) up the creative ante along with the volume dial.
--Adam Hall, freelance writer
4. The Fog (26)
GENRE: TURNTABLIST DOOM POP
Andrew Broder is the city's premier (read: only) DJ satirist, a multitalented whiz kid with an inversely proportionate ego. Who else would sing, play guitar, and DJ on a single track, all while suffering from the flu, pneumonia, and laryngitis?
--Jen Downham, KFAI-FM (90.3/106.7)
5. Cropduster (20)
GENRE: EVERY GENRE MUST GET STONED
Cropduster blends funk, hip hop, and various improvisational styles to create something of a thinking man's Greazy Meal.
Kid Dakota (tie)
GENRE: I REGRET ISSUING MY YAWP TO THE COLD AND UNCARING UNIVERSE--YET YAWP I MUST
Kid Dakota's strangled guitar chords and primitive percussion (read: pummeling an ice tray with a stick) combine to sound like a stampede of bipolar teenagers racing toward a Slint concert. Over his depressive soundscape, the Kid sings choked-up harmonies about feeling unattractive and begging girls not to leave him. The music is intriguingly ugly, lonely, and self-destructive. In short: it makes Kid Dakota an indie-rock dreamboat.
--Melissa Maerz, City Pages
Song of Zarathustra (tie)
GENRE: SCREAMS IN THE KEY OF LIFE
Since re-forming and releasing a full-length this year on New Jersey's Troubleman Records, these guys have developed a keyboard-fueled chaos that makes San Diego's the Locust sound dainty.
--Bryan Alft, Extreme Noise Records
6. Poor Line Condition (18)
GENRE: DRUM 'N' BASS PLAYED
ON ACTUAL DRUMS AND BASS
Forget Pink Floyd: Poor Line Condition is the only band that could convincingly soundtrack The Wizard of Oz. When they recently performed using a video of Dorothy's odyssey as a visual backdrop, the earthy basslines, spacey Moog overtones, and live drum beats were so danceable, the Tin Man started doing Daft Punk robot moves to the rhythm of his heart-shaped pacemaker.
7. The Dames (17)
GENRE: WHERE'S AMREP WHEN YOU NEED 'EM?
I accidentally discovered the Dames when I was exiting First Avenue through the Entry. They were ripping it up for a crowd of seven very fortunate people, and I was shocked by their paralyzing stage presence. The Dames are what hard rock is supposed to be: a fury of sound that says, "Fuck you!" and nearly strips your body from your bones.
--Paul WonSavage, Ricochet Kitchen
8. American Monsters (14)
GENRE: PUNK TO PLAY OVER A VIDEO LOOP OF DALE EARNHARDT'S LAST MOMENTS ON EARTH
Anarchic, sloppy as shit, and really bloody loud. You can't take your eyes off their lanky, rubber-limbed singer.
--Cecile Cloutier, freelance writer
Black Eyed Snakes (tie)
GENRE: JOHN LEE NEW WAVE HOOKER
The Black Eyed Snakes are another outlet for the restless creative energy of Low's Al Sparhawk, whose alter ego Chicken Bone George wails distorted vocals through a harmonica mic to thrash-blues accompaniment. Just as Low are subversive in their minimalism, the Snakes are subversive in their raw punk energy, stealing the blues back from the Kenny Wayne Shepherds of this world.
--Christine Dean, The RipSaw News
9. Jonas (13)
GENRE: SLAM TRANCE
Jonas's Sarah Khan has a lilting voice that floats through a...(bear with me)...Spectoresque wall of grunge guitar. If you follow too close you'll end up on the rocks. Look too deeply into her eyes and you may turn into one.
--Bill Sullivan, the 400 Bar
10. Suki Takahashi (11)
GENRE: JAZZ 'N' BASS PLAYED BY
ACTUAL JAZZ GUYS AND BASSISTS
Poor Line Condition and Suki Takahashi both show the effects that a decade of Squarepusher, Aphex Twin, and µ-Ziq will have on practiced, young "jazz" musicians. Newly invigorated with breakbeats, multilayered time signatures, and a tonal spectrum opened wide by technology, these all-live acts show you things you've never seen before.
--J.G. Everest, Crossfaded Thursdays
11. Iffy (10)
12. Buss; Jan; Sandman;
Oddjobs; Ol' Yeller; the Waves (9)
13. The Psychedelicates (8)
14. The Crush; Tin Porter (7.5)
16. Silent Iris (6.5)
17. Grickle Grass; If Thousands;
the Malachi Constant; Nationale;
Sweet J.A.P.; Volante (6)
Thanks to all the voters:
Bryan Alft, Lynne Bengtson, DJ Boogie, Jen Boyles, Laura Brandenburg, Jon Bream, David McCall Campbell, Amy Carlson, Cecile Cloutier, Dan, Christine Dean, Jennifer Downham, Ben Durrant, J.G. Everest, J. Free, Alan Freed, Joe P. Furth, Simon Peter Groebner, Sonia Grover, Tom Hallett, Mark Hansen, Keith Harris, Howard Held, Scott Henkemeyer, Julie Hill, Craig Holliman, John Jindra, Dallas Johnson, Nate Johnson, Kyle Kaine, Karla Klaustermeier, Shane D. Kramer, Nathan Kranz, Leo Kuelbs Jr., Stephen Lawson, Melissa Maerz, Meghan Mahar, James "Taco" Martin, Mean Larry, Tim Nelson, Dan Nycklemoe, Chuck Olsen, Patrick Olsen, Scott Pakudaitis, Ian Rans, Robyne Robinson, Christina Schmitt, Peter S. Scholtes, JonJon Scott, Ryan Simatic, Rod Smith, Bill Snyder, Ray Stiles, Chris Strouth, Bill Sullivan, Celeste Tabora, Lois Turen, Krista Vilinskis, Karrie Vrabel, Jim Walsh, Patrick Whalen, Mike Wisti, Paul WonSavage