By Jake Rossen
By Jesse Marx
By Michelle LeBow
By Alleen Brown
By Maggie LaMaack
By CP Staff
By Jesse Marx
Love Your Scene, Hate Your Radio
The only thing more stirring than listening to local music might be gossiping about it. With this in mind, our poll respondents talk about overlooked bands, beloved venues, and--this still being Minnesota--the wretched state of local broadcasting.
OK FM DOA
Zone 105's format change: death of the last alternative voice, or a welcome housecleaning? You decide.
--Cecile Cloutier, freelance writer
With Zone 105 gone, Twin Cities radio lost a fantastic Sunday-night specialty show: Mary Lucia's Popular Creeps. There are plenty of local-music radio shows, but Mary's interviewing style was unique and hilarious, and she had a great sense of what was going on in this town musically.
--Karla Klaustermeier, Radio K's Off the Record
The commercial landscape has nothing to offer anyone who enjoys music outside of Christina Aguilera, Barenaked Ladies, and Dexy's Midnight Runners. The Onion ran a headline a couple of years ago: "Dept. of Retro warns we may be running out of past." For most radio programmers, this is no longer a joke. Nice work, folks.
--Julie Hill, freelance writer
My prediction for the future: Radio K will go completely freeform and start playing really adventurous music instead of every four-minute song known to mankind. Okay, they're not going to do that, but dammit, I wish they would. I want to set the trends instead of getting run over by them.
I would argue that the venue of the year is KFAI. With the lack of non-retro nighttime radio, I've gotten a chance to rediscover the station of my youth, and I'm truly surprised at how much great stuff is there.
Neither corporate consolidation nor legalized payola (via independent promoters) are particularly local or musical issues. Yet they loom largest in the sorry state of Twin Cities radio.
--Mark Hansen, City Pages
Phases and Stages
All-ages venues are pretty much the same everywhere--each one like the Island of Misfit Toys, except crowded with hormone-hungry, rock-loving kids instead of misshapen stuffed animals--and they're a vital part of a healthy rock scene. So even from afar I was sorry to see the Foxfire go.
--Anders Smith-Lindall, freelance writer
I never set foot in the Foxfire Coffee Lounge, but it made many of my friends sad when it closed. And it made me sad that they were sad. Still, bad-mean-grown-up me refuses to feel guilty for despising precious little emo bands and liking gin and tonics.
We also lost the 1021 House, a great basement show space. Some of the most amazing bands played there over the last few years while most people ignored it. Many gigged there first, then went on to play the Foxfire or other larger venues. Where else are you gonna see Dillinger Four performing as "The Gyne-Lotrimen"?!
--Bryan Alft, Extreme Noise Records
It's about time Freeloaded was reincarnated with Crossfaded Thursdays at the Dinkytowner. Fresh Squeez and the rest of the groups bring together some of the most exciting musical melding and freeform interplay going on in this whole damn country.
--Nate Johnson, "Sound Unseen"
The Bryant-Lake Bowl is a diary. The 400 Bar is home. The 7th Street Entry is the ring. First Avenue is the runway.
--Mason Jennings, musician
The Non-Top Ten: Other Music
Howlin' Andy Hound
What year is this again? Feels like Nuggets '69 or Ramones '76, if you ask me. And in the coming months, garage punk on the order of the Strokes, etc. will be hailed as the Next Big Thing. Add this Minnesota mofo's sophomore record The Electric Dreams of Howlin' Andy Hound (Garage D'Or Records) to the top of the trend. Oh, and Dear Mr. Record Company: The Hypstrz were, and still are, the realest deal in garageland, so now that their second coming is nigh, don't you think it's about time you paid for your sins and made them rich?
--Jim Walsh, St. Paul Pioneer Press
Sanzone's trip hop creeps along to the tempo of a horror flick, building suspense until it encounters either angelic vocal loops or the voice of the Devil himself busting straight outta Laurie Anderson's Big Science.
--Melissa Maerz, City Pages
The Mike Brady Trio
I've seen these guys three times, and each time I do, I come away grinning a bigger grin than the last. Brady--the former leader of Accident Clearinghouse--is a smart pop craftsman the likes of which we haven't seen around here since Dylan Hicks--or my other favorite smart pop guy of the moment, Pete Hoffman. But what makes Brady and his trio stand out is his genial, wise-ass between-song banter, and his ability to disarm and charm even the most jaded audiences.
An extremely underrated Duluth native and former frontman of the ATF, this Midwestern-folksy punk captures the warm, hometown feelin' of a nice, broken-bottle bar fight.
--Shane D. Kramer, Pop for Charity
The last time I saw this whiskered brute (a.k.a. Mark Proksch), he played Pet Shop Boys samples, sang Cole Porter-esque lyrics, and noodled out some beautiful Casio serenades à la Magnetic Fields. Then this self-described "Pete Townshend of the autoharp" thrashed that stringed contraption so hard that his fingers literally bled.