By Jake Rossen
By Jesse Marx
By Michelle LeBow
By Alleen Brown
By Maggie LaMaack
By CP Staff
By Jesse Marx
Let it Bleed
In this town, people give blood for a cause they believe in--and it ain't the Red Cross. Earlier this summer, during a show at a house party in southeast Minneapolis, a cluster of people were dancing so hard that one woman fell, broke the glass of water she was holding, badly cut her hand, and kept right on moving amid the meat grinder of limbs. When a friend asked if she was okay, the woman was incredulous. "Okay?" she gushed. "I'm fantastic!"
Now, City Pages is not saying it's smart to spill your bodily fluids whenever possible. As R. Kelly taught us, such things have legal repercussions. But we are advocating that type of passion for local music: the numb-to-the-rest-of-the-world hysteria that you'll find at any basement concert in town--and that you'll rarely find at, say, a Clear Channel venue near you. Since we held the last Picked to Click more than 15 months ago (the best new local-artist poll coincides with the frequently rescheduled Minnesota Music Awards), the greatest local music has been lurking in the margins. Punk artists are getting more airtime on pirate radio and smaller, nonprofit stations and playing at smaller venues like the Babylon International Café and Gallery.
And apparently listeners like what they hear: Picked to Click winners and Babylon mainstays the Soviettes chart at number one on our poll. (Read about them in "The Revolution Will Be Illustrated," p. 14.) While doomsayers wail about the absence of major record-label deals, Picked to Click voters mark their ballots with the names of many artists whose albums are self-released. One such musician, love-song crooner Vicious Vicious, has contributed a relationship advice column to Picked to Click (see "Lovers Rock," p. 21). And panic-rock avatars have left "indie" venues like the Entry in favor of house-party shows--which have been this past year's most exciting local-music venues by far. In fact, City Pages contributor Cecile Cloutier notes that some of her favorite shows of late occurred not in clubs but in a park, an art gallery, and a certain church that so many local musos have come to love. (See Cloutier's and other local pundits' comments about the local music scene in "Vox Rockuli," p. 13.)
Of course, the 12th annual Picked to Click also includes a band that's comfortable packing fans into First Avenue's Mainroom: Ninja Tune artists Fog ranked fourth in our Top Ten for the second year in a row. Because he can compete with the best of them, Fog drummer and solo artist Martin Dosh, who placed second this year, was summoned to audition for City Pages' own version of American Idol--see "Minnesotan Idol," p. 18. And Dosh didn't even need a proper stage: He performed in a coffee shop less than a block from City Pages' offices.
The basement may have been better than the bar this year: People seemed to flock to the same house parties every week, no matter who was playing. As for the bands, they hardly seem to care whether the glass is half full or lying in shards on the floor. They're happy to play either way. You might say it's in their blood. --Melissa Maerz
Picked to CLICK XII
Hail the Conquering Heroes: Polls and Praise
for This Year's Best New Artists
Once a year, we agree to shut our yaps. In honor of our annual Picked to Click poll, we asked 71 voters--record clerks, radio personalities, freelance writers--to vote for their top five new local bands, DJs, groups, solo artists. Together, they selected more than 200 acts (and we found a few choice spots to rattle on, as we're wont to do).
For each ballot, the number-one choice received five points, the number-two choice four points, etc. Bands who tied for fifth place got a half-point each. For ballots where the voters chose not to order their picks, each band received three points. If two bands tied in this case, they each got 1.5 points. (Since we at City Pages are right-brained journalists, we decided to hire Archimedes to help us with tallying votes. But since we haven't had a math class since high school, we didn't realize that he's dead. And so we enlisted City Pages editorial administrator Jessica Armbruster to count the ballots for us.)
Below are the Top Ten acts (actually 21, owing to ties), with comments from our poll participants. Thanks to everyone who voted--see the full list at the end, and check out "The Ballots" online at www.citypages.com. Most important, this poll is meant to be nothing more than a fun and informal way of highlighting new local talent. It's not a definitive list of every great band in town, so please do not use it as an excuse to gloat at other musicians, or to try to get laid. It won't work.
1. The Soviettes (35 points)
GENRE: GRRRLS GONE WILD
The Soviettes are a classic Book Your Own Fucking Life example of how to get a cool pop-punk band out of the basement. Here's what to do: Write catchy songs with your stylish girlfriends about how shit ain't right. Start performing live almost immediately. Keep playing until you're a tight unit. Sign on the best drummer. Record a 7-inch that everyone loves to hear on the radio. And voilà! In a few months, you're one of the best bands in town.