Picked to Click XII

Hail the Conquering Heroes: Polls and Praise for This Year's Best New Artists

--Rachel Joyce, performing arts publicist, Walker Art Center; DJ Nite Nurse


Energy is what makes music work. Energy is people having shows in their basements and warehouses. It is the do-it-yourselfers pumping every ounce of themselves into making things happen, working for something they love. What needs to happen in the Twin Towns is for everyone who's ever had even the foggiest notion to try something different, to forget about their PlayStation, put down their beer, quit masturbating, and get to it. Energy is contagious.

The Soviettes
The Soviettes

--Scott Brown, proprietor, Luddite
Printworks and Shh!Eat Music



Old bands rule. So do unconventional venues. I saw rollicking C&W in a bar parking lot, African music in a park, killer guitar feedback in record stores, hours of improv and noise in a renovated church, and bone-bruisingly loud psych in an art gallery--most of it free or dirt cheap.

--Cecile Cloutier, freelance writer



Davu Seru: Whatever group setting percussionist Davu Seru plays in, he seems to be both at peace and about ready to take us over the edge. Based on one drum and a host of other noisemakers, he produces an array of percussive fireworks that scatter and penetrate landscapes. The rooms where he performs are always small and dark, and there are usually only a half-dozen onlookers, but the sounds transcend these confines and we move rapidly through the roars and sit on the edge of our seats with the clicks and clatter.

--Enemy of the People, digital hardcore
artist; zine editor, Unarmed


Basement Apartment. If you ask me, there's only one Low, and all the other copycats put me to sleep. Actually, Low lulls me into submission sometimes, too. But I've yet to do so much as yawn listening to Basement Apartment, part of Ed Ackerson's Susstones label roster and probably the brightest new melody makers in town.

--Chris Riemenschneider, music writer,
Star Tribune

Becky Thompson and Old School: Becky Thompson and Dan Lund deserve a Lifetime Achievement Award for pleasing Twin Cities crowds for nearly 30 years, dating back to when they were in the Sky Blue Water Boys. And Joe Savage deserves a fire extinguisher for the way he burns up his steel guitar.

--Nate Dungan, musician; entertainment
supervisor, Minnesota State Fair




The Twin Cities have long held a hard-won reputation as a bastion of prolific and groundbreaking punk talent. Judging by the enthusiastic turnout at the Punk Rock State Fair (a.k.a. the Vans Warped Tour), today's iteration of punk rock may just be winning over an unprecedented following. Among other formidable contenders for a new punk-rock "Best of" list are Red Vendetta, the Scamps, the Soviettes, Disrespect, and Kontrol Panel. Viva la evolution!

--Chelsea 40oz Bondage,
graphic artist, Pulse


Part of the scene that plays Babylon and House of Knives, then drinks its beer at the Triple Rock, the Goochers and the Soviettes represent a growing post-riot-grrrl faction in south Minneapolis.

--Christina Schmitt, freelance writer


I am so pleased to see a buzz in the hard-rock scene. Recent signings of American Head Charge, Flipp, Sunset Black, and Sound and Fury have created a wave of local music crashing into the national scene. We are gaining the attention this town's musicians deserve.

--Patrick Olsen, host/producer, 93X
Loud and Local, KXXR-FM (93.7)


Whether they're at an IMF show at the Babylon, the Church, or a house, local bands are playing music with little to no regard for trying to "make it" or please the crowd. I have traveled around the country and couldn't imagine wanting to live anywhere else besides the Twin Cities. The general lack of pretension and honesty here is far more interesting than any of the new, hot bullshit being hyped up from either of the coasts.

--Tom Loftus, label owner, Modern Radio


This past year has given hope for the Twin Cities music scene. We witnessed the rise of a few new live-music clubs, many exciting upcoming acts, and bands taking their struggle to the streets and the Net. The days of fat record-label handouts and shrinking commercial radio play have led to local artists coming up with new models for being successful: Atmosphere, Big Wu, and Har Mar Superstar have laid out the blueprints for international touring, successful Internet sales, and guerrilla marketing. More local artists need to take notice and quit calling me with how many #@*! comps they had turned in at new band night!

--James "Taco" Martin, talent buyer, the Cabooze; owner, E Company Productions


A recent article by Chris Riemenschneider in the Star Tribune seems to have stirred up a little controversy as to whether the local music scene is in trouble or whether it's just an article with some poor assumptions. I'd tend to lean toward the latter. Where have the grand old days of Hüsker Dü, the Replacements, and Soul Asylum gone? No place, but they're seen through rose-colored glasses. Great bands often gather fans after their demise. Has the heyday of Twin/Tone come and gone? Indie labels across the country are struggling, but we've got two unique and moderately high-profile ones in NorthSide and Red House--that's more than I can say for most cities. Yes, the music industry still sucks. There's little to be done about that. It's the music, however, that has always rung true, and it still does.

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